I guess it was only a matter of time until the good health of the Vancouver Canucks’ defense ended. After being hit by a shot from teammate Michel Ouellet four games ago, Kevin Bieksa is expected to miss 2 to 4 weeks with a fractured left foot. Sami Salo is also day-to-day with a bruised shoulder.
After missing all but 34 games last season with a lacerated calf muscle, Bieksa initially struggled to find the form from his 2006/2007 breakout season. Through 13 games this season, he has looked good. His 11 points (3G-8A) ties him for 3rd in team scoring (just behind the Sedins) and 16th among all NHL defensemen, and his 24:38 minutes of ice-time per game is 23rd in the league.
Rob Davison, who has only appeared in 2 games this season, will likely get in the lineup. And if Salo misses any games, Lawrence Nycholat and Nolan Baumgartner are probably the next two guys on the depth chart. Nycholat is still on his conditioning stint with the Moose and has 3 assists in 3 games and a minus-2 rating. Baumgartner’s stats are better – 5 points (1G-4A) and a plus-7 rating in 10 games – but he has missed the last 3 games after being checked from behind and his return to the Moose lineup this weekend is still doubtful.
If you remember last season, the Canucks lost Bieksa and Salo in the same Nashville game in November and it started the avalanche of injuries on the back end. Let’s just hope this isn’t history repeating itself.