Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green is hopeful some of his ailing centres could soon be back in the lineup.
The Canucks (16-17-3) have been hit hard by injuries in recent weeks. Vancouver finished Monday's tilt with the Winnipeg Jets without their top-four centres.
Vancouver captain Bo Horvat was only starting centre available to play Monday, but hobbled off the ice early in the third period after taking a slap shot to the foot or ankle. He did not return to the game and the Canucks went on to lose 4-0.
The 25-year-old forward has been a key piece for Vancouver this season, tallying 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists) in 36 games.
Green said Tuesday that imaging had been done on Horvat's injury and he is considered "day-to-day."
Fellow centre Brandon Sutter missed Monday's matchup with an undisclosed injury and the coach said he, too, is considered "day-to-day."
Both Horvat and Sutter could be back in the lineup when the Canucks host the Jets (19-11-2) again on Wednesday, Green said.
“Hopefully we’ll get one or two of those guys back. And if we don’t, then the guys that are here will play," he said.
Green ruled out the possibility of fourth-line centre Jay Beagle playing against Winnipeg. The veteran forward has missed six games but took part in morning skate Monday wearing a non-contract jersey.
Vancouver is also without top-line centre Elias Pettersson, who has been placed on the injured reserve list with an undisclosed upper-body injury. He has not played since March 2.
The avalanche of injuries is unusual, Green said.
“If you don’t have your top-four centreman playing, it would definitely be a scenario I don’t think I’ve seen before," he said. "But like I said, hopefully that doesn’t happen and we’ve got our guys back.”
There hasn't been much talk in the locker room about who's missing, the coach added.
“The team that’s playing has to worry about themselves and the group and the guys that are going out to get the job done," Green said. "If (Horvat) and (Sutter) both don’t play , we’re not going to dwell on it. We’re going to move ahead and get ready to play the game.”
The Canucks have made moves to fill gaps in the lineup, picking up left-winger Jimmy Vesey and centre Travis Boyd off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Vancouver claimed Vesey on March 17 and the 27-year-old native of Boston has suited up in three games for Vancouver, averaging nearly 19 minutes of ice time per night.
“Definitely it’s been an adjustment in that my minutes are up substantially from Toronto," he said Tuesday. "The week has been definitely a whirlwind. And I’m just trying to get my body ready and accustomed to playing that much.”
In order to avoid contact with others that would require an NHL-mandated quarantine, Vesey drove to Ottawa where the Canucks were playing the night he was claimed.
All of the adjustments and travel over the past week have been tough, Vesey said.
“What I’ve been telling myself a little bit is one day when I’m done playing and I’m older, it’ll make for a pretty good story," he said. "So I’m rolling with the punches and I’m really excited to keep going with the Canucks here.”
Boyd, who the Canucks picked up on Monday, must complete a seven-day quarantine before joining the team.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2021.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press