By: Adam Gretz
It hasn't been a great start to the season for the Vancouver Canucks. Not awful, of course, but Roberto Luongo is off to another one of his slow starts to the season, while the team has dropped three of its first five games. They have also been playing without two of their top forwards, Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond, and when the Canucks take against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, Kesler is expected (according to him) to make his 2011 debut.
"It's been too long!" Kesler said on his Twitter account. "The wait is over I will be in the lineup tomorrow night."
After winning the Selke Trophy a year ago as the NHL's best defensive forward, Kesler underwent hip surgery over the summer and has been on the mend ever since.
Of course it will be a welcome addition to the Canucks lineup, not only because of his ability as a shutdown center, but also because his offensive game has blossomed in recent years, including this past season when he finished tied for the team lead in goals (along with Daniel Sedin) with 41. He spent Monday's practice skating on a line with Cody Hodgson and Christopher Higgins. The five games he's missed this season were the first regular season games he's missed since the 2007-08 season.
Also good news: now that's he ready to return to action we may see him take part in more of his trademark interview bombs, as he did on Saturday night to Alex Burrows. Or in any of these examples: