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Boeser returns from injury in time for Canucks' opening night

Brock Boeser was expected to miss three-to-four weeks after hand surgery but is returning much sooner.
Brock Boeser - Darryl Dyck CP
Brock Boeser is expected to be in the Vancouver Canucks' lineup on opening night.

The Vancouver Canucks got some good news on Tuesday.

Brock Boeser, who had skated with the team in a grey "non-contact" jersey, took the ice for Tuesday morning's practice in a regular red jersey and skated with his training camp linemates, Tanner Pearson and J.T. Miller.

"To get that grey jersey off, it always feels good," said Boeser after practice. "I feel ready and I'm excited for tomorrow."

Boeser suffered a hand injury early in training camp that required surgery and was expected to miss three-to-four weeks. That would have taken him past the start of the regular season and potentially cause him to miss the Canucks' first seven games. Instead, he won't miss any games at all.

"It was kind of a weird, fluky injury," said Boeser. "I had the puck, I was trying to cycle it to Millsy and someone hit my arm and wrist in a weird direction and I felt it snap or pop, whatever you want to say. It's pretty frustrating but I'm just glad that I can be back for the first game."

That's a game-changer for the Canucks, who faced the prospect of an early test for their forward depth with Ilya Mikheyev also injured. With Boeser back, the Canucks can largely return to the lines with which they started training camp and simply slot in Nils Höglander with Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko for the missing Mikheyev.

Boeser said he had the same injury in his right hand in college, so was aware of how long he would likely be out and what he needed to do to be ready. He joked that this time the injury was on his "good wrist" with a laugh and that it shouldn't affect his shot.

"I've been working my ass off in practices to get to this point," said Boeser. "It's feeling pretty good and it's good enough to play, so that's all that matters."

Boeser has set a goal this season of finally reaching the 30-goal mark, saying "This is the year." It will be a lot easier for this to be the year if he can avoid missing time to injuries, so being ready for game one is a promising start.