Banged up Horvat back on ice, could play for Canucks tonight

Mar 24 2021, 1:11 pm

He will play. You know he’ll play.

He’ll play on crutches!

Cue the classic Jim Robson call, because Bo Horvat was back on the ice at practice this morning. Luckily for the Vancouver Canucks captain, he doesn’t need crutches after taking an Alex Edler slap shot off his foot.

Canucks head coach Travis Green wouldn’t say whether Horvat will play in tonight’s rematch against the Winnipeg Jets — he rarely gives lineup news ahead of games other than for his starting goalie — but if Bo can skate, it would seem hard to believe that he’d miss a game.

A veteran of 482 NHL games, Horvat has missed just one game in five of his last six seasons.

“He’s a driven player. There’s a reason why you give a guy a C on his jersey,” said Green. “There’s certain expectations that captains have… He’s a driven guy, he wants to do well. He wants to be a good teammate.

“When he’s playing well, it’s a big difference for our team. He’s one of our top guys, and he’s our captain, and he does a lot of things that don’t always show up on the score sheet that go into winning.”

Horvat ranks second in goals (14) and fourth in points (26) for the Canucks this season. Given the team is already playing without Elias Pettersson, losing their captain at this point of the season would have been crushing.

“That’s part of leadership is playing when you’re banged up, playing when you’re hurt. Teammates see that, when you play hurt,” said Green.

Brandon Sutter also skated at practice after missing Monday’s game entirely.

“It’s a good sign,” Green said about both players being present at practice. “We’ll see if they’re ready to go or not tonight.”

Assuming both players return to the lineup, it’ll avoid a slightly terrifying scenario of playing without all their usual centres, which seemed possible less than 48 hours ago.

A win tonight would get the Canucks back to .500, and tie the Montreal Canadiens for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division — though the Habs would have a whopping six games in hand. The Canucks will get a full week off from playing games after tonight — their longest scheduled break of the season.

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