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THE MOJ: Soucy close and Canuck fans should expect to see him soon

Out since mid-November, big defender is itching to get back at it
Canucks defenseman Carson Soucy has been out of the lineup since Nov. 12 after suffering a left ankle injury in Montreal. photo

The wait is almost over for Carson Soucy.

The Vancouver Canucks defenseman has been sidelined since Nov. 12 after suffering a left ankle injury in a game against the Montreal Canadiens.

The 29-year-old native of Viking, Alberta was just starting to settle into his role with his new team, having played 13 games with the Canucks after being lured away as a free agent from the Seattle Kraken this past off-season.

Soucy hasn’t played in nearly two months but there is light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to getting back on the ice.

Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet has mentioned on several occasions over the last week that Soucy is “close” to returning to the lineup.

How close?

Soucy did not dress in the 2-1 loss to the Blues in St. Louis on Thursday night but is travelling with the team on its current road trip.

The mini-camp that the Canucks had over the holidays with several practices allowed Soucy to test the ankle and the results were encouraging.

“I’ve been able to put it through almost every position it should go through in a game and it’s held up good so far,” Soucy explained after a recent practice at Rogers Arena.

Rehabbing from an injury is grueling enough physically but it can also be draining mentally. You show up before the regulars to get treatment, go through a workout and rehab program while the team is on the ice practicing, and then get more treatment afterwards while everyone is walking out the door. And that’s when the team is at home. When the hockey club is away, you feel even more isolated.

“It gets long. Especially coming in when the guys are on the road but we have a good staff here. It’s nice that they have a couple of guys here with me (when the team is away) otherwise it would get really long but it’s nice to be almost at the finish line,” noted Soucy.

One of the biggest challenges Soucy will face when he returns will be getting up to game speed.

Practice drills and five-on-five sessions can do a lot in terms of preparation but absolutely nothing duplicates the speed and intensity of a game.

“I think the timing will hopefully come back pretty quick. It’s tough when you have an injury for that long but I think we were getting pretty comfortable with the system back when I was playing. Hopefully I’ll be able to just step back in with the timing feeling good,” said Soucy.

As far as conditioning is concerned after a seven-week absence, Soucy isn’t too worried about that.

“Conditioning is always fine. I think it’s just a confidence thing right now with the ankle and how it’s going to hold up,” he said.

When Soucy does eventually return to the lineup, Tocchet and his staff will have some decisions to make. The obvious choice would be to replace Noah Juulsen with Soucy but Juulsen’s game has shown some growth during Soucy’s absence. And with Nikita Zadorov’s arrival, that means the club would be four-deep on the left side with Quinn Hughes, Ian Cole, Zadorov and Soucy – meaning either Zadorov or Cole would have to move over to the right side. A more radical move suggested by some is to take Zadorov out of the lineup but the odds of that happening are pretty slim.

The bottom line is that Soucy is looking forward to getting back on the ice and being a contributor rather than an observer.

“It doesn’t feel like you’re a help or a benefit at all when the team is doing really good and you’re missing seven weeks. There’s also a confidence in this group that we are a solid team and that I can help when I do come back,” Soucy explained.


* Conor Garland opened the scoring for the Canucks in the first period against the Blues, who responded with a second period goal from Colton Parayko and a third period tally from Robert Thomas to secure the win.

* The outcome of the game against the Blues could have been different if the Canucks could have cashed in on some ‘Grade A’ chances including one fabulous opportunity that Brock Boeser had in the third period. “We missed some glorious chances in the third - we missed four or five nets. We got to hit the net on those shots,” Tocchet said post-game.

* Andrei Kuzmenko was a scratch for the sixth time this year with all the them occurring on the road. Logic would suggest that Tocchet doesn’t trust Kuzmenko defensively without at least having the luxury of the last-line change.

* The Canucks next game is Saturday in New Jersey against the Devils. The Canucks are winless in their last eight trips to New Jersey with their last victory there occurring on Oct. 24, 2013 when they won 4-3 in a shootout. Mike Santorelli scored during the shootout to give the Canucks the win. Santorelli, currently coaching U18 at the Burnaby Winter Club, was recently named to the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame.

* Despite the Canucks strong start to the season and residing near or at the top of the Western Conference standings, the Vegas oddsmakers aren’t buying into the Canucks as Vancouver is listed at 20 to 1 to win the Stanley Cup. Boston and Colorado are the favorites at 7 ½ to 1.

* Soucy is the 10th individual from Viking, Alberta to play in the NHL. The nine others? They’re all part of the Sutter clan.

Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media.

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