Canucks' Schneider close to returning
Just when it looks like the injury-addled Vancouver Canucks will get a player back from shoulder surgery, another may be out longer.
The bad news: coach Alain Vigneault said Friday that forward Pavol Demitra needed another round of arthroscopic surgery to repair rotator cuff damage and is out indefinitely.
The good: Mathieu Schneider, who also had a torn rotator cuff, could play his first game in a Canucks uniform on Sunday against Edmonton.
Vancouver will be without both players Saturday when it hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada. (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).
Schneider, 40, suffered his injury in last spring's playoffs, when he was a member of the Montreal Canadiens. Canucks GM Mike Gillis signed him to a one-year, $1.55-million US deal anyway in August.
"I feel real comfortable as far as [contact] goes," said Schneider, who's expected to help a power play that ranked fifth in the NHL entering Friday's action. "I feel strong, and I don't think there will be any issues.
"The first few games will be a bit of an adventure, and I'm looking forward to it, just getting my timing back and fitting in."
Demitra, 34, was also hurt in last season's playoffs on a collision with Chicago's Brian Campbell during the Western Conference semifinals. Originally projected to miss six weeks, Demitra struggled to regain his range of motion, leading to the second surgery.
Still on the shelf for Vancouver are high-scoring winger Daniel Sedin — out up to four more weeks with a broken bone in his foot — and defenceman Sami Salo, who's down with a knee injury.
Forward Rick Rypien, who injured his groin on his last shift in Monday's 2-1 loss in Edmonton, tried skating Friday but left practice early.
"It's just a mild groin pull right now and it might take a couple more days than we originally thought," Vigneault said.
With files from The Canadian Press