Vancouver Canucks defenceman Alexander Edler will make his long-awaited return to the lineup Thursday in time to see a pre-game Presidents' Trophy ceremony.
The Canucks will celebrate their inaugural first-place finish in the overall league standings in a pre-game ceremony featuring captain Henrik Sedin, as well as dole out a series of awards voted on by the fans.
"I'm not at all [superstitious]and I don't think it matters if I touch it or not," Sedin said.
Edler is returning from back surgery that has kept him out of the lineup since Jan. 26. He will replace Yann Sauvé, who was returned to the American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose Thursday, for the regular-season home finale against the Minnesota Wild.
"It's been a while, so I'm real excited," Edler said. "[He hopes to]get my timing back and my game-shape back [before the playoffs start next week]"
The Canucks will dress just 17 skaters, and play one forward short, after the four-game suspension handed down to winger Raffi Torres Thursday. Torres hit Edmonton Oilers winger Jordan Eberle in the head Tuesday, and received a five-minute penalty for elbowing and a game misconduct. He will miss Vancouver's final two regular-season games, and its first two postseason contests.
Defenceman Dan Hamhuis, who is recovering from a concussion, still needs more time and hopes to play Saturday in the season finale at Calgary. He skated with his teammates Thursday morning, and said he has not experienced serious symptoms.
Hamhuis is further along than fellow rearguard Andrew Alberts, who is recovering from wrist surgery and says he needs more time because he lacks motion in his injured wrist. Alberts won't be ready until at least next week, and could also miss the opening of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Head coach Alain Vigneault, who will call on goaltender Roberto Luongo to start, said Edler has no choice but to round into form over the next two games. The coach also said that the Canucks, who have already locked up first place in the NHL, would try to help Daniel Sedin retain the league scoring lead.
Sedin, who is trying to follow his twin brother Henrik and win back-to-back Art Ross Trophies for the family, leads Anaheim's Corey Perry by three points.
"We'll give him every opportunity," Vigneault said. "I know Perry has closed in on him a little bit."