VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -The Canucks sent Kevin Bieksa to their AHL affiliate for a conditioning assignment, paving the way for his return to the NHL more than three months after a skate sliced deep into his calf muscle.
The defenseman has missed 46 games since Nashville forward Vernon Fiddler's skate dug into his right leg as the two got tangled in a corner during a Nov. 1 game. Bieksa began bleeding and blood soaked through his socks as he was helped off the ice. He had surgery the next day to repair damage to the calf and other muscles leading to his Achilles tendon.
Bieksa, who was tops among Canucks defensemen with 42 points, including 12 goals, last season, didn't resume skating until Feb. 1, exactly three months after the injury.
The 26-year-old defenseman could play for Manitoba in Chicago on Wednesday night, during back-to-back game in Grand Rapids Friday and Saturday, and again in Peoria Sunday.
He could return sooner to the Canucks, who wrap up a two-game road trip in Nashville on Thursday before coming home for three games in Vancouver, starting Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.
Vancouver drafted the 6-foot, 205-pound Bieksa in the fifth round, 151st overall, in 2001.

Top NHL Public Bets

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Malkin, Pittsburgh tackle rising Carolina The Penguins are not without their problems as the NHL closes in on the All-Star break. Fortunately for Mike Sullivan’s bunch, it’s producing more than...
Thumbnail Sophomore sensation carries load for Oilers Not only does Edmonton boast the NHL’s leading scorer in Connor McDavid, but it features arguably the hottest netminder on the...
Thumbnail Crosby focused on resuscitating Pens Riding a nine-game winning streak, Washington is the hottest team in hockey right now. But will the league’s third-leading scorer throw a wrench into the Caps’...
Thumbnail Western Conference titans clash shortly John Gibson is acclimating quite nicely to his new role as the Ducks’ workhorse in net. Still, can the 23-year-old cool off the Blues tonight?
Thumbnail Elite netminders lock horns in Montreal Two of the NHL’s most explosive offenses are preparing to collide in Quebec. With Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist on the scene, however, will stellar...

NHL Team Pages