Ryan Kesler to debut vs. Rangers

Updated: October 17, 2011, 11:29 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler told reporters he will make his season debut Tuesday against the visiting New York Rangers.

Kesler, who was cleared for contact Oct. 6, missed the team's first five games as part of his recovery from offseason hip surgery.

He had surgery in early August to repair a torn hip labrum. Kesler had a similar surgery in January 2007.

"My hip is 100 percent," said Kesler, who won silver with Team USA at the 2010 Olympics. "I'm definitely not going out there to limp into the lineup. ... I expect big things from myself."

Kesler was injured in the last game of the Western Conference finals against the San Jose Sharks.

He had a career-high 41 goals and added 32 assists in 82 games with the Canucks, who lost to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals.

In 25 playoff games, he had seven goals and 12 assists.

Kesler is a welcome addition to a 2-2-1 Canucks team that has struggled at times coming off the shortest offseason in franchise history.

Kesler has averaged 74 points the last two seasons as the Canucks' second-line center, and set a new career best for goals last year after moving onto the top power-play unit. He practiced in both roles Monday for the first time since rejoining the team on the ice 12 days ago.

Coach Alain Vigneault thinks it will take time for Kesler to get up to game speed after missing all of training camp, but doesn't expect the injury to be an issue.

"Ryan came to see me this morning and said he was 100 percent," Vigneault said. "He assured me the injury was behind him and we weren't going to see him limping and we weren't going to see any 'pain faces.' He's ready to go and we're going to put him in."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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