VANCOUVER – One hundred percent has become impossible for Brandon Sutter.
There are no absolute health numbers for the player who has missed 153 out of 360 National Hockey League games since switching to the Vancouver Canucks 4½ years ago, especially since most of Sutter's injuries are due to his stomach. "Kern."
Physical and medical exams can show that the control center is completely healed, but with so many U-turns since leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins, it is impossible to trust your health 100 percent until Sutter survives an entire season.
When he and the Canucks traveled to San Jose on Friday to play tough games against the Golden Knights of Sharks and Vegas this weekend, Sutter was still chasing his health.
A month after another "lower body injury", Sutter felt great after training on Monday and thought he would play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. But on Tuesday morning, he didn't go well and missed the Canucks' 1-4 loss to the Leafs.
He practiced again on Wednesday and wanted to play on Thursday. Then, given the prospect of three games in four nights, Sutter and the medical staff agreed to delay his return even further.
Sign up for the NHL newsletter
Get the best of our NHL reporting and exclusive offers straight to your inbox!
The Canucks defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 1-0 without him.
Sutter hopes to play in San Jose on Saturday. He hopes to play.
"It's a shame to sit outside, especially after the lack of a lot of hockey last year," said Sutter this week. "I've been through enough in this area of my body to know what is what. We just wanted to make sure it felt 100 percent before doing something and it felt pretty good. It was nothing .. to worry. " about from last year. It was a little different. "
After Sutter's last season ended with sports hernia surgery, the veteran suffered another injury when he ran untouched on a lead at the start of a November 12 game against the Nashville Predators.
Despite a summer of core rehab and training, Sutter only played 19 games before injuring himself again. Including the time he missed due to a shoulder injury, he recorded only 26 games last season.
No wonder he's so careful now.
"When it happened, it was really frustrating because I felt like I was taking care of things and everything felt good," said Sutter. "But something happens and I'm just glad that I'm fine now.
"For me I had the hernias and the pelvic stuff and it was always the same area of my body. I learned a lot about how to deal with daily care. I just have to concentrate on the ice, around this area strong. If you do everything to put yourself in a good position, you are confident. "
And yet, it will likely take a few games in a row or months of good health for Sutter to regain his confidence.
The only thing that is as unfortunate as his health in Vancouver is his career timing.
Home of the Canucks
Stream all 82 Canucks games this season with Sportsnet NOW. Get over 500 NHL games that do not cause power outages, including Hockey Night in Canada, all outdoor games, the All-Star game, 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, and more.
Sutter came to the Canucks when the team accelerated its steep descent in the early, confusing phases of its reconstruction.
It didn't help that General Manager Jim Benning Sutter gave an anvil when he called him Nick Bonino after sending the penguins Nick and an improved drafting pick as a "ground player" to acquire in July 2015.
Expectations rose and Sutter was doomed to fail. Still, he's an important player for the Canucks.
He shines with the penalty, which has been unpredictable since leaving the line-up, and in some defensive situations. When Sutter plays, the two-way center Bo Horvat stays fresher and starts offensive, and second-year Canuck Adam Gaudette (33.3 percent faceoff win rate) isn't as present in the defensive zone with draws. Sutter's loss was compounded by a simultaneous injury to the fourth-line center and faceoff champion Jay Beagle, who returned from his unknown problem three games ago and is trying to find his shape.
Sutter is a calming presence on the Canucks and also contributes to the second classification. Before his injury, he had five goals, eight points and 42 shots on the net in 19 games.
The Canucks initially hoped that Sutter would be back within two weeks, and he joined the team for a morning skate on November 25 in Philadelphia. But when he didn't feel right about training the next day in Pittsburgh, his comeback was delayed. That was 18 days ago.
The Canucks are 6-6-1 without Sutter, but still only one point from a playoff place with two games in hand on Vegas, which is the last wildcard position in the National Conference of the National Hockey League.
"That's the exciting thing – back to a competitive environment," said Sutter. "It's been difficult in the past few years when you're not in the playoffs. If you miss out on February 1st, it's not a lot of fun. It's just about hunting in the playoffs. I'm pretty excited. " to be part of it. "
Soon he hopes.