Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson ‘feeling good’ after concussion

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Vancouver Canucks' Elias Pettersson. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

VANCOUVER — Elias Pettersson hopes he never has to go through the NHL’s concussion protocol again.

"It’s been very boring. I’d like to not do it again in my career," the Vancouver Canucks rookie said on Tuesday after practising with his teammates for the first time in more than a week.

"To be honest it sucks to not play games and I want to get back as quick as possible."

The 19-year-old has been out of the lineup since he suffered his first-ever concussion on Oct. 13 on a hit by Florida’s Mike Matheson.

Pettersson said he was trying to make a play along the boards at the time.

"I knew I was going to get hit. I was standing still and he came in with speed," said the Swedish centre, who was drafted fifth overall by the Canucks in 2017.

"He’s a bigger guy than me. So yeah. It is what it is."

The young player declined to comment on how Matheson finished the hit, slamming Pettersson into the ice.

There was no penalty on the play but the league later suspended Matheson for two games following a hearing. The Panthers defenceman also got in touch with Pettersson personally.

"He sent me a text and apologized," the Canuck said. "That was a very good move by him. I respect it."

Pettersson leads Vancouver in scoring with five goals and three assists in five games and the team’s offence has stalled since the injury. The club has a total of six goals in their last four games.

"We’ve missed (Pettersson)," head coach Travis Green said Tuesday. "He’s our leading scorer to date. … When your leading scorer at the time isn’t in the lineup, you’re going to miss his offence."

Working on getting healthy instead of being out on the ice has been frustrating, said Pettersson. The most serious injured he’d previously suffered in hockey was a broken thumb, which didn’t stop him from leading the Swedish Hockey League in scoring last season.

The key to recovering from his first concussion has been taking it "day-by-day," he said.

"Work out slow then try to do more and more each and every day. And it felt good each and every day."

Vancouver was in the midst of a six-game road trip when the injury occurred and Pettersson said it helped that he continued to travel with the team.

"If I would be alone all the time, I think I would probably get crazy about that," he said. "So it’s nice to be with the guys even though I couldn’t play."

He’ll also join the Canucks on their upcoming road trip to Vegas and Arizona, but there’s no timeline yet for when he’ll be slotted back into the line up.

"He’s still in the protocol. The next step was getting in a practice, a full practice," Green said. "Obviously he’s getting a lot closer to playing."

Vancouver may be down another star on the trip. Right-winger Brock Boeser didn’t practise on Tuesday and Green said he’s "day-to-day" with a sore groin that he’s been dealing with since last Thursday.

The coach said Boeser, who has six points in nine games, will travel with the team.

The Canucks have called up right winger Darren Archibald from the Utica Comets. Archibald has six points in eight AHL games this season.

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