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After lengthy absence, Hamhuis back for Canucks tomorrow

Pittsburgh Penguins v Vancouver Canucks

VANCOUVER, CANADA - JANUARY 7: Dan Hamhuis #2 of the Vancouver Canucks skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 7, 2014 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Marissa Baecker

Vancouver will get back a key piece of its defensive core on Friday in Carolina.

Dan Hamhuis, who’s missed the last 21 games with a groin tear, will draw back into the lineup tomorrow when the Canucks take on the ‘Canes at PNC. (Note: Technically, Hamhuis will miss a 22nd game tonight, as he won’t dress for Vancouver’s game in Philadelphia.)

Hamhuis has been out of the lineup since getting hurt after just 19 seconds of ice time in a Nov. 20 game against Anaheim.

Originally feared to be a longer-term ailment, Hamhuis was able to avoid surgery for the torn groin and went the rehab route, getting back onto the ice earlier than his original eight-week timetable for return.

Hamhuis, 32, had six points through his first 20 games of the season, averaging 20:36 TOI.