Vancouver Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa is back on the shelf, out day-to-day with a sore groin, but apparently well enough to travel with his teammates Wednesday to Columbus, Ohio.

The fact he’s going on the road is probably the best sign. The Canucks play the Blue Jackets on Thursday and then have another two days off before meeting the Minnesota Wild on Sunday in St. Paul. Bieksa has missed four of the Canucks’ last five games, including Tuesday’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

Head coach Alain Vigneault insisted at the morning skate Tuesday that Bieksa didn’t rush back Saturday to confront the Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings. Bieksa played 22:58 that night — second most after Alex Edler’s 23:45 — had two shots on goal, two blocked shots, one hit and one takeaway.

“Kevin came back and felt fine but, toward the end of the game, he hit someone and felt a little discomfort so he’s back to being day-to-day,” Vigneault explained. “It’s like any other injury. At the end of the day, the player and staff talk it over. He might feel he’s 100 per cent and ready to go and that he can play. Or sometimes he’s not 100 per cent but he feels he can play and play through it. You never know how it’s going to turn out.

“In Kevin’s case, he was fine,” said the coach. “He was playing really well in that game. He was quick, he was strong 1-on-1 and then toward the end of the game, one hit, one push, and he felt it again. He didn’t think anything of it. Next day (Sunday), he got up and it was real stiff.”

Cam Barker took Bieksa’s spot in the lineup Sunday and stayed in the lineup against San Jose. Andrew Alberts came out as Keith Ballard returned following a two-game benching.

“I was fairly frustrated,” Ballard said prior to facing the Sharks. “The situation I’m in, the role I’m in, it’s up to me to make the best of it.”