Even though he was up early Wednesday morning helping to raise money for the Vancouver Sun’s Raise-A-Reader initiative Zack Kassian was neither grouchy or upset at the comments from Canuck head coach John Tortorella the previous night.

Tortorella talking pre-game in San Jose noted that Kassian’s eight-game suspension would allow the coaching staff to work on his fitness. “It gives us a chance to really nail him as far as conditioning and he will get nailed” Tortorella declared.

Kassian said he is ready for it. “Yeah definitely” he responded. “Obviously when you’re out for three or three and a half weeks you have to stay on top of the physical side because a lot can happen in three weeks. It’s a great opportunity for me to get in even better shape and come back flying.”

Kassian 22 is eligble to return Oct. 12 against the Montreal Canadiens. Thursday’s final pre-season game against the New York Rangers will be the third Kassian has missed. His careless high stick last Saturday in Edmonton although not intentional broke the jaw of Oiler centre Sam Gagner. The latter is expected to be out two months.