Canucks fans got some welcome news on Thursday. Our long provincial nightmare is over: Bo Horvat will soon be back in the Canucks lineup. Horvat hit the ice at Rogers Arena Thursday morning for the first time (that we know of) since he fractured his foot against the Carolina Hurricanes on December 5th. At the time, his injury was overshadowed by Jacob Markstrom’s first career shutout, but it has loomed large since then. When Horvat returns, the Canucks will need to sent someone to Utica, with Michael Chaput the most likely candidate. The Canucks have spiralled since Horvat’s injury. At the time, the Canucks were actually in a playoff position, sitting third in the Pacific Division. In the 17 games since, the Canucks have gone 4-11-2, spiralling into the basement of the Western Conference. The only reason the Canucks are not dead last in the West is that as bad as the Canucks have been without Horvat, the Arizona Coyotes have been that bad all season long. The most recent estimate for Horvat’s return suggested he would be back by the All-Star break, so he’s actually a little ahead of schedule. The All-Star festivities will take place on the weekend of January 27th and 28th, while Horvat will be skating with the team on Saturday in Edmonton. If he plays on Saturday, that will be a full week in advance of the All-Star break. There’s no need to rush Horvat back into the lineup, apart from the Canucks being awful without him. Frankly, the Canucks have zero chance at a playoff berth and should act accordingly. That means taking their time with injuries to ensure the best possible long-term result for each player.