His teammates didn't skate Sunday, but Ryan Kesler did. Hard and fast for an hour.

It was another significant step following late July surgery on his left hip but the Vancouver Canucks centre was also guarded in projecting a return to the lineup — even though he's entering the 10-12 week recovery window with the procedure.

However, this is where it gets tricky.

The Selke Trophy winner plays through people and not around them. He willingly blocks shots, sets picks and screens and has the war wounds to show for unselfishness that produced a career 41 goals last season. And as much as Kesler wants to return as soon as possible knowing the spotty 2-2-1 Canucks could use his two-way presence, caution is the calling card.