Sergei Shirokov will get an offensive role with Canucks

“We see him as a skilled player, an offensive player, to fill in an offensive role,” assistant coach Newell Brown said. “We’ve heard he’s been playing real well. We’ve got good reports about him. He’s had a great attitude. He’s skating real well and producing.”

Concerns about Shirokov’s fitness and his skating have been alleviated since September. Canucks assistant general manager Lorne Henning said he’s improved both with his work off the ice.

Shirokov said he’s a different player than the one who made Vancouver in 2009. Then he played only six games before he was demoted. He’s learned how to backcheck, since. That may come in handy Tuesday.

“I’m harder (on the) backcheck,” Shirokov said. “I started learning last year too. But it’s pretty different for (a) European. This year, I understand all stuff. It’s a little bit easier to me.

“I work every time about my game in the D-zone. I watch tape and the coach told me what I need to do and how I need to play.”

There was no clear indication whom Shirokov will replace in the lineup, but Jeff Tambellini, who hasn’t had a point in 10 games, is as good a candidate as any.

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