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Hejda likely to play Game 1 for Avalanche

Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 4:56 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent / Avalanche-Wild series blog

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Hejda likely to play Game 1 for Avalanche

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda practiced Wednesday for the first time since he sustained an upper-body injury Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks. He expects to play Thursday against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center in the opening game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference First Round (9:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS, FS-N, ALT).

"Right now we're planning on that," Hejda said. "I didn't skate for three days, so I felt a little gasping on the ice, but at the end I started feeling good."

Hejda, who will be paired with Erik Johnson, had six goals, 11 assists and a plus-8 rating in 78 games. He averaged 22:20 in ice time.

"I'm pretty happy with the result," Hejda said of his recovery. "When we got back from the trip and we had the day off the next day, I started feeling better. Yesterday we decided to take a day off because of that so I had a workout. Today I was feeling good to go on the ice."

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said he thought all along that Hejda would be fine for Thursday.

"It was clear in my mind that he was going to play," Roy said.

Quote of the Day

What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp