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At the Rink blog

Campoli hopes to return to Habs' lineup Saturday

Friday, 12.09.2011 / 3:00 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  / At the Rink blog

Montreal is expected to have new defenseman Tomas Kaberle in its lineup Saturday afternoon in New Jersey. Whether fellow blueliner Chris Campoli joins Kaberle in the lineup remains to be seen.

Campoli (hamstring) has been practiced with the Canadiens all week after being cleared by the team doctors. He said Friday he is cleared to play and he hopes to play Saturday.

If he does, it will only be his second game with the Habs since signing a one-year contract in the offseason. Campoli injured his left hamstring in the season-opener and hasn't played since.

"I feel good -- physically I'm in great shape," Campoli said according to Canadiens.com. "There's going to be an adjustment period, obviously, time-wise and game-wise. There are things you'll see in a game that you can't really deal with in practice. I'm excited about getting into it. It's been a long road back for me and I just want to get in and contribute."

The Habs will be without captain Brian Gionta, who did not make the trip to New Jersey due to a lower-body injury.

It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery