T.J. Galiardi is just happy to be back and contributing after missing five-and-a-half weeks (17 games total) due to a fractured wrist suffered on Nov. 9 against Calgary.
It sure beats the alternative of watching the games on TV.
For a player with a personality as gregarious as Galiardi, being injured can be just as tough mentally as it is physically. You see, most injured players become somewhat separated from the team during their rehabilitation period. Sure, they are still around the rink when the team is practicing at home, but the sense of camaraderie and the amount of time spent with teammates in the locker room isn’t quite the same.
Known as a jokester who helps keep the locker room loose, Galiardi says not being on the ice every day with his team – his de facto family, if you will – can be rough.
“It’s kind of a lonely time to be honest,” said Galiardi. “It’s like a family. Once you get ripped away from it, you miss it for sure. Especially a guy like me. I like to chat a lot in the room and joke around with the guys. When you’re away from the team you don’t really have anyone to do that with.”
Galiardi’s injury coincided with a long Avalanche road trip in early December – one Galiardi was not able to be on because he wasn’t quite close enough to returning to game action.
“If you’re not able to play, for the majority of the time you don’t travel with the team. When I was out the team was on a 10-day road trip, so I missed that entire thing,” said Galiardi. “I stayed back here and skated with our strength coach, Robert McLean. You don’t really go around the team all that much because you don’t want to be a distraction if you’re not playing. But it just makes it all that much better when you finally get back.”
And now that he’s returned to the lineup, he’s not taking anything for granted and has been burying his opportunities.
In the first five games following his return, Galiardi has netted three goals, which matches his goal total from the first 14 contests of the 2010-11 season. The Calgary native tallied in his return on Dec. 17 against Ottawa, scored the game-winner two nights later versus Montreal and then beat Detroit netminder Chris Osgood with a low wrister during Monday’s overtime loss to the Red Wings while playing in his 100th NHL game.
“It’s nice to come back and contribute,” said Galiardi. “I think before I was a little snake bitten. I was getting chances but they just weren’t going in. Now I’m getting some ugly ones, but they all count and I’m just trying to help out any way I can.”
The one positive thing that can come out of an injury is a renewed sense of optimism and enthusiasm. For Galiardi, his return has been a fresh start, almost like hitting the reset button on his season.
“It almost felt like that for me coming back. It’s kind of a new beginning.”Practice Notes
Chris Stewart (hand) and Kyle Cumiskey (concussion) again skated prior to practice…Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco on Stewart: “He’s coming along, he’s making progress. There’s no timetable but he is skating on his own. Soon enough we’ll be able to get our hands on him hopefully.”…Ryan O’Byrne, Kevin Shattenkirk, Milan Hejduk
, Adam Foote and Cody McLeod
did not skate today, but it was considered a maintenance day for all five players and they are expected to be back at practice on Wednesday.