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Laperriere, Jones Should Return vs. San Jose

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
After a few days of rest and relaxation for the Avalanche (well, except for Milan Hejduk, who was in Montreal for the NHL All-Star Game), the club hit the ice this afternoon recharged and ready to tackle the rest of the season.

The Avs will take on the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night at Pepsi Center, continuing their season-high eight-game homestand. The Sharks will come to Denver as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, holding a 34-6-5 mark (73 points) through 45 contests.

It’s possible that the Avalanche – aided in part by additional recovery time due to the All-Star break – may receive some reinforcements for Tuesday’s contest.

Second-year winger David Jones (back) shed the non-contact jersey he has been wearing recently and is likely to play tomorrow. Jones suffered the injury during Colorado’s Jan. 13 game at Columbus and has missed the past four games.

Veteran Ian Laperriere (back) should also be back in the lineup against the Sharks. However, defenseman Adam Foote (triceps) isn’t quite poised for a return yet.

“Lappy and Jonesy should be ready for tomorrow,” said Avalanche head coach Tony Granato. “Footie is still a few days away, but a full practice obviously makes everybody more excited about his return. We’re still thinking he’s a few days away.”

Laperriere has been itching to get back into game action since leaving the Avs’ Jan. 4 contest versus Minnesota with his current ailment.

“You know what? We’ll see how it goes tomorrow but it felt pretty good out there today,” said the 15-year veteran. “I’m going to prepare like I’m playing tomorrow.”

Cody McCormick (foot) was also on the ice today. McCormick, who has seven points (1g/6a) in 25 games this season, last played on Dec. 21 at Florida. He continues to be listed as out indefinitely.

Andrew Raycroft will get the starting nod between the pipes for Tuesday's contest.

Scouting the Sharks
Tied for the NHL lead with 73 points (and with two games in hand over the Boston Bruins, who are leading the Eastern Conference with an identical point total), the San Jose Sharks are often cited as the most talented team in the league at the moment. But what exactly makes them so tough?

“They’re a very confident team and have great depth at all positions. I think (Evgeni) Nabokov is as solid of a goalie right now as there is in the league. I know he hasn’t played perfect games his last few, but I still think he’s an elite goalie. And then their blue line, I think, has improved a lot.”

“I think their ‘D’ core, to start with. They have a great offense with Joe Thornton and (Patrick) Marleau. They have a great group of young guys. I think they built their team right. This summer they had a feeling that they were missing that winning experience, and they went and got Dan Boyle and Blakey (Rob Blake). When you bring those two guys, it solidifies your defensive core and brings winners to your team.”

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