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Morning Skate Report: March 10

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

Colorado is beginning to get healthy as the Avalanche will get another player back from injury for tonight’s game against San Jose (6 p.m.).

Defenseman Ryan Wilson is expected to be in the lineup against the Sharks after he missed 15 games with an ankle injury, suffered on Feb. 2 at home against Edmonton.

“He’s another big part of our team here,” said head coach Joe Sacco of Wilson. “He’s a physical presence, he keeps the opponents on their toes, the way he plays. When you are on the ice, I think you realize that he is out there because if you don’t, there is a price to pay. We are glad to have him back.”

Ryan Wilson has missed 15 games with an ankle injury (Getty Images).

Wilson, who has been skating for nearly two weeks, said the hardest part about coming back from his injury was the minor tweaks that occur.

“Just different things that you do out there that kind of tweak it,” Wilson said. “It’s still trying to heal up a little bit, but we’ll take the minor tweaks as long as it’s not painful all the time.”

Ankle injuries can be particularly tricky to come back fully healthy from due to that tweak factor.

“I thought I was ready a week and a half ago, but it is one of those things that your body has to heal and it has its own time frame,” said the 6-foot-1, 207-pound defenseman.

With Wilson’s return to the active roster, Colorado now has a full defensive corps for the first time since that Oilers game at the beginning of February. The Avalanche got another defenseman back last game against Chicago as Erik Johnson returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with a head injury.

Before his injury, Wilson played in the first eight games of the season and averaged 19:17 of ice time. He also has three assists, a plus-6 plus/minus rating, nine hits and eight blocked shots this year.

Avalanche Spotlight On: Paul Stastny

Paul Stastny
Center - COL
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 9 | PTS: 16
SOG: 59 | +/-: -4
Center Paul Stastny has quietly put together a nice scoring stretch recently as he has six points (three goals and three assists) in his last five games.

He scored a key goal on Friday against the Blackhawks, tipping in a pass from Matt Duchene with 3:24 left in the first period. The score tied the game 1-1 and began a run of five straight goals by the Avalanche in the game.

Stastny finished with one goal and two assists in Friday night’s contest.

For the season, Stastny is second on the team in shots (59), third in points (16) and assists (9-tied) and fourth in goals (7).

More Morning Notes

- Joe Sacco said that he would dress seven defensemen for warm-ups tonight but that it will be a game time decision on whom his second scratch will be from the back end. Defenseman Tyson Barrie will not play.

- Only a handful of players participated in this morning’s skate after the team held a full practice yesterday morning.

- The Avalanche has put right wing Milan Hejduk on its injured reserve list (retroactive to March 3). He did participate in the team’s skate this morning but has missed the last three games with a torso injury.

- Right wing PA Parenteau is on a five-game point streak, the longest of his NHL career. He has two goals and six assist over that span. His five-game streak is the longest by an Avalanche player this season.

- Tonight’s game is the third and final meeting of the season and the first in Colorado between the Avalanche and the Shark. The two games previously (Jan. 26 and Feb. 26) were both in San Jose.

- Colorado leads all NHL teams with 428 blocked shots. The Avs are blocking an average of 18.6 shots-per-game, which would be the highest average of any team since the league began tracking the statistic. The record is 17.1 blocks-per-game set by the Florida Panthers in 2009-10. Individually, Greg Zanon leads the club and ranks third in the NHL with 70 blocked shots this year.

- The Avs will be wearing their blue third jerseys tonight. It is the third of seven occasions that the club will wear the blue in 2012-13 (all at home).

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