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Rink Notes: McLeod, Salei Set To Return

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco used the same forward combinations in back-to-back games last week against St. Louis and Calgary after losing forwards Cody McLeod and Stephane Yelle to leg injuries.

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However, it appears Sacco’s lineup may be tweaked for Sunday’s contest in Anaheim, as McLeod will be available to play against the Ducks. The feisty winger was hurt while blocking a shot on March 14 against Dallas, causing him to miss the Avalanche’s last two games.

“You don’t like to be sitting on the sidelines, especially this time of the year when the playoffs are getting close,” McLeod said following Friday’s skate. “When you get hit like that you’re always thinking of the worst-case scenario. It was pretty painful at the time, but each day it kind of got better. I’m feeling good now and ready to go.”

His return gives Sacco a bit of flexibility along the front line. At Friday’s practice, McLeod was wearing a burgundy jersey along with Chris Durno, Matt Hendricks and Darcy Tucker.

Yelle, who was also injured against Dallas, will not make the trip, but defenseman Ruslan Salei (torso) will be available Sunday.

Craig Anderson will start in goal against Anaheim, but the head coach has yet to make a decision on which goaltender will play in the second half of the back-to-back set against the Los Angeles Kings. Sacco did, however, cite the relative lack of travel between the two cities.

“The good news about the L.A. game is that obviously L.A./Anaheim is a close trip,” said Sacco. “I’ll make my decision after the game (Sunday).”

Wilson Update
Following practice, Sacco also gave an update on the health of defenseman Ryan Wilson. The rookie left Colorado’s game against Calgary after suffering a head injury in a fight with Jamal Mayers and did not return.

Wilson suffered a mild concussion in the scrap and will be evaluated on a daily basis moving forward. In a positive sign, the defenseman was able to complete an off-ice workout today.

Jones, Koci, Yip Skating
Three injured Avalanche players hit the ice this morning prior to the Avalanche’s practice, as David Jones (knee), David Koci (hand) and Brandon Yip (shoulder) each skated for approximately half an hour.

Jones was testing out the knee he injured back on Nov. 28 versus Minnesota. The second-year forward appeared to be in the midst of a breakout season before the injury, having totaled 16 points (10g/6a) in his first 23 games.

Koci appeared in 42 of Colorado’s first 58 games before injuring his hand on Feb. 8 during a fight with St. Louis forward D.J. King.

It’s been just under three weeks since Yip hurt his shoulder in a March 1 contest against Detroit. The rookie, who burst onto the scene with 18 points (11g/7a) in his first 26 NHL games, was originally given a timetable of 4-to-6 weeks for a return.
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