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Rink Notes: Tucker Ready To Return

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
When Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco addressed the media on Tuesday he had some good news to share.

Darcy Tucker (head) turned in his orange non-contact jersey for this morning’s practice, instead wearing a white sweater while skating on a line with Matt Duchene and Marek Svatos. He is expected to return to the lineup Wednesday when the Avs face the Blackhawks in Chicago.
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“Tucker made it through practice today. He’s feeling much better,” said Sacco. “If everything remains the same he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow night.”

Tucker was injured in an Oct. 23 contest against the Carolina Hurricanes after taking a hit from Tuomo Ruutu along the boards. After lying on the ice for several minutes, the forward was immobilized and taken off the ice on a backboard.

Subsequently, Tucker was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 26 (retroactive to Oct. 23) and has not played since. In recent days, Sacco and his coaching staff have been upping Tucker’s workload on the ice, and he appears ready to play tomorrow.

“I’m looking forward to getting back into a game situation,” Tucker said after practice. “My number one goal from the time it happened until now was to get as healthy as I could as quick as I could.”

Veteran Milan Hejduk was not on the ice this morning but Sacco said the team is "hopeful" that the forward will play on Wednesday. Hejduk was held out of Colorado’s 5-3 loss to Edmonton on Sunday with a back injury.

Sacco also noted that the decision to keep Hejduk off the ice today was a precautionary move.

“He came in this morning. He was feeling much better than he was before the game against Edmonton, so we decided to keep him off today and we’re hopeful that he’ll be ready to play tomorrow night.”

The forward, who is currently tied for third on the team with 14 points (7g/7a), had been Colorado’s reigning ironman with 170 consecutive games played prior to Sunday.

Preissing Returns To Colorado
Back from a two-game conditioning assignment, defenseman Tom Preissing participated in practice today and could be available for Wednesday’s game. Sacco said he will make an official decision on Preissing’s status in the morning.

The blueliner, who has yet to make his Avalanche debut after being acquired via trade in the offseason, is now healthy and was sent to the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League this past weekend in an effort to get back into game shape.

“I’m going to make a decision on (Preissing) tomorrow,” said Sacco. “I wanted to see how he felt today practice-wise, especially after playing two games, to see how the knee responded.”

Preissing recorded a pair of assists during his two-game conditioning stint with the Monsters.

 “Quite frankly it was just fun to be back on the ice and see that I could still play hockey,” said Preissing. “Even though my feet weren’t as fast as they should have been and my hands weren’t as fast as they should have been, the knee felt awesome.”

Other Injury News
Forward T.J. Galiardi (ankle) skated on his own prior to Tuesday’s practice. Galiardi was injured in an Oct. 28 contest against the Calgary Flames (approximately two weeks ago) and was initially given a four-to-six week timeframe for a return. He was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 3 (retroactive to Oct. 28).

Defenseman John-Michael Liles is day-to-day with a shoulder injury suffered on Nov. 6 versus Chicago. Although Liles is progressing, he won’t join the team on the trip to Chicago.

Fellow defenseman Ruslan Salei (back) also took part in most of practice today wearing a non-contact jersey, but is still being listed as out indefinitely.

Third Jersey Update
With the help of assistant captains Milan Hejduk and Paul Stastny, the Colorado Avalanche will officially unveil the team’s new third jersey on Thursday, Nov. 12. The Avs will then wear the third sweater for the first time on Saturday, Nov. 14 against the Vancouver Canucks.

Check back to on Thursday afternoon for more information, including photos from the unveiling.

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