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Stastny Close to Returning

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Avalanche forward Paul Stastny participated in a full practice with the team on Tuesday and will be on Colorado’s upcoming two-game road trip.

The Avalanche will square off with the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday (8:30 p.m. MT, Altitude 2), before facing the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday (8:00 p.m. MT, Altitude/CBC).

Avalanche Head Coach Joel Quenneville
stated that his young center would be questionable for Wednesday’s game against the Sharks, but that he expects him to play at some point on the trip. The club will see how Stastny feels tomorrow morning before making a decision on his return.

“He did everything here today in practice, but we’ll visit with him again in the morning,” said Quenneville, who also hinted that Stastny has been improving on his conditioning. 

“He basically was in shutdown mode. You have to get up to speed conditioning-wise.”

Although many players have stepped up in Stastny’s absence, the sight of their leading scorer back on the ice – whether against San Jose or Vancouver – will be a welcome one for the Avalanche. 

“It’ll be nice. He looked pretty good out there in practice today. I’m sure the rust is starting to come off a little bit,” said defenseman John-Michael Liles. “I think they’re working him back in, and the nice thing is everyone has stepped up and it’s not quite as big of a rush to get him back.

“We have to make sure he’s healthy and that there’s not any lingering effects so we can have him for the stretch run and the playoffs.”

Theodore Back in Action
Jose Theodore will get the starting nod Wednesday against the Sharks. The netminder made 11 consecutive starts from Jan. 5-30, but was forced to leave last Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks after two periods due to back spasms.

Theodore posted a 6-4-1 record with one shutout, a 1.94 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage in January.

Wall Reassigned
The Avalanche announced following today’s practice that is has reassigned goaltender Michael Wall to the club’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters.

Wall dressed as a backup to Peter Budaj in last night’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes.   He has appeared in 16 games for the Monsters this season, posting a 4-7-4 record with a 2.82 goals-against average and .917 save percentage. 
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