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Svatos Anxious to Return

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche should have a few key ingredients back in the lineup when it hosts the Dallas Stars Wednesday night at Pepsi Center (7:00 p.m.)

Right wing Marek Svatos – who has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury on March 1 against the Los Angeles Kings – is just one Avalanche forward who appears ready to return to game action.

“It’s been a long summer but I think I’m ready,” Svatos said following Tuesday’s skate. “I feel good on the ice and have been taking contact the last few practices.”

The past seven months haven’t been easy for Svatos. Following surgery to repair a torn ACL, the forward underwent months of rehab and then conditioning in order to get his stamina up to speed. No easy task, considering he wasn’t cleared to skate for the first four months following the procedure.

Despite the setback, Svatos has kept a positive attitude and used the extra time to expand his skill set.

“It’s not fun to sit out. You never want to get hurt, but it was just an unfortunate thing I couldn’t prevent,” said Svatos. “All I could do during that time was focus on the future and stay positive. It’s been a long rehab, but during that time I tried to work hard to get better in some areas.”

When Svatos is on the ice, he’s proven himself to be one of the league’s most dangerous snipers. The Kosice, Slovakia, native was leading the Avalanche with 26 goals a season ago before his injury, a total that still finished second on the club.

In addition, he shared the team lead with six game-winning goals and finished third in the NHL with a shooting percentage of 18.6%.

Wolski, Jones Expected to Play as Well
Along with Svatos, Avalanche head coach Tony Granato said both Wojtek Wolski (foot) and David Jones (groin) should be ready to play Wednesday against Dallas.

Now, with the Avalanche’s injury situation again clearing up, time is winding down to finalize the club’s roster.

“We’ve got three more games to keep the evaluation process going and talk about it daily as far as what’s the right roster come opening night. But things always factor into it; injury things,” said Granato. “So then you start putting in your mind what you think the roster will look like on October 9, but you always have other factors that come into play.”

Budaj to Start
Peter Budaj is scheduled to start in goal against Dallas and will likely play the entire game. Granato also said that Andrew Raycroft will probably receive a start in one of the final two preseason contests, but it’s yet to be determined whether that might come Friday or Sunday.

Charity Golf Classic Recap
The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club held its 12th annual Charity Golf Classic Monday at The Ridge at Castle Pines North. As always, the event was a hit with both the players and the fans who had the opportunity to golf with them.

Although there were a handful of teams tied atop the leader board at day’s end, the squad consisting of Avalanche forward Brian Willsie and employees from KeyBank were crowned the winners. Willsie’s team also received a hand from Milan Hejduk, who served as a “designated putter” for the squad.

“Milan bailed us out. Without him, we might have been in some trouble,” said Willsie, who claims to rarely get on the course anymore after being an avid golfer as a youth. “We all chipped in a few shots and everyone was pretty steady. We had a great group of guys and it was a ton of fun.  ”

Willsie’s crew shot a 15-under-par for the event in a best-ball format to take home the crown.
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