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Anisimov expected to return tomorrow vs. Chicago

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

It's pretty incredible to think that, less than a week removed from a scary incident in Detroit, Artem Anisimov is gearing up for a return to the lineup.

That's the news today as he returned to practice at the OhioHealth Ice Haus sporting a regular sweater, taking a regular shift between Matt Calvert and Cam Atkinson, and going through standard preparation for tomorrow's game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Anisimov had been doing light skating and off-ice workouts over the last few days and felt ready to get back on the ice with the team, coach Todd Richards said. The expectation is that Anisimov will play in Chicago and he's on the flight to the Windy City with the club.

The 24-year-old Russian center was involved in a collision with Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey behind the net, taking a blow to the head before falling to the ice. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher and spent the night in a Detroit hospital before returning to Columbus last weekend.

Following an intense, hour-long practice this morning that was as demanding physically as it was mentally, Richards said Anisimov looked good and considered him on the verge of returning.

"It's hard this year because we don't have a lot of practice time," Richards said after practice. "You'd like somebody to come in and have a practice and see where they're at physically before putting them into a game, but we were fortunate enough to have a practice today.

"We did a lot of battle drills and it was good for him to get involved in that, and he got through it okay. Right now everything's good, but we'll just have to wait and see tomorrow morning."

Richards did not have further updates on Brandon Dubinsky (knee sprain) and Jack Johnson (upper body), as neither player took part in practice today. He did say, however, that they're closer than they are farther away from coming back.

"They're progressing and we're hoping sometime next week," Richards said. "Again, that's 'hope.'"

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