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Kariya: "I'm Ready to Go"

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
Paul Kariya has been out since Dec. 27 with a concussion after getting hit by Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta (Getty Images).

After missing six games with a mild concussion, Blues forward Paul Kariya says he’s ready to get back in the game.

“I feel good, ready to go,” Kariya said after practice on Monday.

In addition, Keith Tkachuk will return to action after missing three games. He was injured when T.J. Oshie's slapshot hit him in the face on Jan. 2. Tkachuk lost several teeth.

Both players have been skating with the team in recent days and claim they are ready to play, beginning with Tuesday's home game vs. Columbus.

Kariya was injured late in the first period on Dec. 27 when Sabres’ forward Patrick Kaleta elbowed him in the back of the head. Kaleta was assessed a two-minute penalty for the infraction.

It was Kariya’s first concussion in 12 years.

“You never know (how long recovery will take), so it was day-to-day throughout,” he said. “Sometimes it takes longer, sometimes it doesn’t. (You have to get better) neurologically and physically, and the physical took a little bit longer. But I feel good now and I’m looking forward to playing.”

Prior to Tuesday’s game vs. Columbus, Kariya had 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 38 games this season.

Tuesday’s return to the ice will be Kariya’s first game under Coach Davis Payne.

“Davis wants us to be a hard-working team. Five guys on offense, five guys on defense and play with a passion and a structure,” Kariya said. “We’re in a position now where we have to string some games together, especially at home.

“We’ve been pretty good on the road all year, and obviously not here at home, but we’ve got three games here to really turn the tables.”
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