– Head and neck injuries limited Kyle Cumiskey
to just 18 games a year ago, but the speedy defenseman is healthy again and took part in Saturday's scrimmages.
Cumiskey missed the final 29 games with whiplash after sitting out 34 earlier games with a head injury.
The Avalanche is all too familiar with head ailments. Left wing Peter Mueller
, who looked good while scrimmaging Saturday, missed all last season to recover from post-concussion syndrome, and 2010 first-round pick Joey Hishon
remains sidelined with the same issue after getting hurt in the opening game of the Memorial Cup playoffs last spring.
"It's always tough," Cumiskey said of missing games. "You're sitting there and waiting and thinking about it all day. So it's awesome to be back out here again. I'm excited about it.
"I guess as players we have to respect each other a little more and watch the hits to the head. I'm just trying to protect myself a little more and be smarter that way."
Cumiskey was able to resume skating in May, about a month after the Avalanche missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A restricted free agent, he wasn't signed until Sept. 9 when he agreed to a one-year, $708,000 contract.
"I've been working out all summer and feeling good," he said. "I'm not really worried about (getting hurt again) or thinking about it. It's one of those things that you can't worry about or else you won't play your game.
"It was good to be out there again with the guys. I got to camp a little late so I didn't have a lot of time to skate with them before."