After sitting out almost all of the last two seasons while dealing with post-concussion syndrome, Minnesota right wing Pierre-Marc Bouchard
has declared himself ready to return to the lineup Wednesday when the Wild host the Calgary Flames
Bouchard, who hasn't played since suffering a concussion during the opening game of the 2009-10 season, is the fourth-leading scorer in team history with 267 points. Barring any setbacks within the next 24 hours, Wild coach Todd Richards
plans to have Bouchard back in the lineup.
The Wild, currently 12th in the Western Conference, are 4-5-1 over their last 10 games. The team has lost four of its last five by a combined 23-12, so adding any offensive parts would be a plus.
"It's official," Bouchard told the Wild's website Tuesday. "The last seven to 10 days I've been feeling pretty good and pretty much symptom-free. We had a conference call with Dr. (James) Kelly a few days ago and we came to the conclusion that the next step for me would be to try it in a game and see how I feel."
"I'm really excited, that's for sure, but I'm also a little nervous. It's been a long time and I've been waiting for that day to play again. It seems like it's going to be my first NHL game all over again."
-- Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Despite the fact he was a participant in practice in recent weeks, only recently was he not experiencing any severe pressure in his head.
"I'm really excited, that's for sure, but I'm also a little nervous," Bouchard said. "It's been a long time and I've been waiting for that day to play again. It seems like it's going to be my first NHL game all over again."
Bouchard had 16 goals and 46 points in 71 games in 2008-09, when he averaged 16:58 of ice time. He has 77 goals (27 on the power-play), 190 assists, 267 points and a plus-16 rating in 426 games with Minnesota, which drafted him with the eighth pick of the 2002 Entry Draft.
"In practice, there's so much you can do," Bouchard said. "My hands feel good. I have good jump on the ice. Hockey-wise, I feel good. It's just going to be a question of getting back in game situations like battles behind the net and defensive-zone coverage and getting my timing back."