Smyth returns to action for St. Louis game
DENVER – The lengthy list of injured Colorado Avalanche players was reduced by one Thursday with the return of Ryan Smyth.The Avalanche host the St. Louis Blues Thursday night.”It was time,” said Smyth, who missed 18 games with a broken right ankle.”It progressed really well,” said Smyth. “Usually a broken bone like that takes 4-to-6 weeks to heal.”Smyth was hurt during Colorado’s 4-3 overtime loss at Phoenix on Dec. 31. At the time of the injury, he had 28 points, third-best on the team, with 11 goals and 17 assists in 36 games.”He can help us in a lot of different areas,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said, adding that Smyth’s power play ability, his experience and leadership, also are key for the team. “He gives us a presence in the tough areas.”The status of Joe Sakic remained the same but the Avalanche captain participated in the morning skatearound.”Joe skated today,” Quenneville said. “He is progressing real well.”Sakic has been out since Nov. 30 and missed games. He underwent hernia surgery on Dec. 29.Before missing the Avalanche’s game against San Jose on Nov. 30, Sakic, who has seven goals and 15 assists in 24 games this season, had played in 232 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 6, 2004.Colorado Avalanche leading scorer Paul Stastny was not at the skatearound. He missed his twelfth game after having his appendix removed on Jan. 17 and then aggravating his groin.”We’ll see if he gets on the ice either in the next day or two,” Quenneville said.The second-year forward was forced to miss the NHL All-Star game. He has 17 goals and a team-high 49 points in 46 games this season.Defenseman Brett Clark has a dislocated shoulder and there is nothing new to report. Right winger Cody McCormick is on the injury reserve list with a chest contusion, while defenseman Kyle Cumiskey skated in the morning, but remains out of action with an injured groin.
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