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D Matt Smaby will return to lineup tonight against Carolina; Matt Walker out

18

January

D Matt Smaby (concussion) will return to the lineup tonight against the Hurricanes after missing three games.

Smaby said he’s got his legs back after having to take some days off, and coach Rick Tocchet hopes he can give a spark. Tocchet said D Matt Walker will be out of the lineup to make room for Smaby.   

“(Smaby) started to play some good hockey for us (before he got hurt),” Tocchet said. “It’s one of those things, he’s fought through it. He’s a good kid.”

For Smaby, it’s been an admittedly tough year. In the first part of the season, he was often the odd-man out in the logjam at the blueline, and has played just 13 games. Then, when he got back and played well, came the concussion.

“It’s really been tough mentally,” Smaby said. “It seems like anything and everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Sometimes you’ve gotta roll with the punches and I’m trying to do it as best as I can.”

Doesn't sound like there will be any other lineup changes, though RW Todd Fedoruk (lower body injury) said he's ready to return.

G Antero Niittymaki said he's ready to rebound tonight after struggling Saturday, giving up five goals in 18 shots in what he labeled one of his worst performances in the last couple years. He said he watched video on Sunday, and noticed a few little things he wasn't doing right. Niittymaki said he needs to be more aggressive and challenge shooters more, noting on a couple of the goals he was too far back.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 12:15am]

    

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