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Wild F Bouchard back from another concussion

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 15, 2013 at 6:25 pm •  Published: January 15, 2013

Bouchard is expected to play the left wing on the third line, with Kyle Brodziak at center and Cal Clutterbuck at right wing. That's more offensive ability on the third line than the Wild have arguably ever had over the franchise's 13 years. With Zach Parise, Dany Heatley, Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi asked to produce the bulk of the scoring, there's less pressure on Bouchard, the team's first-round draft pick in 2002 who has been on the roster every day since he was 18. He's 28 now.

"If I am able to stay healthy and play my game, I know I can help the team with the different aspects of my game," Bouchard said, acknowledging some pessimism about his future a year ago.

"At the start you're a little discouraged, and it's tougher. But throughout the process I was trying to stay positive. At one point I was confident I was going to be able to get back to 100 percent. Making some appointments with the doctors and seeing some progress was helpful. Every day I was feeling a little bit better and a little bit better, so that's what kept me going, I guess."

Yeo said he's just as eager to bring Bouchard back on a power-play unit as he is to the five-on-five lineup.

"We almost had to go in with the plan that he wasn't going to be in here and hope that he was," Yeo said. "The more that this goes on, the more encouraged that I am. I think he looks great, and he's feeling great, and hopefully this will continue."

Notes: The Wild signed RW Nick Palmieri to a one-year, two-way contract. He's competing with Stephane Veilleux and Jake Dowell for the extra forward spots on the roster. Palmieri, who has nine goals and 10 assists in 36 games for Houston of the AHL this season, appeared in nine games for the Wild last season. ... D Marco Scandella has been skating on his own, but won't be ready for the opener because of a groin injury.


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