Veteran forward Brian Rolston also declared himself fit for action after missing a month due to sports hernia surgery.
“I’m excited to be back, because it’s been tough watching this team when we’re struggling like this,” said Rolston, who last saw action Oct. 9. “We have to be able to put it together. We have enough veteran players in here to get out of this. Sure, there’s frustration and no one wants to be in this position. No one thought we would be where we are now. But we can get out of this as a team.”
Forward Patrik Elias, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, agreed.
“No one expected this,” Elias said. “We’ve never been in this situation before. But it’s life. Things happen. We’re going to bounce back. We’ve played better the last few games. We’re a much better team than the record shows. We can’t think this is the end with 66 games left. We’re in this together and we have to get better.”
NOTES: Defenseman Colin White and forward Jamie Langenbrunner were held out of practice just as a precaution. Langenbrunner went hard into the boards with his head during Wednesday’s game, but returned to action. “Jamie was a little stiff,” MacLean said. “We’ll evaluate him in the morning.” … Defenseman Anssi Salmela, who is recovering from a torn ACL suffered while playing for Team Finland in June, practiced for the first time Thursday and is about a month ahead of schedule.