Left wing Jason Zucker, looking to win the second-line left wing spot or third-line right wing spot in training camp, returned to practice this morning after missing the past four days with a groin injury.
Zucker strained his groin on his first shift in Tuesday's preseason opener against Columbus, tried to gut through it but was told during the first intermission not to risk hurting it more seriously.
Zucker said it felt "absolutely perfect" in today's practice and coach Mike Yeo said there's a very good chance he plays Monday's preseason game in Columbus. He is on the lineup card, which can be seen below.
Zucker admitted he felt a little pressure to return to the ice with so many young players -- Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine -- that are vying for spots.
"But at the same time, I have to look out for myself," Zucker said. "There’s no point for me coming back early and not being at my best. That would be worse for me. … That would just make me look even worse."
Granlund, who played well last night, did not practice today with what Yeo called a "slight upper-body injury."
"It's nothing big," Yeo said, adding the team just kept him off for precautionary reasons.
He will not play in Columbus, however.
Josh Harding will start. Darcy Kuemper will back up.
The lineup: Forwards: Zucker, Torrey Mitchell, Jake Dowell, Kyle Brodziak, Nino Niederreiter, Matt Cooke, David Steckel (Ohio State), Carson McMillan, Justin Fontaine, Tyler Graovac, Erik Haula, Zack Phillips, Kris Foucault. Defensemen: Keith Ballard, Clayton Stoner, Jon Blum, Nate Prosser, Steve Kampfer, Matt Dumba, Jon Landry.
Landry likely won't play. Of the forwards, likely Graovac or Phillips won't play.