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Czeching in: After 13-game absence, Michalek returns tonight

Jan 16, 2014, 1:46 PM EDT

Zbynek Michalek AP

Good news on Thursday for the Phoenix Coyotes and Czech Olympic team, as Zbynek Michalek announced he’d be returning from a hip injury that’s sidelined him for nearly a month.

Michalek, who aggravated an existing hip issue just 40 seconds into a 3-1 loss to Montreal on Dec. 17, should provide a big boost to the struggling Coyotes, who have lost four straight and host Vancouver tonight.

The defensive defenseman was averaging close to 20 minutes per night prior to getting hurt and, despite missing so much time, still leads the ‘Yotes with 72 blocked shots.

Michalek’s return is also big news for the Czech Olympic team. Ten days ago, he was named as one of the team’s eight defensemen — and one of just five from the NHL — despite being sidelined with injury.

There were no shortage of potential replacements for Michalek in the Czech lineup, as the team elected not to go with a trio of established NHLers: St. Louis’ Roman Polak, Colorado’s Jan Hejda and Detroit’s Jakub Kindl.

In a related move, the Coyotes put defenseman Rostislav Klesla on waivers today.

  1. thailer35 - Jan 16, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    Alright Z, get this defense back in order.

    • thailer35 - Jan 16, 2014 at 2:09 PM

      They put Klesla on waivers again, too?

  2. hildezero - Jan 16, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    Good. Just what the Yotes need right now.

  3. coyotes89 - Jan 16, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    Finally we can have a solid top 4 again. Pairing Morris or michalek with yandle or ekman-Larson creates the good balance they need. The offense is nice. But it’s a lot better when you can tie in a defense man that is strictly defense.

  4. proudliberal85392 - Jan 16, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    Great news! Gotta like the D pairings with Z back.

    Klesla? Adios, Rusty.

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