Ryan Wilson is back on the ice for his first regular season game tonight as the Colorado Avalanche face off against the Washington Capitals. Wilson suffered a knee injury during the Burgundy-White game in September. Wilson has been the victim of numerous injuries throughout his short career, and one might wonder if it's a sign he just can't hack it in the NHL. However, each injury has been unique, so it's more of a "freak accident" situation than a repetitive, nagging problem. See Adrian Dater's All Things Avs blog for an interview with Wilson about his return.
Wilson will take Tyson Barrie's spot in the line up, pairing alongside Nate Guenin. Barrie has been the subject of criticism since the season began, and although he's had some strong play in the four games thus far, he clearly hasn't impressed coach Patrick Roy enough to stay in the line up. Roy has stated in previous interviews that Barrie has been trying to do too much and, as a result, losing possession of the puck too much.
It will be interesting to see what happens when you introduce another hard-hitting, physical presence to the team against a foe more suited for fast-paced offense-focused play. Will Wilson's strong stay-at-home game allow Guenin to be more offensively-minded? Or will the two function as the total shut down pair?
Wilson's return necessitated that a defensemen be sent to the Lake Erie Monsters, and Matt Hunwick was always the odds-on favorite. He was put on waivers yesterday, and cleared today. He is officially on the Monster's roster; however, there has not been an announcement as to whether or not he will play tonight in LEM's match up against the Rockford Ice Hogs in Quicken Loans Arena.