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The Desert Dog Blog - A Dave Vest Blog
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Tuesday, 01.5.2010 / 2:05 PM MT / The Desert Dog Blog - by Dave Vest
By Dave Vest
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EDMONTON - It's bitter cold here today, but injuries were a hot topic inside Rexall Place after the Coyotes and the Edmonton Oilers held their morning skates on Tuesday.

Here are some scoops:

• Coyotes defenseman Jim Vandermeer told me he would play tonight after missing four games because of an upper-body injury.

“I’m excited to go back in the lineup," Vandermeer said. "Watching games is always tough whether you're winning or losing, and the last few games we haven’t done what we've needed to do to get the two points. I'm excited to get back out there and help the boys.”

• Coyotes center Vernon Fiddler, who has missed the past six games because of a lower-body injury, skated hard Tuesday morning. Afterward, he said he would return to the lineup tonight if he didn’t experience any “flare-ups” between the skate and game time.

Fiddler returned from the same injury a few games ago but played just a few shifts before realizing he wasn’t 100 percent healthy. Figuring out exactly when an injury like his has healed is tricky, he said.

Vernon Fiddler
“You’ve got to take care of your body,” Fiddler said. “If you don’t, nobody else will. If something feels like it’s going to be strained again, I’ll probably back off and take a couple more days off.”

Fiddler, an Edmonton native, is expecting family members and friends to be at the game tonight. He said Rexall Place is a special rink for him because his family had Oilers season tickets when he was a kid and he can remember watching many games from their seats in section 231.

“I’ve played here many times but I still always look forward to it and I still look up at those seats my dad and I used to sit in when I was 5 years old,” Fiddler said.

• Coyotes forward Scottie Upshall, who leads the Coyotes with 14 goals, did not accompany the team on this two-game trip that concludes Thursday in Vancouver. Upshall suffered an upper-body injury in Saturday’s loss to Detroit.

• Oilers forward Fernando Pasani will play for the first time since Nov. 11 tonight. Pasani has missed 23 games because of colitis.

• Another injury that reporters wanted to discuss after Tuesday’s morning skate was an injury suffered by Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron on Monday night. Bergeron last week was picked by Team Canada to play in the Winter Olympics. If his wrist injury is serious, he may not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics and will need to be replaced.

Coyotes captain Shane Doan likely is on the short list of Team Canada’s replacements for injured forwards.

When asked, Doan chose not to speculate on how Bergeron’s injury may affect him.

“It’s one of those things I have no say over,” Doan said. “… I hope Patrice is OK and he’s back and healthy.”

Thanks for reading.

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