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Couture Takes Another Big Step Toward Return, Blackwood Describes “72 Hours of Purgatory”

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

Mackenzie Blackwood says he started to feel ill on Wednesday, when the San Jose Sharks traveled to Southern California to take on the Los Angeles Kings.

That started what Blackwood described as “72 hours of purgatory”.

“I had no faith I was ever gonna get better,” he said today, in his return to practice, about how bad he felt. “I had sweat, chills.”

Magnus Chrona was called up on Wednesday to back up Kaapo Kahkonen in the Sharks’ first post-holiday break game at Crypto.com Arena. The next night, Chrona started, and Kahkonen came on in relief against the Edmonton Oilers at SAP Center.

Blackwood will travel with the San Jose Sharks to Denver this afternoon, but according to head coach David Quinn, expect him to back up during Sunday’s tilt against the Colorado Avalanche. In a corresponding move, Chrona was sent back to the San Jose Barracuda this morning.

“I didn’t feel good,” Blackwood acknowledged after getting through his first practice in a week. “Because obviously, I haven’t been on the ice. But it was good to get up. Get out the rust.”

Meanwhile, Logan Couture is still getting out the rust too.

But the San Jose Sharks captain took another big step today in his quest to return from a season-long lower-body injury, taking contact and fully participating in practice for the first time this year. While Couture has been participating in home practices since about mid-December, he had been sitting out some drills.

And in a reversal of what Couture told San Jose Hockey Now yesterday, he’s traveling to Denver with the team. Is there a chance that Couture will play tomorrow?

Sharks Injury Update: Couture ‘Getting Close’, Emberson & Blackwood Possible for Sunday

“Zero,” Quinn laughed, when pressed on the matter. He said tomorrow was just another chance for Couture to get another hard skate in with some of the other Sharks.

But he did recognize that today was another big step in Couture’s recovery. So what’s next?

“Just continue to see how he reacts, body reacts,” Quinn said.

If Couture’s body reacts as well as it appears to have recently, we’re going to see him back on the ice with the San Jose Sharks sooner than later.

Just not on New Year’s Eve.

So Couture isn’t playing and Blackwood shouldn’t play. Will the Sharks be getting any happy returns from injuries?

Quinn said that Ty Emberson, out since Dec. 3 with a lower-body injury, will return to the line-up. He didn’t disclose who’s coming out.

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