Modano itching to return

Detroit Red Wings Mike Modano reacts during the first period of their NHL hockey game  against the...

Detroit Red Wings Mike Modano reacts during the first period of their NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Detroit, Michigan October 1, 2010. (REUTERS/Jeffrey Kowalsky)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:22 AM ET

An optimistic Mike Modano is aiming to return to the Detroit Red Wings in early March.

Modano has been out since Nov. 26, when his right wrist was slashed by an opponent's skate blade -- an injury that had him pondering his NHL future.

"It was really deflating," Modano said Monday to the Detroit Free Press. "Now I kind of feel a little bit more positive and reaffirming that at least it's healing right; it's looking good, and just the function of the hand and the wrist is back."

Modano, 40, needed surgery and was told by his doctor that he would be sidelined four months. He's back on the ice ahead of schedule, although it will be another month, at least, before he can take part in an actual practice with his teammates.

"My mentality is just to go hard at it, push it and push it," Modano said. "(The doctor has) been real patient with it, trying to hold me down a little bit, to not be too excited about using that muscle and making sure those stitches stay together."

From a king to a joker

Jussi Jokinen was chosen the NHL's first star for the week ending Sunday -- but based on his game Monday, the Carolina Hurricanes forward might want to give the award back.

Jokinen had seven points in three games to claim the honour. But that was last week. On Monday afternoon, the Hurricanes were humiliated 7-0 by the Boston Bruins and Jokinen was a minus-3.

Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron, who had a hat trick against the Ottawa Senators, was the second star while Phoenix Coyotes netminder Ilya Bryzgalov, who went 3-0 last week, was the third star.

Wellwood returns

The St. Louis Blues signed free agent forward Kyle Wellwood to a one-year contract Monday.

Wellwood, 27, had five goals and three assists in 25 games with the Kontinental Hockey League's Mytishchi Atlant this season.

Last season, Wellwood had 14 goals and 11 assists in 75 games with the Vancouver Canucks. The Windsor, Ont., native was drafted by Toronto in the fifth round of the 2001 entry draft.

BRIEFLY: The Hurricanes activated forward Jiri Tlusty from injured reserve Monday. Tlusty, 22, missed 14 games with an upper-body injury ... The Atlanta Thrashers have placed goaltender Chris Mason on injured reserve and recalled goaltender Peter Mannino from the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. Mason, 34, is 7-7-2 in 19 games this season ... Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, who has a bruised right knee, hopes to return for a game Thursday against St. Louis.


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