By Annie Fowler | Tri-City Herald
Michal Plutnar’s return to the Tri-City Americans lineup couldn’t have come at a better time.
The veteran defenseman has been away from the team since early December to play for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championship in Sweden, and as the second half of the season gets under way, the team needs his presence on the blue line.
“Any time you get guys back from injury and Michal from World Junior, and get closer to what we were when we were playing pretty well, I think that breeds a little confidence in everyone,” Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. “It was good after Christmas to see Wil (Tomchuk) and Mitch (Topping) back because they left early. It’s starting to look a little more familiar around here with the faces, and that’s good.”
The Americans, who have 105 lost games because of injuries, brought in three replacement players while Plutnar was at the WJC, and Ty Comrie, Braden Purtill and Parker Wotherspoon were at the World Under-17 Challenge.
With Plutnar and Wotherspoon back, the Americans have six healthy defenseman for the first time since before Thanksgiving.