The biggest news on the injury front heading into the weekend is that overage center Manraj Hayer is on the cusp of returning. Hayer suffered a concussion on Dec. 11 at Spokane and hasn't played since. However, Hayer returned to practice this week and he's made it through without complication, meaning he's likely to make his return during Friday's home game against Spokane.
Hayer's return is a big one for the Tips. It's unlikely Hayer will be back up to speed immediately, having been laid up for more than a month. But eventually his return should be a significant addition to Everett's offense. Hayer still ranks second on the team in points per game (0.85), and his return will allow the Tips the option of reuniting the line of Hayer, Joshua Winquist and Tyler Sandhu, which was Everett's most productive offensively before the injuries hit.
Hayer isn't the only one who could return Friday. Everett as a lengthy list of players listed as day to day on the weekly report because of various aches and pains. However, captain Matt Pufahl (ribs) is the only one who's been ruled out completely for the weekend, and Pufahl may be just another week away himself.
Everett can use all hands on deck Friday. Everett and Spokane are separated by just one point in the standings, with the Chiefs holding the narrow edge. But the teams' positions can be chalked up almost completely to the season series, as Spokane has won all five of the head-to-head match-ups. None of those games was decided by more than two goals, and twice the Chiefs won in overtime, so it's not like the ice has been tilted one direction in those games. One can bet the Tips are eager to make the breakthrough against Spokane in Friday.
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