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vs. Port Huron
When: 8 p.m.
at Dayton
When: 7:30 Saturday
Radio: 1190 AM

Restless Hukalo ready to return from back injury

David Hukalo isn’t thinking about what might have been. He’s not the type of guy to look backward.

Even though last season was his best – he had career highs in goals (23), assists (39) and points (62), and took Turner Cup playoffs MVP honors – he isn’t worrying about all the time lost this season.

Not much, anyway.

“It has been a little frustrating,” said Hukalo, a right wing. “But goals and records, getting MVP and those types of things, they are great at the time but I don’t take them into the next season. It’s a new year. All that other stuff is in the past and doesn’t contribute to what I do this year.”

Hukalo has played in only 22 games this season, tallying seven goals and 13 points. Offseason shoulder surgery kept him from the first 19 games, and then a concussion and continually hurting back have waylaid him since Jan. 8.

In all, he’s missed 25 games this season.

The good news is that Hukalo, 31, thinks he finally has a good diagnosis of why his back ails him – there is a torn muscle, and that’s better than the broken bones he feared.

Hukalo has been feeling better and could return to the lineup in the next week or two.

“It’s just been bad luck this season,” he said. “I don’t know how else to explain it. I’ll get into it and start playing well, and then something happens. Nothing you can do, though.”

The Komets, who are on a 6-2-1 run and have pulled within two points of tonight’s opponent, second-place Port Huron, are able to give Hukalo the time he needs. But the Komets certainly want to get him back in the lineup. Hukalo won the league’s best defensive forward honors in 2007 and 2008.

“I think he’ll be a huge addition,” said coach Al Sims, whose team is 29-15-3. “He adds to the offensive end – he had (12) points in his last 13 games – and defensively, he’s one of the best players in the league. He gives you an advantage at both ends of the ice.”

Hukalo is getting a little stir crazy being on injured reserve. In his four full seasons with Fort Wayne, Hukalo’s never played fewer than 62 games and he hopes his return will help the Komets make a run at a third straight Turner Cup championship.

“I just want to get back in the lineup and contribute the way I was before I went on IR,” Hukalo said. “I just want to get back in the lineup and do what’s expected out of me.”