Sakic guardedly optimistic he'll return this year

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Although his fingers are feeling fine, Joe Sakic's left leg is a different matter.

The Colorado Avalanche captain is still trying to recover strength in his leg after January surgery to repair a herniated disk.

However, he remains guardedly optimistic that he can return to the ice before the end of the season. Colorado closes out the year with three straight home games beginning April 9.

As for his retirement plans, Sakic refuses to even consider that until the summer.

Sakic, who's in his 20th season, mangled his left hand in a snow blower accident in December and while he was sidelined underwent surgery on his bothersome back.

The 39-year-old center has played in just 15 games this season with two goals and 10 assists.

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