Wild’s Bouchard (concussion) is “pretty much symptom free”

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Pierre-Marc Bouchard hasn’t played since Jan. 4 due to a concussion, but has finally gotten to the point where he’s been “pretty much symptom free” for a few weeks, according to the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo.

Still, after being sidelined for nearly a year, he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself.

“That’s a good question,” Bouchard said when Russo asked if he’d be ready for training camp should the lockout end soon. “I rather speak to the doctor first, talk to him and see what he says. The last few weeks I’ve been pretty good, so I’m optimistic about it.”

Because he wasn’t fit to play by Oct. 11, Bouchard hasn’t been locked out like most NHL players. That means he’s had access to the Minnesota Wild’s facilities and was able to practice with their AHL-affiliate, the Houston Aeros.

That being said, an argument can be made for Bouchard needing this lockout to end even more than most players. He’s participated in just 97 games from 2009-10 to 2011-12 and his five-year, $20.4 million contract is set to expire this summer. He needs a chance to stage a comeback before that deal ends, but he might not get it.