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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Pierre-Marc Bouchard is one NHL player who actually benefited from the lockout.

The Minnesota Wild forward missed the second half of last season because of post-concussion symptoms, which he still felt well into the summer and fall. Bouchard said Tuesday that he has been symptom-free for four or five weeks, so he wouldn't have been ready had the season started on time.

Now the slick-skating and deft-passing right wing is on track to play in Saturday's opener, when the Wild host the Colorado Avalanche. Bouchard has missed 157 of a possible 254 games because of concussions over the last four years.

Wild coach Mike Yeo says he believes the team would've made the playoffs last season if Bouchard was on the ice.