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After recovering from serious bike crash, Sarich holds out comeback hope

Colorado Avalanche v Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 6: Cory Sarich #16 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on December 6, 2013 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

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Veteran defenseman Cory Sarich, who missed all of last season recovering from injuries suffered in a major bicycling accident, says he’s still hopeful for an NHL return -- even though the chances get increasingly smaller by the day.

“I’ve spoken with a few teams,” Sarich said, per the Calgary Herald. “That’s been obviously the goal — to try to see if there’s any interest out there. Nothing so far. I’m just going to keep skating, trying to get my legs under me.

“I’m a realist, though. If nothing happens, that’s the way it is.”

Sarich, 37, suffered five cracked vertebrae and multiple burns after getting run over by a truck while riding his bike in British Columbia last July. He spent significant time in hospital (in addition to the injuries, Sarich later suffered a staph infection) and didn’t play at all last year, after scoring 10 points in 54 games for the Avs during the ’13-14 campaign.

A veteran of nearly 1,000 NHL contests -- currently stuck on 969 -- Sarich has a wealth of experience and is a former Stanley Cup winner, having captured a championship with Tampa Bay in 2004. He says he’s now back at full health and hopeful he can land with an organization, even on an AHL deal.

But so far, it’s been silent.

“I am open to any opportunity,” he said. “But so far, none have presented themselves.”