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Focused on fitness

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- Despite his frustration with being unable to play, Mikael Backlund's training regimen has him feeling very confident in his overall fitness level.

"I feel good. I feel that when I get back, I'm probably going to be more fitter than I was before camp," he smiled. "We've been working really hard since surgery."

The 22 year-old suffered a broken finger in practice on Oct. 4 and the injury was severe enough to require surgery. The malady put him on the shelf for six weeks, his approximate return coming around Nov. 15.

A day after undergoing surgery, the pivot began training ago but ran into a few bumps in the road.

"It started to hurt a little bit so I had to take three days off. But other than that, I've been going hard every day."

Given the injury's location, Backlund can maintain a training schedule similar to that of his teammates. Strength and conditioning coach Rich Hesketh has been working with the forward since he began working out post-surgery, ensuring the he stays in game-shape.

"We have a schedule we follow," said Backlund. "We lift three times a week. Two to three times a week, I work with Kent - our trainer - on core stuff.

"On the ice, we've just been doing some power stuff."

Before breaking his finger, Backlund was projected to start on the Flames top line, centering Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla. Given his commitment to maintaining his fitness level, he'll likely land there quickly after returning to action.

Last season, he scored 10 goals and 25 points in 73 games with the Flames. He was drafted in the first round, 24th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

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