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Gaudreau back skating with Flames

Johnny Gaudreau has been skating for the past several days as he continues to rehab his fractured finger

by Jason Johnson @Jay__Jo / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- It's good news for the Calgary Flames when it comes to Johnny Gaudreau.

The Flames dynamic forward joined some of his teammates for an optional morning skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday as Calgary gets set to host the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Gaudreau was injured on Nov. 15 in a game against the Minnesota Wild when he took a slash from Eric Staal that resulted in a fractured finger.

The initial timeline on Gaudreau's return was around six weeks. It's the two-week mark and things are looking positive with no signs of any hangups when it comes to the timetable.

Gaudreau felt good after skating the past few days while the Flames finished up their season-long six-game road trip out East.

"It's feeling better," said Gaudreau. "I think we did a good job here rehabbing it the last week, week-and-a-half here or so.

"I'm feeling good and I'm excited to be back out there with the guys.

"We did a few adjustments with the vibration when you shoot the puck. Put a little extra tape on it ... some medical tape and worked around with the gloves a little bit. Just trying to get used to everything. It's a little tough trying to work out the new gloves with the new protection on them but it's something I'll just have to get used to."

Gaudreau was set to join the Flames on that eastern swing but after a few days of rehabbing his finger post-surgery, he felt it was better to stay back in Calgary in an attempt accelerate his return.

"I was going to go out there and I was going to meet them out there in Boston because I had family going out there and I was going to have Thanksgiving with my family," Gaudreau said. "But those first three days I could just see the progress with my finger and I thought it was best to stay here instead of flying on the plane with the high pressure.

"With the progress, we had those first few days I thought it was really important for me to stay here."

Calgary enjoyed a relatively successful road trip, all things considered. The Flames went 3-2-1 and battened down the hatches defensively for the most part. They only surrendered 14 goals in the six contests with some glitches in Buffalo and Philadelphia.

The also only scored 14 goals themselves without their star forward in the lineup.

Gaudreau is fourth on the team in scoring with five goals and 11 points in 17 games.

"It was difficult watching them play in a couple of those cities where they got to play and where I grew up," Gaudreau said. "They played well on the road trip and it was great to see how well they did there.

"It was tough not being there but I think they did a good job on that road trip."

Although Gaudreau was sporting a yellow non-contact jersey during the skate this morning, the fact that he is running drills with the group is an encouraging sign for the 23-year-old.

"A lot of it is just you're working on the range of motion, you're working on getting the swelling down and a lot of it is pain tolerance," Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. "But it's moving in the right direction. The good news with an injury like that is you it's not your lungs or your legs so you can stay in game shape quite a bit.

"He's been working hard off the ice and now on the ice, he's had a good skate here today.

"They continue to do the rehab. A lot of it is just getting the swelling down, getting the blood flow back in there and range of motion but it's really encouraging where it's come so far."

The six-week window to return, which would get Gaudreau back in the lineup around Christmas, still remains but if it were up to winger, he'd be playing tonight.

"It's great to be out there with the guys; it's as much much fun skating out there by yourself ... it's a lot harder, too. It's great getting passes from the guys and just going through some drills with them."

"I want to be out there as quick as possible, obviously, but It's all about progression.

"As each day goes on try to get my finger better and better and hopefully I'm playing soon."

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