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Gaudreau's estimated time for return six weeks

Johnny Gaudreau underwent successful surgery on Wednesday

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- The good news is the bad news. 

The Calgary Flames expect to be without Johnny Gaudreau for six weeks after he underwent successful surgery Wednesday in Vancouver to repair a fractured finger. 

"In speaking to the doctors last night and this morning, they're really happy with how everything went," Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. "The next question everybody wants to know is how long?

"We don't know. We're sort of working around a six-week timeframe. Hopefully it's shorter. Everybody heals in different ways and different timeframes. When you're talking about a broken bone and the procedure that's been done, that's sort of the timeline that's been done. We're 24 hours into this.

"He'll be with the team. He's going to come with us just to continue the rehab on the road trip next week and then we'll go from there. It's an unfortunate situation but the injury and the subsequent surgery, everything went as well as expected and now we're on the road to recovery."

Recovery has already started.

"They move it right away," Treliving said. "He's in here today doing stuff. A lot of it is ... it's like anything else, you're trying to get swelling out and get mobility but ultimately, you've got to let the bone heal. They put some hardware in there to support.

"Functionality, swelling, mobility, is what you're working on. 

"It's going to heal good."  

Gaudreau sustained the injury against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. 

He left the game 7:22 into the third period when he took a slash on his hand from Wild forward Eric Staal and did not return.

By Treliving's count, Gaudreau was slashed 11 times in the game.

"Do we probably chop good players? Yep, we probably whack them too," Treliving said. "But the frustration is when that turns into that player being out for an extended period of time. When it wasn't the first one. This wasn't a unicorn that happened in the middle of the period. By our count, there were 11 chops on the guy that game. Okay, two, three, four … I get it. But maybe at nine we need to dial in here a little bit."

Gaudreau is second in scoring on the Flames with five goals and 11 points in 17 games this season. 

He led the Flames with 30 goals and 48 assists, and finished tied for sixth in NHL scoring with 78 points in 2015-16.

"There's rules in the rulebook when you get whacked like he's been getting whacked. From our case, we think there could've been a call made. This isn't moaning and groaning. Top players learn to deal and play around and play through some of this attention that they get, but when you strike a guy in the hands there's a penalty for it.

"We've got a lot of rules in the book and one of them is slashing. We think some of the things Johnny's played through and had to deal with there's calls here. We move on and we deal with it moving forward."

The Flames are dealing with other news on the injury front.

Rookie Matthew Tkachuk returned to the lineup Wednesday after missing two games because of a cut on his wrist, and forwards Lance Bouma and Kris Versteeg are close, too.

Versteeg has missed six games with a groin injury against the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 3, and Bouma has missed the past five games after sustaining an upper body injury against the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 5.

"Both are coming," Treliving said.

"Kris has skated the last four days. He'll be skating with the group at morning skate [Friday]. Won't play [Friday]. As we get into the road trip, I think he'll become a part of the conversation. Not tomorrow, but as we get into the road trip, he's getting close.  

"Bouma is doing really well. It's his shoulder. Range of motion and strength is there but it may take a little longer because of the contact piece of it. He's not as close as Kris but not that far behind."

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