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TKACHUK GETTING CLOSER TO GAME ACTION

The winger skated with the team on Friday morning

by ARI YANOVER @NHLFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

Matthew Tkachuk is making progress.

And that's welcome news for Flames fans.

The sophomore winger has been sidelined since the start of camp with a minor hip issue but took part in Friday's morning skate prior to an evening pre-season tilt against the Arizona Coyotes at the Scotiabank Saddledome (7 p.m., Live stream at CalgaryFlames.com with regional restrictions, Sportsnet 960 The FAN).

Spending time as a spectator hasn't been enjoyable for the firebrand, who will not play against the Desert Dogs.

"Not really sure what happened," Tkachuk said. "That's what I guess is the frustrating part. I mean, I had a great summer, not any injuries in summer, and come here; yeah, felt just a little, I wouldn't say tightness, but something wasn't totally right."

Tkachuk is officially considered day-to-day, with a focus on being ready to play when the Flames go to Winnipeg to play the Jets on Monday.

Video: Tkachuk updates the status of his hip injury

Coach Glen Gulutzan said the decision to keep Tkachuk out of game action was a precautionary one.

"We've got a pretty good handle on where he's at so we wanted to let everything settle down and get him a little exercise today," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "Nothing major, just go through the morning skate and have a little skate after, see how everything is. Seems good, so we'll just keep following (head trainer) Ken's (Kobelka) protocol here for the next couple days and see where he's at."

Despite champing at the bit to see game action, Tkachuk understands the need to be safe rather than sorry.

"If you don't take care of it when it happens you could be out longer than you should be," he said.

"It's good to be out there getting back on-ice conditioning and stuff like that. Feeling the puck and yeah, just skate with teammates and just getting familiar with the new guys. 

"Just wanna hit the ground running this year."

The Flames definitely want to make sure Tkachuk is 100% when he returns. As a rookie, he scored 13 goals and 48 points in 76 games. Not only that, but he further impressed with his all-around play, leading the Flames in Corsi-for with 55.98% according to Natural Stat Trick, with only 35.02% offensive zone starts.

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