(Voorhees, NJ, January 25) – Flyers defenseman Denis Gauthier will likely make his return to the team on Saturday, when Philadelphia hosts the New York Rangers at the Wachovia Center (1:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet, 610 WIP).
Gauthier has been out since having surgery on his left shoulder on November 12.
"I was medically cleared after just nine weeks. I could have played the last two [games] maybe, but we just felt that if we held back it would give me 10 more days [with the All-Star break] to really heal up comfortably," he said.
Head Coach John Stevens is looking forward to getting Gauthier back in the lineup, as the defenseman was having a solid season before he hurt his shoulder.
"He's been off a long time and he's been itching to go, and I think all indications are he feels good enough to play," said Stevens. "Hopefully he can get back to playing the way he did. He was a very good player before he got hurt, and he was even playing hurt there at the end. I thought he was playing extremely well for us, and he's a real steady influence back there. We don't expect him to get there overnight but he's certainly a welcome addition back into the lineup."
"It's going to take a little bit of time to get back into game shape with those quick start and stop situations," said Gauthier. "I feel like I did all I could during rehab to put myself in a spot where it shouldn't take too much time for me to get it back."
Gauthier was paired with Randy Jones during the team's first practice after the All-Star break on Thursday afternoon at the Virtua Health Flyers Skate Zone.