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Johnny Gaudreau of Flames pushes for faster recovery

Aims to be back from broken finger sooner than expected six-week absence

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau will push for a speedy recovery from a fractured finger.

One day after general manager Brad Treliving said he's bracing to be without his top forward for about six weeks following successful surgery to repair the finger, Gaudreau said Friday he's shooting to be back sooner.

"I think it's extremely important to try to get back as quick as possible," he said. "The team has done a really good job the past two games here getting some big wins. I'm going to rehab this as quickly as possible, get back on the ice and stay in shape. The good thing is it's my hand. I could probably skate tomorrow if I wanted to. But I've got to keep icing it and get better as quick as possible."

Gaudreau was injured against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. He left the game at 7:22 of the third period after taking a stick to his hand from Wild forward Eric Staal. Gaudreau scored Calgary's goal in the 1-0 win.

"It was the last slash I took during the game," Gaudreau said. "I went back to the bench and I knew something was wrong right away. We went back to the trainer's room, went and took X-rays and right after that we knew it was fractured.

"I was pretty upset about that. Nothing you can do."

Video: NHL Tonight: Johnny Hockey sidelined with injury

Staal wasn't penalized on the play.

"I think it's part of the game," Gaudreau said. "I don't know if it's something they need to look at more. I know if guys are starting to miss 4-6 weeks and getting broken bones and stuff, then maybe it's something they need to look into a little bit more.

"I think all players around the League take shots like that, however many they take in a game. It's difficult. It's difficult for the refs. You never know when it's a bad slash or just a little love tap. I can see why it's tough for the refs at times.

"It's a part of hockey."

Gaudreau is second on the Flames in scoring with five goals and 11 points entering their game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, CSN-CH, NHL.TV). He led the Flames last season with 30 goals and 48 assists and finished tied for sixth in the NHL with 78 points.

In 177 NHL games, Gaudreau has 60 goals and 154 points.

"It's difficult," he said. "It's my first time really being injured. It's tough to come to the rink and not be able to get on the ice, but just being around the guys helps me try to rehab as quick as possible.

"I went through it last year at the end of the season a little bit. Couple games there. This is a little more serious. First time actually being injured for a long period of time here. I'm going to rely on my teammates here, hang out with them on the road trip and try to be around the team as much as possible and try to be part of the team and the atmosphere as much as I can."

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