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Johnny Gaudreau progressing, no timetable for return

Flames forward skates with teammates, says injured finger 'getting better every day'

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- Johnny Gaudreau is recovering well from a fractured finger but has no updated timetable for when he will return to the lineup for the Calgary Flames.  

The forward was injured against the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 15 after taking a stick to his hand from Wild forward Eric Staal. Gaudreau had surgery the next day and was expected to be out of the lineup for about six weeks.

"I'm excited," said Gaudreau, who along with injured forward Lance Bouma (upper body) joined teammates in an optional morning skate in advance of the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday (8:30 p.m. ET; SN, NHL.TV).

"Excited to come to the rink every day and just try to get this finger better every single day," he said. "I think we've done a great job here with that. I feel like every single day coming here it gets better and better than the last day. I think I've got to keep progressing here and keep doing the things we've been doing and hopefully be out there in no time. ... I want to be out there as quick as possible, obviously. But it's all about progression, and as each day goes on, try to get my finger better and better and hopefully were playing soon."

The Flames are 4-3-1 in Gaudreau's absence. He has five goals and six assists in 17 games this season.

"We don't necessarily have any update in terms of timelines and when he's back, but obviously he's progressing well," Calgary general manager Brad Treliving said. "He's back on the ice and we'll just take it sort of day by day and see how he progresses. That's sort of the next step. He's been out there on his own here for the last three or four days, but anytime you can get him up and moving around and shooting a little bit is a good sign.

"Everybody heals a little differently. We're still in the wait-and-see mode. We'll continue to progress him and hopefully sooner rather than later [he will be in the lineup]. But again, not putting any timeframes on it yet."

Treliving added that he's encouraged by Gaudreau's progress.

"The procedure that was done on him…it's really stable," he said. "He's got some hardware in there that it's pretty stable. Probably more stable than the other nine fingers right now. So that gives added protection, and you can do some protective alterations around it. Youv'e got to go through a healing process, but it's nothing but encouraging thus far."

Video: DAL@CGY: Gaudreau guides home loose puck in crease

Gaudreau, 23, led the Flames with 30 goals and 48 assists last season and finished tied for sixth in the NHL with 78 points. In 177 NHL games, he has 60 goals and 154 points.

"It's feeling better," Gaudreau said of his finger. "I think we did a good job here rehabbing the past week, week-and-a-half. I'm feeling good. I'm excited to be back out there with the guys. It's great to be out there with the guys. It's not as much fun skating by yourself. It's a lot harder, too. Its great getting passes from the guys and going through some drills with them. It was nice."

Gaudreau has been exploring ways to speed up his return and find measures to prevent any further injury to his hands by testing out ways to wrap the finger and add increased protection to his gloves.

"We did a few adjustments for the vibration when you shoot the puck," Gaudreau said. "Put a little extra tape on it…medical tape. We worked around with the gloves a little bit. I'm just trying to get used to everything. It was a little tough trying to work out the new gloves with all the protection on them, but that's something I've got to get used to.

"We're trying out a few different things. I'm not really sure what I'm going to go with. We're experimenting right now and just trying to see what's the best fit, what [offers] the most protection for me and what I feel most comfortable with."

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