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Lydman's status up in the air

by Corey Masisak
HELSINKI -- Tony Lydman wants to play in front of his countrymen Friday when the Anaheim Ducks face the Buffalo Sabres here at Hartwall Areena, but a decision on his status for that season-opening contest has yet to be determined.

Lydman, a Lahti, Finland, native, had surgery to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder in May, and it is unclear if he will be allowed to play against Buffalo.

"Right now we're carrying seven defensemen and 14 forwards and three goaltenders, but Lydman isn't in that group," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "He'll have to go on injured reserve by Thursday. There will be a decision that has to be made here as we go through practice. We're not ruling him out, but his timeframe to play -- he'd be ahead of schedule if we were to use him this weekend. He's had major shoulder surgery and the timeframe they've given us was sometime in mid-October.

Lydman was on the ice with the rest of the Ducks at practice Sunday morning. The team will practice again Monday, Wednesday and Thursday with an exhibition game Tuesday against Jokerit.

The 34-year-old defenseman spent his first two years as a professional with Tappara in SM-liiga, but he also played two seasons with Jokerit's rival in Helsinki, HIFK. He also played for HIFK during the lockout in 2004-05.

"I'm close to playing, and I hope to be able to play, but nothing is sure yet," Lydman said. 

Added Carlyle: "If you watch him skate and practice it doesn't look like anything is wrong with him, but those things do take time to heal."

Carlyle has two other players who are questionable for the game Friday. Defenseman Kurtis Foster had surgery to repair the metal plate in his leg two weeks ago. Foster had the plate inserted after his leg was broken two seasons ago, and a loose wire from the plate was cutting into the muscle in his leg.

Left wing Matt Beleskey also had surgery to repair a torn labrum in May, and is on a similar timetable to Lydman. The Ducks brought extra defensemen to Finland specifically as insurance in case Lydman and/or Foster aren't ready.
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