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Rielly excited to get opportunity at NHL Combine

by Mike G. Morreale
Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Morgan Rielly is pretty excited to be back in the mix after missing five-plus months of playing time after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament earlier this season.

Rielly played five playoff games for the Warriors and produced three assists but the simple fact he was back on the ice was certainly a positive sign. Now he's going through the rigors that is the NHL Scouting Combine this week in an attempt to show NHL scouts and general managers that he is 100 percent.

"I think it's important just to prove that you're healthy and you're here and you have a pretty good attitude," Rielly told "I don't think this week will make or break anybody, but it's important to come and have a positive attitude."

Really, a positive attitude is all that the 5-foot-11 1/2, 190-pound left-hander has exhibited throughout the most trying season of his hockey career.

"It's pretty hard to have that break in your hockey season and then to come back and play; it's even harder to come back during the Eastern Conference Final [in the Western Hockey League]," Rielly said. "It was tough, but I was happy with the way I felt and the team played well so it was good."

Rielly was injured during a Nov. 6 game against the Calgary Hitmen after skating hard to the net at top speed before being knocked to the ice by former teammate Joe Kornelsen. He underwent surgery on Dec. 1 and received the green light to resume light workouts at Twist Conditioning in Vancouver later that month.

He would return to Moose Jaw in February and, in March, worked on building up his right quadriceps, which shrunk just 0.787 inches. The rehabilitation included weights in the morning and skating in the afternoon.

He said he'll participate in the fitness testing on Friday and is looking forward to it.

"It was a new experience," Rielly said. "I never had to deal with an injury like that, so that was all new to me and it was an all-around positive experience except for the fact I couldn't play. It'll help me in the future and I'm excited to be [at the Combine]."

Rielly is No. 5 on NHL Central Scouting's list for the top 2012 draft-eligible North American skaters.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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