The last time Max Talbot stepped onto the ice he scored two goals in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings to help the Penguins secure their third championship title in franchise history.
When Talbot took the ice Tuesday at Southpointe it didn’t have the same flair and drama as that previous time, but it was still very significant.
Talbot’s return to the ice was the latest step in his rehab following offseason shoulder surgery.
“It feels great, mentally more than physically. It’s nice to be out there and touch the ice and feel the puck,” Talbot said. “I haven’t done that for three months, more than that even. It’s nice to be out there and be in the room and share time with the guys.”
“You love to get word from the doctor that you can progress and that things are going in the right direction,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “He’s able to get on the ice and start to do some skating, and that’s a good thing.”
Talbot’s shoulder surgery will sideline the forward for the start of the regular season. He isn’t expected to return until late November or early December.
I’m on schedule (to return). I’m right up there. I still need to be careful. It’s a slow process and it’s a minimum four to six months, so I still have a lot of time in front of me. So I still need to be patient and make sure it’s going to be right so when I come back it’s 100 percent. - Max Talbot
“I’m on schedule (to return). I’m right up there,” Talbot said. “I still need to be careful. It’s a slow process and it’s a minimum four to six months, so I still have a lot of time in front of me. So I still need to be patient and make sure it’s going to be right so when I come back it’s 100 percent.”
And despite the media’s pushing, Talbot wouldn’t reveal if he had a specific date for a return.
“I’m going to want to be 100 percent, and I’m going to want to be ready,” he said. “The doctor said four to six months. Let’s aim for six months and the closest that is from there I’m going to be even better for that. I don’t want let you guys know a date and then ‘Oh he’s not back, what’s wrong with him?’
“Not even a game circled. You go by feelings. When it’s ready and when I feel ready I’ll be playing.”
Talbot’s absence will definitely be noticed by his teammates when they open the regular season without him.
“It’ll be a little more quiet on the bench and in the room,” Pascal Dupuis
said. “Obviously Max is a gamer. We need him. We need him healthy and he’s working on coming back right now. It’s great to see him here in the locker room in the morning. It was great to see him on the ice. He can’t wait to get back. (It) was his first day on the ice and he looked like a little kid in a candy store.”
“It’s a tough mental process but you need to think about the shoulder and everything I went through this summer to try to get better and what I’m doing right now to try to get better,” Talbot said. “It’s all going to be worth it when I come back and be 100 percent and be able to get some goals.”