Henrik Tallinder is sick of skating laps. Despite the best efforts of the coaching staff to curb the boredom, the defenseman is anxious for game action. And according to team doctors and head coach Lindy Ruff, he is almost ready for just that.
Following a batch of x-rays on his injured forearm, Tallinder has been cleared to begin training with stick in hand. Prior to Buffalo's practice in HSBC Arena on Wednesday, he was able to sling a puck around the ice for the first time in more than a month.
"He's actually not allowed to do too much shooting," said Ruff. "But he can do passing drills and stuff like that."
Ruff gave a rough estimate of 10 to 14 days before Tallinder would be able to return to the lineup, depending on how quickly his strength returns.
"There is no pain in the arm or restricted motion," said Tallinder of his arm.
Although unable to handle the puck since being injured on October 26, Tallinder's conditioning has remained at game-ready status and will not be a factor in his return.
"His skating is tremendous," said Ruff. "You could skate him against anybody right now and he would cleanup."
Ruff and his staff have tried everything to keep the monotony in Tallinder's workouts to a minimum.
"We've tried to simulate shifts where he'll go out, skate for 45 seconds and get to different pucks in different areas before returning to the bench waiting that minute and 45 seconds that you normally rest," Ruff said. "We've tried to be creative but he's anxious to pack all that stuff up and just play again."
"It's been heaven to be skating out there without a stick for months," joked Tallinder. "It's been kind of frustrating, but at the same time, it's good to try and be in shape."