It's never an easy road to come back from a season-ending injury, but that is the challenge André Petersson faced after an early end to his 2012-13 campaign. The Sens prospect sustained a serious hip injury that cut his season short after just 17 games last season and potentially put his future with the Sens in jeopardy.
It's often tough to forecast how a player will bounce back from an injury of that nature. Given the importance of the hip to movement and stability in hockey and the potential awkwardness of a hip injury itself. Through 44 games of the 2013-14 season that injury appears to be little more than a bump in the road for Petersson. With 40 points through those 44 games this season, he has recaptured that offensive ability which made him an exciting prospect for the organization.
It all began with taking that time away from the ice to put in good work in rehab.
"Rehab was good and the season has been good. I was up here in rehab last year at the end and then had a good summer with the hip so I felt pretty good coming into camp," said Petersson. "I haven't really felt any problems with it at all."
Riding a good start had been a key heading into the year given his time away in rehab. Petersson was a late addition to Ottawa's rookie tournament squad but was one of the team's most dynamic players at the four team tournament in London. He took that performance into a strong training camp for the team and fulfilled his chief goal heading into the season.
"I had to have a good camp since I didn't play for a full year almost. That was my goal coming into the year," said Petersson. "I didn't have any other goals at all since I had the injury. I felt pretty good."
Since then he has settled into a steady role with Binghamton. He has spent the majority of his season playing alongside Jim O'Brien and Shane Prince with the B-Sens. Their chemistry has given Petersson a chanceto put up strong offensive numbers — his AHL high is a 44 point season in 2011-12 — while also working on his total game. He is a plus-14 to this point in the season, the first time he has been a plus player in his time with Binghamton.
"I've played with O'Brien and Prince almost the whole year so far and we've been a pretty good line. We put up points and keep the other team from scoring — we try our best."
Much of Petersson's growth and development is the result of the work put in by the organization's development staff led by assistant GM Randy Lee. Petersson lists the efforts of the team's strength and conditioning coaches — Chris Schwarz and Rob Mouland — as resources he has come to rely on with the Senators.
"If you need any help at all Schwarzy, Rob and those guys, they're awesome," said Petersson. "You just ask them and they come up with a solution for what's best for you. It's really good."
Bestto the team's NHL staff, the daily guidance of head coach Luke Richardson and assistant coach Steve Stirling in the American League have been valuable. Both coaches have extensive experience at the NHL level and have channeled it to help each player in Binghamton become an NHLer.
Petersson says the staff have been a huge resource for the players in Binghamton and that NHL experience has come in handy.
"I think we have a really good coaching staff that understand what the players need and listen to us. It's awesome to have guys with a lot of experience."
Looking ahead, the Binghamton Senators find themselves at the top of their division and rank among the best teams in the AHL. They became the first team in the league to top the 200 goals-for mark and will be looking to keep that pace as they push down the stretch. For that to happen, they'll continue to rely on Petersson and his line to provide reliable two-way play and finish up front.
For Petersson, the goal is much simpler as he continues his trek back from injury towards a spot in Ottawa.
"I'm just trying to get through every day, trying to be the best I can be."