Chicago Blackhawks forward Philipp Kurashev is hoping to make his season debut on Tuesday against the Boston Bruins after missing the first six games with a left wrist injury.
"I'm feeling good," Kurashev said. "Excited to finally be back. It was a hard time, but now I'm really happy."
Kurashev suffered the injury in his first preseason game while battling for a puck along the boards. He's still not even sure what happened.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
"I had no clue," Kurashev said. "I practiced the next day too and it just kept hurting."
Kurashev did not accompany the Blackhawks on the season-opening five-game road trip, and he admitted it was difficult for him to not be on it and bond with his new teammates.
"It's the worst, especially after last season; at the end of the season, I was hurt too, and then first game back I get hurt again in preseason so it's not fun," Kurashev said. "It's more hard, I think, mentally cause you can't be with the guys, especially on that long road trip, 11 days. It was pretty tough, but now I'm happy to be back."
In his first regular-season practice with team on Monday, Kurashev skated on the wing of the third line with Jason Dickinson and Corey Perry. He also rotated in and out of the second power-play unit, stationed in the bumper role.
The Blackhawks don't want to give him too much too soon, but they are looking forward to having him back. The offense could use it.
"He looked good in practice, so we're going to see how he looks in the morning to double-check and make sure," Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said. "He looked good out there today, but it's practice, not a game. He's going to make sure, with a little bit of contact in some of the drills today, see how he reacts. If he feels good, we're hoping he's ready to go."