He’s ready and more than willing to return to action, but when that happens will not be a decision of Conner Bleackley’s.
“We’re just kind of day to day. It’s up to Brent (Rebels GM/head coach Sutter) now, plus it’s up to my body,” the Rebels captain and top sniper said Tuesday.
“There are three games left in the regular season and I really want to get in as quick as I can and kind of get tuned up before the playoffs. I haven’t played a game for over six weeks now and I’m definitely excited about getting back with the guys.”
Bleackley, who went down with a groin injury Feb. 6 and has missed 17 games as a result, won’t play tonight when the Rebels face the Hitmen in Calgary.
He could, however, be back for the Friday/Saturday home-and-home Western Hockey League set with the Edmonton Oil Kings.
“I’m not sure what Brent has in mind,” said the Colorado Avalanche prospect.
“He’s being really cautious about not rushing me into anything. For me, obviously I want to be out there, I’m kind of tired of watching games. I miss the game and I’m kind of antsy to get out there.”
Bleackley said he’s feeling close to 100 per cent healthy and has no desire to return to game action in a hesitant and cautious frame of mind.
“Obviously, it (slight discomfort) is still there, but I don’t want to ease into things,” he said. “I just want to get out there and play my game, just step in and play the same way I was when I came out.
“I thought I was starting to play well before I got injured and I don’t want to miss a beat when I come back.”
Sutter said he’d prefer to get Bleackley into the lineup for Friday’s game at Edmonton and the Rebels’ final regular-season outing 24 hours later versus the Oil Kings at the Enmax Centrium.
“We’ve been really careful with how we’ve handled this just because of the type of injury it is,” said the Rebels boss. “He skated for 25 minutes yesterday and today we’ll try to get him to go longer.
“If that goes well then tomorrow he’ll skate on his own and on Thursday he can go full practice. If all goes well, then hopefully we can have him for the weekend. That’s our goal.”
• Rebels forward Austin Adamson is also listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury . . . Former Rebels Brett Ferguson and Colin Archer, as well as Mitch Topping of Red Deer, celebrated a CIS hockey championship Sunday when the University of Alberta Golden Bears defeated the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds 6-3 . . . Portland Winterhawks forward Oliver Bjorkstrand is the WHL player of the week for the period ending March 15. Bjorkstrand collected 11 points (5g,6a) in four games to help the ‘Hawks to a record of 2-1-0-1 for the week . . . The Vancouver Giants will host the 2016 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 28. The event will be held at Pacific Coliseum. The 21st annual showcase will feature the CHL’s top-40 NHL draft eligible players featuring talent from the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League competing before hundreds of NHL scouts in attendance.