MacDonald now hoping to get back for the season opener

Andrew MacDonald

VOORHEES, N.J. – It was supposed to be six weeks before there was going to be an Andrew MacDonald sighting.
Then the projection on the Flyers defenseman, who’s been sidelined with a lower-body injury, was moved up by a week, and then another.
Now, after Saturday’s practice at the Skate Zone, there appears to be the possibility that the 32-year-old backliner could be ready for the regular-season opener at Las Vegas on Thursday, Oct. 4.
That’s good news for the Flyers, who have a pretty young defense corps. MacDonald is the only defenseman over the age of 28.
Asked if he believes he’s ahead of schedule, MacDonald said: “I would say so. Still have to discuss with the medical staff but based on the timeline given, I would say that.’’
Even though he’s a veteran of many seasons in the NHL, it would be helpful if he could get into one preseason game before the road trip to Las Vegas and Colorado.
The Flyers complete their preseason in Boston next Saturday with a 5 p.m. game against the Bruins at TD Garden.
“I’d like to get in there,’’ he said. “Just to try to work out some things. Just get back in the game mode and stuff. It’s been a little while. That would be ideal. It’s not entirely necessary but it would be nice.’’
MacDonald said he’s not limited on the ice and it’s mostly about conditioning, timing and building strength.
“It’s getting contact out there, doing little drills,’’ he said. “I’m just trying to work my way back into those kinds of things. The start of camp is usually the toughest. It’s competitive, the battle drills. Just trying to work through those.’’
Coach Dave Hakstol is closely monitoring the situation.
“Mac has looked good,’’ Hakstol said. “I’ve stayed away from digging into too many of the medical reports. I’ve given him the opportunity to go out there and do the work. He’s been in every drill. He hasn’t shied away or stayed out of anything.
“On the medical side, there are a lot of angles that have to come into play. We hope for the best. So far, from what I’ve seen, he’s looked good. I know what he’s thinking and feeling and what he’s doing out there backs it up.’’
The Flyers have had their share of injuries even before the season has begun. In addition to MacDonald, Sean Couturier is coming back from a knee injury suffered in a charity game, defenseman Travis Sanheim missed a week of action and goaltender Alex Lyon will be out as much as a month with a lower-body injury.
How frustrating is it to be sidelined when an injury doesn’t even happen in an official NHL game?
“Things happen, it is what it is,’’ MacDonald said. “You’re just fortunate it’s not more serious or you really didn’t miss any important game time. I guess that’s kind of the way you have to look at it. Just work through it and prepare for the season.
MacDonald is coming off one of the best seasons with a career-high six goals, 21 points and a plus-8 in 66 games. He has two years left on a contract which pays him an annual salary of $5 million.

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About Wayne Fish 2444 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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