SAN JOSE Frazer McLaren is finally nearing his return to professional hockey.
The 6-5, 250-pound winger, who had hip surgery in the offseason and hasnt played a game in nearly eight months, will be taken off of injured reserve on Saturday and reassigned to Worcester on a two-week conditioning assignment.
He originally hurt the hip while playing for the Sharks AHL affiliate, and tried to play through it until March. When it didn't fully heal, he opted to have a procedure on May 2 that has sidelined him ever since.
Its been almost a year since Ive played in the NHL and about eight months since I played a game, he said after Fridays practice at Sharks Ice. Its good that theyve taken me off of the injured reserve list, but obviously a part of coming back to the NHL is Ive got to go down and play some games down there and feel good."
McLaren figures there will be some butterflies mixed in with the excitement of getting back into game action.
Id be lying if I said I wasnt nervous, he said. I dont think Ive ever gone almost a year without playing hockey. So, Im nervous, but really excited, as well. After a few shifts Im sure Ill get back into the swing of things.
Im sure I'll make some mistakes, but Ill get to play some games and get better.
Head coach Todd McLellan, who has been critical at times this season of the teams third and fourth lines, will have McLaren as an option by the end of the month.
Hell get to play some games (in Worcester). Its been almost a year. Then, hell be back up and ready to go, said the coach. We think hell be an important piece, as well.
In 32 career NHL games, McLaren has one goal and five assists for six points and 76 penalty minutes. He signed a one-year contract with the Sharks on June 30, 2011.