VOORHEES, N.J. — While most of the Flyers returned from their three-day All-Star break having not skated since last Thursday, it's been a little longer for Michael Del Zotto.
The 26-year-old defenseman was back on the ice at Skate Zone Monday for the first time since Jan. 21, when he took a puck off his right leg against New Jersey.
He’s missed the past three games with the injury.
“I’ve gotten better each day,” said Del Zotto, who went through a full practice. “Take it one day at a time. See how I feel tonight and tomorrow morning.”
Now know this: Flyers coach Dave Hakstol is a tad superstitious about making lineup changes during a winning streak.
The Flyers resume the NHL schedule Tuesday in Carolina, but even if Del Zotto feels 100 percent, it’s unlikely he’d crack the lineup.
Del Zotto skated with Nick Schultz, a healthy scratch in eight of the last nine games. Usually, the lines and D-pairs at practice remain the same if the game follows the next day.
Del Zotto wants to play Tuesday. One reason he is anxious to play is because last season’s memories still haunt him. Recall, he missed the final 28 games of the second half, plus the playoffs, with a fractured wrist and subsequent surgery.
There are 32 games left now in the stretch run to this season's playoffs (see story).
“It’s always in the back of your mind after what happened last year,” he said. “Very different injury, obviously, but injuries are part of the game … I try not to think about the past.
“You always want to play. I couldn’t skate last week (bone bruise). I’m able to play right now.”
It’s more likely he’d come back Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center against Montreal.