Jiri Tlusty says he's feeling stronger every day. And, the Canes forward believes, getting better every day.
He's playing on Brandon Sutter's line with Pat Dwyer. He's getting his ice time. He's getting his timing and stickhandling fully back.
"I feel really good, I'm probably 100 percent, now" Tlusty said after today's morning skate before the Flyers game.
Tlusty, 22, required major surgery after suffering an injury to his left knee in last year's AHL playoffs. He went through extensive offseason rehab, wasn't completely healed when the Canes' training camp began in September and finally was sent to Charlotte (AHL) on Oct. 12 for a two-week conditioning stint, playing five games with the Checkers.
Once back with the Canes, he played on the fourth line. But he's moved up. He's averaged more than 14 minutes of ice time his last two games,
"I'm really enjoying the game and feeling my game right now. I'm back," Tlusty said. "My knee doesn't hurt much except a little after games and practices. It doesn't bother me in games or during practices."
Tlusty did not have a point in his first three games back, then scored a goal against the New York Islanders on Nov. 3. He assisted on Pat Dwyer's goal against Edmonton on Tueday that began the Canes' 7-1 victory.
"He needed to go down (to Charlotte), he didn't have the time to train," Canes coach Paul Maurice said today. "It was good for him and he's been a good, solid player for us since he's come up. I think he's a real good compliment on that wing with Sutter ... and I still think he has some offense in his game and he can make some plays."