Canes defenseman Tim Gleason is closer to being able to rejoin the lineup and play his first game of the season.
Canes coach Kirk Muller said Wednesday that Gleason, who has been out with a concussion, would travel with the team this week for road games against the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders. Gleason may skate with the team Thursday for the first time, Muller said.
“Get him back in the group,” Muller said. “It’s the next step. It’s getting him skating and getting the conditioning and get him back with the boys.”
Gleason is thought to have suffered the concussion in a fight against Jarred Tinordi of the Montreal Canadiens during a Sept. 21 preseason game.
Several players sat out practice Wednesday at PNC Arena after the shootout loss Tuesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. Off the ice were goaltender Cam Ward along with forwards Eric and Jordan Staal, Alex Semin, Jeff Skinner and Radek Dvorak, and defensemen Justin Faulk, Andrej Sekera and Ron Hainsey.
Rookie forward Elias Lindholm remains “day to day,” Muller said. Lindholm likely will not play against the Leafs on Thursday but could be back for the Saturday game against the Isles, Muller said.
Muller said the third-period comeback against the Blackhawks gave the Canes a “real big point” and should provide some positive momentum going into the game against the Leafs, who are off to a 6-1-0 start, their best in 20 years.
“To play the Stanley Cup champs and you’re down 2-0, you fight back and that’s what I was most pleased about,” he said.
In a scheduling quirk, the Canes (2-2-3) will return to Raleigh after Saturday’s game and not play again until a back-to-back on the road against the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche. The Canes do not have a home game during the annual N.C. State Fair week but will break up the road games.
“We’ll have the opportunity to get some good practices in, get a good assessment of the nine games and work on stuff we need to work on,” Muller said.