There were good days and bad during the National Hockey League lockout for Zach Bogosian.
Consider Monday, Jan. 7 among the good.
The 22-year-old Winnipeg Jets defenceman returned to the ice Monday for the first time since off-season wrist surgery and that in itself had him beaming even if his return to action is still up in the air. But the bonus with the lockout ending was this: he was able to share a locker-room with some of his teammates again, including Jim Slater, Bryan Little, Olli Jokinen and Toby Enstrom.
And it didn't feel all that awkward anymore.
"My social life is going to bump up now that I can actually hang out with my teammates in the room," said Bogosian, after a session with Jets therapist Rob Milette and strength and conditioning guru Lee Stubbs. "It was definitely a different experience and it's not something I want to go through again."
Just to backtrack a bit, Bogosian -- because he was injured before the lockout began -- drew a full salary during the labour war. His teammates did not. And while he stayed in Winnipeg and made regular appearances at the MTS Centre for treatment and to work out, his teammates were forced to steer clear of their old haunt and practise at the MTS Iceplex.
"I could have probably hung out with them outside of the rink, just not at MTS Centre," said Bogosian. "It felt like a ghost town in there. The room is too big for one person.
"They kept asking me to bring them out to dinner," he added with a grin. "I don't know why."
Asked if he did treat his teammates, Bogosian added: "A couple of times I got suckered into it.
Bogosian, who is coming off a season in which he began emerging as a defensive anchor while posting a career-high 30 points, said he was pain-free during the summer but when he returned to the ice in August he felt something in his right wrist. Doctors put a screw in his wrist to reattach a ligament and it was then removed in early December.
"It was an injury where you can't just stick your hand under an X-ray machine and diagnose it," he explained. "It took a long process to figure out what was wrong. The organization was great with me the whole time.
"I'm not very good with doctor stuff. All I know is I'm just glad they found it when they did."
Bogosian's timeline for a return remains unknown, although the initial recovery called for four to six months. But with him just returning to the ice, it's likely he won't be good to go until sometime in February.
"It felt good today. I didn't really push it too much," he said. "It was more just getting my legs under me a little bit. It felt good to be out there to skate, even though I wasn't doing much competitive stuff.
"A guy like me wants to get out there and go right away. The trainers have been great and have been pulling me back a little bit. I'm hoping to get back as soon as possible but I'm not going to make a dumb decision to hurt myself in the long run, either.
"You don't really know where it's going to be until all of a sudden you wake up one day and it's starting to feel a little better and better and better. This was my first time having surgery so getting over that hump was probably the biggest thing for me."
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