Bags of ice wrapped tight around his leg, Wayne Primeau is happy just to be walking around the dressing room again.
After missing nearly two months of action with a high-ankle sprain, the forward got word shortly before the Calgary Flames left home for their six-game trek that he would be joining them to get in some serious skating time in his final stage of recovery.
"Couple of days before we left, Darryl (Sutter) pulled me aside," said Primeau, adding the Flames general manager wasn't sure how much ice would be available in Calgary.
Turns out Primeau would get plenty of it on the road as he suited up for the final two games, even joining the top line briefly in the finale as Jarome Iginla served a fighting major.
With injuries to Dustin Boyd and Owen Nolan, Primeau got into his first game since Oct. 20 against the St. Louis Blues.
"My first shift was tough," said Primeau of his return after so much time off.
"After that, I felt that I got into it."
His conditioning will improve. The post-game ice packs may be something he has to deal with the rest of the season.
"I was a little sore," said Primeau, who expected that to be the case.
"I've talked to Stephane (Yelle) and talked to Matthew (Lombardi). They've had the same injury. They kind of let me know what to expect.
"I know it's not going to be 100 percent. It might be until the end of the year, who knows?"
Primeau has had to deal with serious injuries before, but the high-ankle sprain brought a new feeling of helplessness.
"I've torn my ACL, so I've missed the last half of a season one year, but nothing like this. It's something that I've never endured and I wish it upon none of my enemies," he said.
"The swelling that was in there for a good month and a half -- I still get a little bit of swelling in there -- there were times I just wanted to take a needle or something and poke at it and try and draw out all the blood.
"It was pretty painful."\