Poturalski Excited for Return
Calder Cup MVP missed 33 games with a broken wristJan 31, 2020
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
Andrew Poturalski skated off the ice at Pechanga Arena San Diego, smile brimming from ear to ear.
The Williamsville, New York native is expected to return to the San Diego Gulls lineup tonight after missing 33 games with a broken wrist.
“Whenever you're out for that long, especially playing the game you grew up loving, it's really exciting to be back with the boys and be part of this team,” he said following morning skate.
Poturalski came to the Anaheim organization this summer, signing a one-year contract after a successful Calder Cup playoff run with Charlotte. He led all skaters in goals (12) and points (23) and grabbed MVP honors as the Checkers took home the Calder Cup title.
After a slow start to the season, the right wing responded with three points in four games, including a multi-assist effort in the team’s 3-2 loss to the Ontario Reign on October 26.
The news of his broken wrist came after that performance, shelving Poturalski for the foreseeable future.
"It's definitely tough. Being in San Diego makes it a little easier, being in the nice weather, near the ocean and all that it has to offer,” he said. “But you want to be out there; it's what you do. You want to be a part of the team; you want to contribute. You have to find other ways - stay positive, help guys out, be another set of eyes - but keep your work ethic going and work hard to get back."
After two weeks on the shelf, Poturalski itched to get back on the ice.
“Your legs are fine, and you want to skate and be out there with the team,” he explained. “You have to be cautious to not re-injure anything and make it worse. It's tough staying patient, but I'm really happy it's over with."
He put in work off the ice, getting familiar with the exercise bike in the team’s gym.
"At one point, when I wasn't skating for about 10 weeks there, I said I was ready for the Tour de France on the bike,” he quipped. “I did a lot of that kind of work. Tried to get the body moving and stay in shape as best you can. Once you get the green light to rehab and do that kind of stuff, it's go time. It's a lot of hard work."
Tonight’s return collides with an important time in the season – a post All-Star break push to move into a playoff spot. His first opponent – the San Jose Barracuda, a team Poturalski respects.
"They're a hard-working team. You might look in the standings, and some people count them out,” he said. “Any team in the league, at any given time, has a ton of prospects and a ton of players who are playing for something. Everybody in this league is competing for jobs. There's never an easy night in this league. They have a lot of skill and young players, and we have to be ready and prepared and bring our game, too."