Return was long time coming for Carcillo

An injury and the lockout have kept Dan Carcillo from the ice for nearly a year. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Dan Carcillo said Tuesday he’s more than ready to start playing again, nearly a year after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery.

Carcillo tore the ACL in his left knee while making an illegal hit in a game against the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 2, 2012. He was suspended seven games for the hit on the Oilers’ Tom Gilbert. He had season-ending surgery on Jan. 17.

"It's been a long year,” said Carcillo, who joined other Blackhawks in an informal practice at Johnny’s IceHouse West on Tuesday. “But yeah, I'm definitely excited to get started. These next two weeks aren't going to be that much fun, but after that I'll probably be the most excited guy in that room.”

Carcillo, who is known for his toughness, only played in 28 games last season before his injury, but the Blackhawks showed they valued what he could provide them by signing him to a two-year contract extension in March.

Carcillo had two goals, nine assists and 82 penalty minutes in his first season with the Blackhawks. He was also suspended twice.

"He has a purpose behind the way he plays and he had a tough couple of suspensions he can learn from as well, but at the end of the day he gives us a lot of depth in an area we can use," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Carcillo in March.

Carcillo said Tuesday his knee and his body were nearly ready for the upcoming season.

“Everything feels good,” Carcillo said. “Just getting back into game shape now is my big concern -- the stops, the starts, coming off the turns and that sort of thing. But yeah, everything’s been great.”

Carcillo also isn’t worried whether playing so frequently in a shortened NHL season could risk further damage to his knee. He said he’s more confident now than he’s ever been.

“I feel better coming in this year, stronger, than past years,” Carcillo said. “You don’t (normally) get a full calendar year to work out.”

Carcillo’s teammates know how eager he is.

“It’s been a long time since we all played, but for him even longer,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said. “To come off an injury like the one he had, it’s great to see him out there smiling and laughing. He looks good. He looks healthy. I’m sure he’s just as excited as everybody to get out there.”