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Burish makes season debut vs. L.A.

CHICAGO -- He wanted to start his rehab before the anaesthesia from surgery had worn off. Adam Burish had just been picked up by his agent at the hospital after undergoing surgery on his torn right ACL on Sept. 26.

"I took him home, and before I knew it, the ice and rehab machines are in his bedroom and he's ready to go," agent Bill Zito recalled. "The drugs from the hospital hadn't even worn off. I couldn't believe it."

That was over five months ago, days after suffering the injury in a preseason game against the Minnesota Wild. Rehab may have waited a few days, but when it started, Burish never looked back. He returned to the lineup Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings, after missing 65 games.

Before the game, he said he was more than ready.

"I feel better than I did before, and I think it's because you never get five months to do nothing but get ready," Burish said. "I would have liked to play a week after. The guys were busting my chops. I called the doc and said, 'This is it? I'm ready. I thought this was supposed to hurt.'"

Burish didn't ease back into action. He assisted on a Hawks goal to make it 1-0 early in the first period. And at 17:06 of the opening stanza, he dropped the gloves with the Kings' Richard Clune, drawing a five-minute fighting major.

Burish is a human energy ball, both on the ice and in the dressing room. He was so pumped to play in a game, he thought he might have to calm himself down.

"I'll be excited, obviously. I might have to tone it down a little bit, but I think that's what I'm looking forward to bringing to this group," Burish said before taking the ice. "Going through a season, you get to game 60 or 65, it gets a little bit stale sometimes. If that's happened here, I hope I can come back [like] 'Here comes the crazy guy, here comes the guy that never shuts up and never slows down.' Hopefully that kind of excitement can be a positive thing for this group."

"He's going to flying out there and playing the game fast and hard," said Patrick Sharp, who rooms with Burish on the road and was the recipient of his first-period assist on Wednesday. "He's well liked in our room, so he's going to be a big help to our team."

His mouth is part of his game as well. He tries get inside the head of opponents while keeping his own teammates motivated.

"It's an important thing, I think. On the bench, staying into it and staying alive out there," Burish explained. "Some of the guys have said that sometimes the bench has gotten a little quiet or on the ice a little bit. So I look forward to that. But ask them again in three games. They'll probably be sick of hearing me."

Zito said it was a long five months for the impending free agent. At one point, when the team was on a road trip, Burish thought of joining his agent in some early morning 'rat hockey.'

"I thought about playing in the old man's league at six in the morning, but then I stopped myself," Burish said. "I didn't want to do anything stupid."

Make no mistake, though, Burish isn't all about mouthing off and hitting people. He has some skills, which began to emerge last season. Joel Quenneville hopes Burish can ignite the fourth line.

"You can always use that type of flavor in your lineup," Quenneville said. "His speed is the one ingredient that really jumps out and is useful in today's game. I think he can add pace to that line and really make a difference."

Still, Burish is known for energy, grit and big checks.

"I wouldn't want to be the first guy he hits," Sharp said. "He's been saving that up for like 60 games."

Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com.