The Boston Bruins returned to practice at Warrior Arena (Brighton, MA) Monday after a day off Sunday following their four-game road trip that concluded with a 4-2 win over the Panthers Saturday night. All players not on injured reserve participated in practice and Karson Kuhlman (hairline tibia fracture) and Anton Blidh (torn shoulder ligament) who are on IR, skated before practice.
Head coach Bruce Cassidy also provided some good news on forward Zach Senyshyn (lower-body), saying if not for feeling sick, he’d have skated with Kuhlman and Blidh as well. Senyshyn could join them Tuesday at the Bruins’ gameday skate in advance of their game with the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night at TD Garden.
Cassidy Confirms Miller Setback
The news on defenseman Kevan Miller was not as good though as Cassidy acknowledged that not only has Miller suffered a setback in his recovery from knee surgery but that he had to have a procedure done to help the healing process that seemingly continues to stall.
“It’s a good question. I don’t have an update. He had a procedure done that would require a little bit of time [to recover],” Cassidy replied when asked if the procedure was a PCP shot like Bergeron had this past summer. “By now I thought he’d be back in the mix, but he’s not. We were away for a bit [on the road] so it was kind of out of sight, out of mind a little bit. We’ll do our best to get an update on his progress because he should have been back by now.”
There is no timetable for Miller’s return.
Bergeron Didn’t Consider Surgery
Speaking of Bergeron, the Bruins top center told the media Monday that surgery was never discussed during his recent seven and two-game absences over the last month.
“Nope. It’s nothing that’s been discussed and that’s why we took the time to make sure that it wasn’t going to become an issue,” Bergeron said.
Bergeron said he feels normal and for now and it’s full speed ahead.
“Hopefully that’s the plan,” Bergeron said. “That’s why we took longer in that two-week period to make sure I was going to try and come back and feel good and not having to miss too many practices. That being said, it’s going to be something we’ll manage as the year goes on. It’s been the issue for a few years and that’s what we’re working on right now.”
Lineup Stays The Same
Cassidy kept the same forward lines he used against the Panthers Saturday intact at practice Monday. While Charlie Coyle didn’t register a point in the 4-2 win, he did have three shots on net and created space that enabled his linemates Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci to find their scoring touch again. Both Krejci and DeBrusk had a goal and an assist. The Bruins, of course, would love to have Coyle back as the third line center but for now, this is the lineup they will go with. Cassidy explained his comfort level and confidence in Coyle whether it’s centering the third line or playing right wing on the second.
“I like that he’s a proven NHL player that can put up points,” Cassidy explained. “So he goes into that second line role, playing with guys that are used to manufacturing offense. So you put Kuhlman in there, right? He’s still learning the ropes. [Brett] Ritchie, has not been up in the lineup a lot in his career, it’s more down, it certainly was in Dallas at times. [Danton] Heinen we typically play down, more third or fourth line, though he’s gone up with ‘Bergy’ [Bergeron] and ‘Marsh’ [Brad Marchand].
So the one thing Coyle does is give you a little more experience, especially at that position. He knows the expectation a top 6 player should be meeting. So that’s one of the reasons he goes up.”
Here’s what the lineup looked like:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Charlie Coyle
Andres Bjork – Sean Kuraly – Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – David Backes
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
John Moore – Matt Grzelcyk/Connor Clifton
Tuukka Rask/Jaroslav Halak