One of the only benefits of the COVID Protocol pause for the Boston Bruins has been a little extra time for a banged-up unit to heal before the puck is dropped again.
There is still some question as to whether any of Sean Kuraly, David Pastrnak, Craig Smith, David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk will be able to suit up for Thursday night’s schedule home date against the New York Islanders, or if the game will even be played at all. But the good news for the Black and Gold is that the injured Bruins have been able to continue rehabbing and working out at Warrior Ice Arena and defenseman Brandon Carlo has resumed skating again.
The 6-foot-5 defenseman has missed the last seven games after getting clobbered with a dirty head hit from Tom Wilson in a March 5 win over the Washington Capitals. Wilson himself just returned from the suspension served following the head shot that initially sent Carlo for an overnight stay at the hospital.
It sounds like Carlo and Miller might be the closest to returning, and the Bruins GM didn’t rule out any of them being able to play Thursday after a planned Wednesday practice at Warrior Ice Arena provided there are no further COVID Protocol setbacks.
“All those players have been able to utilize the facility while we were away as well as the past few days, because they were not a part of the traveling party, and do not have to quarantine,” said Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, who confirmed that Carlo has returned to skating on his own. “All of them have made progress. I can’t determine today because we’re not together as a group and not fully practicing, as to whether or not any or all of those players are returning to play if we do play on Thursday night. But several of them are getting closer and we’re hopeful in short order that they’ll be able to become available to us.”
Needless to say, they could use anybody with some size and strength on the back end with Jared Tinordi also out of commission after getting drilled into the boards by Penguins forward Brandon Tanev last week in Pittsburgh.
Kevan Miller (knee) was skating and working back at Warrior Arena but hadn’t made the next step of joining his teammates for practice. Jeremy Lauzon has been out since Feb. 21 with a fractured hand that had a 4–6-week timetable for recovery, so the hard-nosed rookie defenseman is entering the timetable where a return may be in the cards sooner rather than later.
Tuukka Rask (upper body) was practicing with the team ahead of the COVID Protocol pause and was trending toward being the starting goalie on Saturday in Buffalo, so there are pretty good chances for his availability on Thursday night as well. Ondrej Kase (concussion) remains out with no timetable for his return, but he has also been skating periodically with Bruins skating coach Kim Brandvold.