BRIGHTON, MA – It’s getting to be the time of year when injuries become vague items of dispute with NHL teams looking to engage in subterfuge with the Stanley Cup playoffs approaching, and the Boston Bruins are no different than any of the other 31 hockey clubs.
So it’s interesting to note that reports are beginning to vary wildly on winger Taylor Hall, who was believed to have suffered a lower body injury that was going to keep him out for the rest of the regular season. The injuries to Hall and Nick Foligno, who was seen limping around TD Garden on Thursday night with a leg brace and a crutch, in fact spurred the B’s to go out and deal for Red Wings winger Tyler Bertuzzi ahead of the NHL trade deadline.
There was talk about a second opinion on the injury last week and now it appears the optimism of an early return has taken one step further.
But now there is a Boston Globe report that Hall is pushing to a return to the ice, which is going to happen on Monday while the Boston Bruins are out on a five game road swing that will take them through Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota, Winnipeg and Buffalo. The report goes on to state that Hall could return to playing by the end of the road trip, but will be held out of back-to-back situations for the rest of the regular season.
This is good news for the Boston Bruins if it’s indeed 100 percent accurate, but it didn’t sound like the B’s were embracing that report on Friday morning.
“What we’re expecting is for Taylor Hall to hopefully be an option come playoff-time,” said Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery after Friday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena. “We don’t have an update there different than that. Same thing [with Foligno]. They both have suffered pretty significant lower body injuries and it’s just going to take time.”
The unspoken part about all this is that Hall’s $6 million cap hit is currently on LTIR and a move back to the NHL roster would require Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney to free up a couple of million in salary cap space for a B’s team that has no cap room right now. That’s no easy feat post-deadline if the Bruins roster is close to full health at the time of Hall’s imminent return.
In their absence, Tyler Bertuzzi was skating on the second line with David Krejci and David Pastrnak at Friday’s practice and Pavel Zacha was getting a turn with Charlie Coyle and Trent Frederic as an option on a possible shutdown line role in the postseason.