By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Slowly but surely, the Bruins are climbing their way out of the hospital wing.
And while Thursday is headlined by the return of John Moore, who has missed all 28 games to date this year because of offseason should surgery, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy provided updates on every other walking wounded Bruin.
Top-line center Patrice Bergeron, who will miss his sixth straight contest with a lower-body injury, skated at Warrior Ice Arena earlier this morning, and is inching towards a return to action. The Bruins are taking it as slowly as they can with their first-line pivot (for obvious reasons), but there seems to be a belief that Bergeron will travel with the team when they hit the road next week.
Brett Ritchie, absent for five straight games and 11 of the last 15 overall due to an infection and its lingering side effects, could play if the Bruins need him to, but patience seems to be the name of game with the 6-foot-4 winger, too.
“Part of it is allowing him more practice time,” Cassidy offered. “In terms of medical, he could go play if we needed him to, we’re just not sure his conditioning is at an NHL level right now. So that’s part of the process of getting back into the lineup.
“Some of it has to do with the previous injury; he returned, [then went] back on the injured list. We want to try to make sure we do it right this time by giving him that extra time to get the conditioning right and make sure that whatever’s going on inside of him — because of the exertion — is not going to act up again.”
The Bruins are also expected to see Zach Senyshyn skate at Warrior on Friday, too, according to Cassidy. The 2015 first-round pick has missed the last 10 games due to a lower-body injury, but looked capable in his NHL showings this year, with two assists in four games.
But the updates did come with two downers, as Cassidy noted that Karson Kuhlman (right tibia fracture) is not close to getting back on the ice, and did not have any update of any sort on defenseman Kevan Miller.
“I have nothing on Kevan,” Cassidy offered. “Nothing to report, unfortunately.”
While you’re hoping for the best given his rugged style and presence in the room, it may be time to wonder if Miller is going to come back at any point this year, really, as he’s been completely absent from any on-ice work after suffering a setback last month. This was not the 32-year-old Miller’s first setback in his attempt to return from a twice-broken kneecap, either, and though the Bruins have been more than cautious with Miller’s rehab, the clock is officially ticking when it comes to both his own recovery (this injury and first setback happened over eight months ago) and the timeline for the B’s to work him back into the mix.
The Bruins enter tonight’s game with the Blackhawks with 137 man-games lost to injury on the year.