The timelines are a bit all over the place, but the Bruins are hoping to get back to full strength at some point this week, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed following Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
Beginning at the top, Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron took another step forward and practiced in a non-contact jersey. Bergeron, who has been out of action since he took a hard tumble in a collision with the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby, suffered a head injury on the collision, and was also dealing with a laceration on the back of his head as a result of the incident.
The Bruins have made it clear that there’s no definitive timetable with Bergeron (his injury history regarding his head is all they need to think about when going with such a plan), but the B’s are hopeful that he’ll join them in New York this week.
“He won’t play [Tuesday], will not travel [Monday],” Cassidy said of the Boston captain. “Probably will meet us on the road, hopefully, if he progresses well.”
On the backend, meanwhile, Cassidy noted that it’s likely that Matt Grzelcyk jumps back into action Tuesday night barring a setback in the morning skate. The 5-foot-9 defender exited Thursday’s loss to the Hurricanes with a strange-looking upper-body injury, and was held out of Saturday’s win in Ottawa. If good to go Tuesday night against the Rangers, Grzelcyk will skate opposite Charlie McAvoy on the Black and Gold’s top defensive pairing.
In the case of Urho Vaakanainen, who has not played since Yanni Gourde knocked him out of a Feb. 1 head-to-head between the Bruins and Kraken with a high finish behind the Boston net, Cassidy noted that he was ‘back in the mix’ but added that he would not be available to the team Tuesday night.
Prior to his injury, Vaakanainen was getting some run playing his off side as the Bruins’ right-side defender on their third pairing with Derek Forbort.
The 23-year-old Vaakanainen has totaled four assists, 10 blocks, and eight hit in 13 NHL appearances this season.