Boston Bruins

  • Still riding the high of Monday’s victory over the Lightning, Tuesday’s practice in Sunrise came with another boost for the Bruins, with defenseman Derek Forbort back on the ice and skating with the team.

    Getting Forbort, who had started skating on his own last week, back on the ice for a session with his teammates during this mini road trip was always on the agenda for the team’s three-day trek down to Florida. And the good news is that it didn’t come with any noticeable issues for the 6-foot-4 defender.

    “That was the plan along, so it was fun to get back out there with the guys today,” Forbort said following Tuesday’s skate. “Pretty on schedule. The finger feels good.

    “[I can do] pretty much everything. My hands didn’t feel like they got any worse, which is hard to say. It’s good. Just still trying to get the shooting back. That’s like the last step.”

    Injured with a broken middle finger sustained on a blocked shot in the first period of the team’s Nov. 1 thriller over the Penguins, Forbort was originally hit with a timeline of four to six weeks, and that remains the case, according to the latest update from Jim Montgomery.

    “There’s no updated timeline on him,” Montgomery offered. “He’s just starting to get a lot of skates in him because when the upper-body injury heals to where we like it, he’ll be in skating condition.”

  • On the board with three points, along with 27 hits and 18 blocked shots, and averaging almost 19 minutes per game in his first 10 games prior to the injury, Forbort was emerging as an unsung hero for Montgomery’s squad.

    Averaging a team-high 3:36 of shorthanded time on ice per game for a league-leading Boston penalty kill prior to his injury, Forbort had undoubtedly emerged as the Black and Gold’s penalty-killing foundation. One of 58 NHL defensemen to play at least 25 shorthanded minutes in 2022-23 at the time of his departure, Forbort ranked 10th in on-ice shots against per 60, and seventh in on-ice high-danger chances against per 60.

    With No. 28 on the ice, the Black and Gold penalty kill got off to a dominant 35-for-37 (94.6 percent, best in hockey) start, and has since gone 27-for-33 (81.8 percent, ninth-best in hockey) with Forbort on the shelf.

  • TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 6: Derek Forbort #28 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck from a checking William Nylander #88 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on November 6, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 5-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

    TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 6: Derek Forbort #28 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck from a checking William Nylander #88 of the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on November 6, 2021. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

  • Assuming Montgomery’s telling the truth in regards to Forbort’s timeline remaining unchanged — always a dangerous game, it turns out, as Montgomery has twice fooled us with Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy and their respective timelines — Forbort’s return to action could come as soon as Nov. 29 against the Lightning.

    That would be about a couple days ahead of the four-week timeline, and if shooting is the last box to check, the Bruins will have a few practices between then for Forbort to work on his shot. (Montgomery joked that Forbort couldn’t shoot to begin with, so that may not be the Bruins’ biggest concern when it comes to clearing Forbort.)

    But there’s also a cap component at play when it comes to activating Forbort, as his $3 million is currently off the Bruins’ books with him on the long-term injured reserve. Activating him would obviously add it back to the cap, and the Bruins would be over the cap. This is where and when the Bruins will hope to have a resolution on the Mike Reilly situation, as trading Reilly’s money off the books would allow the B’s to activate Forbort.

    The Bruins have been trying to move Reilly (and it’s believed that they’ve become a bit more aggressive on trying to find a new home for the 6-foot-1 defenseman), and about a third of the league sent a rep to Providence this past weekend to get a look at Reilly playing for the P-Bruins.

    Reilly put up one goal, one assist, and landed 13 shots on goal during his two-game weekend with Providence.

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 07: Trent Frederic #11 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Craig Smith #12 after scoring a goal against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at the TD Garden on November 07, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – NOVEMBER 07: Trent Frederic #11 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Craig Smith #12 after scoring a goal against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at the TD Garden. (Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

  • Up front, Trent Frederic has been hit with the day-to-day designation after an upper-body injury knocked him out of Monday’s win in Tampa Bay after just 5:14 of action.

    Frederic’s departure from Monday’s contest came near the midway point of the middle frame, as Frederic appeared to lose an edge in an attempt to outrace Andrei Vasilevskiy for a puck behind and to the right of the Lightning net and crashed hard into the Amalie Arena boards.

    And while Frederic got to his feet and made his way off the ice, it was clear that his left arm in obvious discomfort, and he made his way down the tunnel shortly after his return to the bench.

    Frederic, who started his night as the team’s third-line right wing on a line with Charlie Coyle and Taylor Hall, had an assist prior to his exit, and has three goals and six points through 18 games this season.

  • The classic ‘day-to-day’ leaves the door open to just about anything happening as it relates to Frederic and his status for Wednesday night against the Panthers. But speaking after Tuesday’s practice, Montgomery sounded like a man ready to play it safe, give Frederic the night off, and turn back to veteran wing Craig Smith.

    Smith, a healthy scratch for the last four games, has totaled one goal and three points, along with 11 hits and 13 shots on goal, in 10 games this season.

    “With the great depth we have, I’m leaning towards playing [Smith] anyway,” Montgomery admitted. “[Smith] and I had breakfast together this morning, and he’s ready. He’s a pro. His attitude has been great. He’s extremely well liked by his teammates, and he’s a big part of the culture we have here.”

    The B’s will enter Wednesday’s contest looking to make it eight straight victories.