Jeremy Swayman is back, but his return to game action may have to wait
Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman is officially back at practice with the big club. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to go right back in there for a game.
Swayman returned to practice with no limitations on Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena, and apparently avoided setbacks, because he practiced again on Wednesday. He and Linus Ullmark were the only two goalies at practice, signifying that Swayman is at least healthy enough to play in the event that Ullmark cannot.
However, based on the reporting out of Brighton, it appears that the B’s will continue to take it relatively slow with Swayman’s return to game action.
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So, Ullmark appears to be in line to get the start when the Bruins return Thursday night to face the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden. Swayman DID lead “briefly” the post-practice stretch, though, according to Kevin Paul Dupont. But head coach Jim Montgomery indicated to reporters that he’s leaning Ullmark for Thursday, despite Swayman being able to play if needed.
So while things appear just fine with Swayman at the moment, it seems the soonest he will start again is Saturday, at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Swayman spoke to reporters for the first time since his injury after practice on Tuesday. Like the Bruins themselves, he’s staying patient.
“I’m gonna do everything I can to be game-ready, but I trust the medical staff here,” Swayman said. “[Player Rehabilitation Manager] Scotty Waugh, everything he says, I’m doing to the best of my ability, and I’m gonna do everything I can to get back as soon as possible in a game.”
Nov 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (left) replaces goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) in the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
It certainly helps that the Bruins don’t need to have much urgency to get Swayman back on the ice, due to the team’s hot start in goal. Ullmark would win the Vezina Trophy if the season ended today, as he leads the league in goals against average (1.96), save percentage (.936), and wins (11). He’s 4-1 with a .942 save percentage in five games since the night Swayman was injured against the Penguins.
Furthermore, because just about everything is going the Bruins’ way these days, third-stringer Keith Kinkaid stopped 30 of 31 shots in his first spot-start of the season, a 3-1 road win over the Buffalo Sabres. It’s been that kind of start for the B’s, who boast the league’s best record (14-2), point percentage (.875), and goal differential (plus-30) entering Wednesday.
🎥 Jeremy Swayman on returning to practice: “Really excited to be back with these guys…I’m going to do everything I can to be game ready, but I trust the medical staff here. [Manager of Player Rehabilitation] Scotty Waugh, everything he says I’m doing to the best of my ability." pic.twitter.com/K0o6z1dmWT
It’s quite the luxury for Montgomery and the Bruins to have a talented young goaltender ready to play, but still be able to bring him along slowly while the team continues to chug along. And this has all been despite Swayman getting off to a bit of a rough start to the season in the first place. Imagine what the team will look like once he turns it around.
“I couldn’t be in better hands,” Swayman said. “I feel so fortunate to be a part of this organization. Just the care that these guys have for their players, it means a lot as a player and it extends throughout all my teammates and stuff. It was a pretty special thing. So, I couldn’t be happier to be back.”
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.