On Monday, Chris Kelly skated prior to practice for the first time since suffering a broken ankle in early December — but B’s head coach Claude Julien said not to read too much into it.
“He started skating a few days ago last week,” Julien said, per CSNNE.com. “He just started skating on his own. He’s not close to returning here. We’re not talking days here. There is still lots of time for him to heal. It’s more about getting him to stay positive.
“It’s a frustrating injury that’s going to take a while.”
Kelly suffered the broken ankle on a Pascal Dupuis slash on Dec. 7. He was given a 4-6 week window for a return to action and, having already missed 16 games, appears to be inching closer and closer to a return. According to CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, it’s possible Kelly could get back into the lineup by the end of next week, though he still requires medical clearance and at least a few practices with the B’s.
The 33-year-old Kelly had three goals and seven points through 29 games this year, and was one of Boston’s top penalty-killing forwards prior to getting hurt.
The Boston Bruins haven’t had Loui Eriksson and Shawn Thornton in the lineup since Dec. 7, but they’ll get both of them back against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.
It’s odd that the two forwards sat out the same 15 games, as Thornton served a suspension for confronting Brooks Orpik, whose hit concussed Eriksson.
The Bruins managed decently without the duo at first, but with losses in four of six and their defense ailing and/or having twins, their return will be welcomed that much more.
Eriksson, 28, has suffered through an injury-ravaged debut season with the Bruins, scoring 14 points in the 28 games he managed to play. Thornton, 36, may very well be in his last campaign with the Bruins. He said that he doesn’t want to change the way he plays despite that stern reprimand from the league.
The Bruins sent Justin Florek down to the AHL to make room for the two forwards.
Bruins coach Claude Julien had some stern words for his team after last night’s 4-2 loss in Los Angeles.
“It took us almost a period-and-a-half to get going here,” Julien said, per CSN New England. “We spotted them a 3-0 lead. Puck management, missed assignments . . . those kinds of things are going to end up costing you. We’re getting exposed in those areas right now [and] we’re going to [have to] get better.
“We definitely could use more from our team, from the goaltender on out. We need big saves; we need our guys to manage the puck better. The mistakes that we’re making are very costly. Everybody needs to be a little better. We didn’t get much from our top two lines tonight, and you need that if you’re going to win some hockey games. They were pretty quiet.”
Last night’s loss was the Bruins’ fourth in the six games they’ve played since defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was lost for the season with a torn ACL/MCL in his right knee.
That certainly won’t quell the speculation that general manager Peter Chiarelli will try to land an experienced d-man prior to the March 5 trade deadline. (The Rangers’ Dan Girardi is reportedly a possibility.)
Boston takes on the Sharks in San Jose tomorrow night.
Related: Bruins’ Rask pulled in second period against Kings