Bruins

Horton cleared for contact by team doctors

722780.jpg

Horton cleared for contact by team doctors

BOSTON -- Its not inaccurate to say that a healthy portion of Bostons offensive forecast for next season is riding on the good health of Nathan Horton.

Its been nothing but good news for the top-line right winger all summer-long, and that trend continued on Tuesday as Peter Chiarelli announced that Horton has been cleared for contact by the Bruins medical staff.

Chiarelli confirmed that both Horton and Adam McQuaid have sufficiently recovered from their season-ending concussions, and that Tyler Seguin remains ahead of schedule after undergoing surgery for a problematic knuckle on his left hand.

Horton has been cleared for contact and our medical staff says hes hell ready to go when we start playing, said Chiarelli. McQuaid has already been fully cleared medically. Seguin is coming along according to schedule if not even ahead of that.

Horton suffered his second concussion in seven months when he went down after absorbing a Tom Sestito blind side hit against the Philadelphia Flyers in January, and missed the final 36 games of the regular season along with the playoffs. The Bruins went a pedestrian 18-16-2 during those 36 games and dropped an entire goal in their goals per game production without the offensively adept winger.

The uncertainty surrounding Horton has been one of the biggest challenges for the Bruins during this summer. If healthy he gives them a 25-goal scorer and capable offensive player that was clearly missing during their first round playoff loss to the Washington Capitals, but Horton would again leave a gaping hole if he suffered another concussion or had a recurrence of his post-concussion symptoms once the NHL gets going in the fall.

Thats why the Bruins GM alluded to potentially improving the team via trades once the season is underway, even if there are no blockbuster moves made during the summer months. The Bruins can evaluate just how fully Horton will be able to contribute after watching him operate on the first line for a few months next season. Then they can make a determination on the right winger as he comes into the final year of his contract before unrestricted free agency.

Rask out tonight as he recovers from practice collision

bruins-tuukka-rask-032316.jpg

Rask out tonight as he recovers from practice collision

BRIGHTON, Mass – The string of injuries for the Bruins continues as Tuukka Rask (upper body) is out for tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden after getting trucked by Anders Bjork in practice Wednesday.

Rask was wobbly-legged while being helped off the ice after the violent collision and the 21-year-old Bjork looked like he’d also needed a couple of stitches on his chin after bloodying his practice jersey.

MORE:

The big concern is Rask still being evaluated by Bruins medical personnel for a possible concussion. It will be Anton Khudobin stepping in place for him against the Canucks with Providence Bruins netminder Zane McIntyre serving as his backup.

“Tuukka is out tonight. He’s going to get reevaluated today and we’ll have a better idea tomorrow,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Anton will start [against the Canucks].”

Clearly, Khudobin didn’t like seeing his goaltending partner get drilled in a spirited practice, but the 32-year-old is clearly feeling confident after a strong camp and a winning season debut last week against the Arizona Coyotes.

“You don’t want to see that, but at the same time we’ve got to keep moving forward and hopefully he’s going to get better soon,” said Khudobin, who stopped 29-of-31 shots in the win over Arizona last weekend. “I feel good. Camp was good and everything is fine, and I’ve started better than last year. My role is just day-to-day. Today is a game day and hopefully, you get a good result, and then tomorrow is another new day.”

Otherwise, it looks like the Bruins will at least be getting some of their healthy bodies back with David Backes in the lineup and Patrice Bergeron a game-time decision against the Canucks. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings based on Wednesday’s practice:

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork
DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak
Schaller-Kuraly-Backes
Beleskey-Nash-Agostino
 
Chara-McAvoy
Miller-Carlo
Krug-McQuaid

Khudobin 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE