By Danny Picard
WILMINGTON -- Milan Lucic and Andrew Ference were not present at Bruins practice on Friday afternoon at Ristuccia Arena, but Mark Stuart was back skating with the team after participating in Thursday's morning skate.
Lucic has missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury, and coach Claude Julien said after Friday's practice that he's "day-to-day" after skating prior to the team's practice session.
Julien said Lucic is "questionable" for Saturday afternoon's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the TD Garden, but after that is expecting some good news because the power forward is "progressing well," according to the Bruins' coach.
Ference never returned for the third period of Thursday night's game against the Flyers, and he is also questionable for Saturday. Julien said the defenseman was dealing with an "upper body" injury and is "day-to-day."
"Ference is very questionable for Saturday, but after that, we're hoping it's minor enough that we'll see him back soon," said Julien after Friday's practice.
"Lucic is obviously another guy who's going to be questionable for Saturday, but I think after that we can expect hopefully some good news, because he's progressing well," said the B's coach.
Emergency call-up Matt Bartkowski was one of seven defensemen at Friday's practice, with Stuart (hand) being a full participant.
Julien said after practice that Stuart still hasn't been cleared to play, medically.
"He's been cleared to practice, but he hasn't been medically cleared to play," said Julien. "So it's certainly not my decision right now, as we speak."
Stuart, whose latest hand x-rays showed his fractured finger to be "progressing really well," said that he didn't have any restrictions on Friday, and that his hand has healed enough to play in a game.
"I believe it is, but that's not up to me," said Stuart.
"That's Stuey being Stuey," said Julien. "He'd play with a broken arm if you let him. That's the kind of person he is . . . That's just a player who's anxious to want to get back. But we respect him for that, because that's the kind of guy he is. He'll do whatever it takes to play, and then to be a part of this team."
Blake Wheeler hit the ice in pain midway through Friday's practice, forcing the Bruins' medical staff to run over with towels, as Wheeler held his face.
He said after the practice that he took a Daniel Paille wrist shot off the cheek bone.
"It crippled me pretty quick,' said Wheeler. "Now I know what it's like to be a boxer."
There was no blood after the fact, making his "hitting the deck" practice act a little embellished.
Teammate David Krejci gave Wheeler a hard time after practice, and told Wheeler to show the media a small, red welt on his stomach, while poking fun at his reaction to getting the wind knocked out of him earlier in the week.
"You'll probably be a game-time decision for Saturday," joked Krejci.
Here's how the practice roster looked on Friday:
Ryder -- Savard -- HortonWheeler -- Krejci --SeguinMarchand -- Bergeron -- RecchiPaille -- Campbell -- ThorntonChara, Seidenberg, Boychuk, Stuart, Kampfer, McQuaid, and Bartkowski on the blue line.Thomas -- Rask
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.