Bruins

Bruins' Charlie McAvoy appears close to return

Bruins' Charlie McAvoy appears close to return

BRIGHTON -- Charlie McAvoy skated on his own for the second day in a row ahead of Bruins practice and continues to be on track for an imminent return from a foot injury suffered blocking a shot in the final game before the Christmas break.

The second-year defenseman will have to get through a full practice with the team before a timetable for a potential return can be determined, but the B's practice on Wednesday and it's possible McAvoy could be back as soon as later this week. It's progress for a player who’s already missed 25 games this season due to injuries.

The Tuesday pre-practice skate was a fairly rigorous one and it looked like McAvoy was certainly feeling better, so that's all good news. 

“Our next practice [on Wednesday] would be a pretty good determiner because then the contact comes in," said coach Bruce Cassidy. "And then you’re a little more alive [in game conditions] than in a pregame skate."

Tuukka Rask will be the starting goaltender against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, and it looked like Colby Cave and Steve Kampfer will once again be the healthy scratches up front.

Here are the B’s projected line combos and D-pairings based on Monday’s practice and Tuesday’s optional morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena:

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Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Backes

Kuraly-Acciari-Wagner

Heinen-JFK-Donato

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Chara-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

Krug-Moore

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Rask

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Julian Edelman has dinner with David Pastrnak, Sean Kuraly, Charlie McAvoy

Julian Edelman has dinner with David Pastrnak, Sean Kuraly, Charlie McAvoy

It looks like Julian Edelman is enjoying his offseason by hanging out with a few of his friends from the black and gold. 

David Pastrnak, Sean Kuraly, and Charlie McAvoy joined Edelman for dinner at Monica's Trattoria in the North End before their matchup with the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

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Oh, and did we mention some members of the Golden Knights were there ahead of their Tuesday night clash with the Bruins? Talk about a popular restaurant.

It's always nice to see members of the Boston teams intermingle, especially when it brings guys like Edelman and Pastrnak together. We just have one question, though... did Pastrnak order the pasta?

Haggerty: These blown leads are concerning

 

Positive news for Kevan Miller as he skates on his own for first time

Positive news for Kevan Miller as he skates on his own for first time

The Bruins got some encouraging health news this week as injured B’s defenseman Kevan Miller was able to skate on his own for 15 minutes Sunday at Warrior Ice Arena while the rest of the team was in Pittsburgh.

The 32-year-old Miller has been out all season while trying to return from two different kneecap injuries suffered last season that kept him out of the entire postseason and limited him to just three games since the beginning of March. Miller underwent a procedure to assist in the healing process last month when he underwent a setback while trying to return earlier this season, so Sunday’s twirl was his first chance to get back on the ice and skate.

For a player that hasn’t played in almost a year now like Miller, any news is good news.

“That’s step one,” said Bruce Cassidy. “That’s a positive.”

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Certainly, it’s good news, but it’s also the very beginning of a recovery process that Miller has already experienced setbacks to a couple of times. Given the normal timetable for players just returning to the ice from an injury, it would be at least 7-10 days before Miller would be anywhere close to returning to game action.

The Bruins will have their All-Star break and bye week over the next 10 days, so it would be at least a few weeks before Miller would be ready to return barring the kind of setbacks that have plagued him since suffering the kneecap injuries.

It remains very much an uphill battle for the rugged D-man in the last year of his contract with the Bruins, but he’s also a tough-minded player that the B’s have absolutely missed during last year’s playoff run and this season. Some of the perceived ability to push these Bruins players around on the ice is because they don’t have the hardnosed 6-foot-2, 210-pound Miller out there to protect his teammates.

Given Zdeno Chara’s age and Charlie McAvoy’s inconsistency this season, Brandon Carlo has ably carried a very heavy load for the Bruins as a big-bodied shutdown defenseman that’s playing big minutes and in all situations for the Black and Gold. Adding Miller to the Bruins group would Carlo some company in the tough guy category and would also limit the amount of ice time they have to give to John Moore, who has been inconsistent for the Black and Gold since returning from shoulder surgery last month.

Haggerty: B's blown leads are concerning