BRIGHTON, Mass. — After missing the first two months of the regular season with his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, the return of defenseman John Moore is imminent for the Boston Bruins.
The 29-year-old Moore won’t be in the lineup against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night at TD Garden after skating with the group at morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena, but Bruce Cassidy pointed toward Thursday night against the Blackhawks as a likely spot for Moore's season debut.
Moore had an assist and a plus-2 night for the P-Bruins in his one-game LTI conditioning stint in the AHL over the weekend, and was immediately recalled with the idea that he’s just about ready to begin playing again. Needless to say, Moore was excited about playing in the American League for one game to knock the rust off, and he’s more than excited to return to the B's lineup after a lengthy six-month rehab.
“It was a long recovery. You learn a lot about yourself and you learn about who is in your fox hole. I’m really happy that there’s a shining light at the end of the tunnel for me,” said Moore, who has missed the first 27 games of the season and counting coming back from the shoulder procedure. “I have a lot of respect for guys that go through injuries and come back. That was my first major surgery. It’s hard every day when your entire goal is to raise a stick two degrees [more] over your head. To celebrate that takes a special mindset.
“It was my first hockey game in six months. I was so excited to go to the Bojangles Coliseum and play in front of 400 people. I wanted to get my feet under me. I really wanted to play and I’m really happy I did that.”
The question now becomes about what the Bruins are going to do with their current roster of eight defensemen once Moore jumps back in to most likely supplant Connor Clifton among the top-6. There’s no move that has to be made currently and it remains to be seen if an injury Tuesday night against the Hurricanes opens up a roster spot on Boston’s back end.
But with Clifton now requiring waivers after playing in his 60th NHL game, all signs point toward Steve Kampfer being the guy sent to Providence when the Bruins need to open up a roster spot among their glut of defensemen. Kampfer has played serviceably as a seventh defenseman for the last couple of seasons, but there’s much less of a chance that he’ll be snatched up on waivers rather than the young, inexpensive Clifton.
As for other health updates, Patrice Bergeron has skated on his own ahead of B’s practice the last few days and Brett Ritchie (upper body) has ditched the no-contact sweater and is ready to return when a spot opens up for him among the forward group. Jaroslav Halak will get the start on Tuesday night against the Canes for his 500th career NHL appearance.
Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings against Carolina based on Tuesday’s morning skate:
|Brad Marchand||David Krejci||David Pastrnak|
|Jake DeBrusk||Charlie Coyle||Danton Heinen|
|Anders Bjork||Sean Kuraly||David Backes|
|Joakim Nordstrom||Par Lindholm||Chris Wagner|
|Zdeno Chara||Charlie McAvoy|
|Torey Krug||Brandon Carlo|
|Matt Grzelcyk||Connor Clifton|
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