BOSTON, MA - Chris Kelly is set to make his return to the lineup against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night after missing 22 games.
He broke his right fibula (calf bone) on December 7. After more than seven weeks of recovery, the centerman is more than ready.
"I'm going to play tonight, and I'm excited, first game back in a while, it's almost like training camp again, it's an exciting time," he said a few hours before puck drop at TD Garden.
BostonBruins.com - The Bruins are not usually dialed in to upcoming offensive milestones. Often, they are informed after the fact.
They then take in the moment, and appreciate the accomplishment.
But when Zdeno Chara scored to put the Bruins up 6-3 over the New York Islanders Monday night on Long Island, recording his 500th NHL point in the process, there was a visible happiness from the always intense captain as he threw his arms up in the air.
"The win is obviously big. We knew we were facing a really good team, and a team that is battling for the playoffs, so they gave us basically a good challenge," Chara said following the win that gave the Bruins their third straight victory. "And we were very fortunate to score some goals and control the game at the end."
Chara's goal gave his team full control in the third period. Dougie Hamilton gave the puck to Brad Marchand, who did the work along the boards to maintain puck possession and feed it up to Chara at the right point.
The defenseman did the rest, wristing the puck on net, where it bounced off of goalie Kevin Poulin's blocker and in. Chara's fists pumped towards the rafters, as Marchand, Hamilton, Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith all gathered 'round.
It was his 12th goal of the season, the 156th of his career, and point No. 500.
BostonBruins.com - While Chris Kelly is getting closer to his return to the lineup, that moment is not coming Monday night on Long Island.
The Bruins' game against the New York Islanders marks the centerman's 22nd out of the lineup, after recovering from his broken right fibula (calf bone) suffered back on December 7.
"He's not going to go tonight. We made that decision and I think as far as his injury is concerned, he's healed so probably a possibility for tomorrow [Tuesday]," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said on Monday morning, prior to facing the Isles.
Kelly has taken part in two practices with contact, and skated Monday morning during the team's optional skate at the Nassau Coliseum.
The Bruins' game in New York begins a back-to-back, with them next hosting the Florida Panthers Tuesday night at TD Garden, followed by the Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and Saturday.
UNIONDALE, NY - The Bruins face the New York Islanders Monday night in the teams' third and final meeting of the season.
The previous two didn't go the Bruins' way. But the Black & Gold are in a much different position than they were for those matchups; they've found stability.
Back on November 2, the Bruins dropped a 3-1 loss to the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. They were marred in an an inconsistent stretch, and Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien wanted a higher compete level from his team.
When the Islanders visited TD Garden on New Year's Eve, the Bruins jumped out to a 3-1 lead, before New York powered back to a 5-3 win with four power-play goals.
"I just think we didn't come out and play well," said Julien, of a common thread between those games.
"I don't think we played our best against them and I think that's going to be the challenge, is to come out there and play our game, and come out and play the way we can play, and hopefully see a difference there in the outcome."
UNIONDALE, NY - As the Bruins were preparing to practice at the Nassau Coliseum Sunday afternoon on Long Island, Zdeno Chara would not be joining them on the ice.
"Maintenance day, day off for him," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "He's a big man, he needs some time off - in our minds, not in his mind, but in our minds - so every once in a while, we force him to stay off."
'Big Zee' has averaged 25:04 in ice time per game this season. He often slides over the boards for close to 29 shifts a game. That workload increases depending on the matchup, other defensemen in the Bruins' lineup, and situations on the ice.
He's only missed one game this season with an undisclosed injury.
The Captain likes being on the ice with his teammates.
"Ah, he's getting used to it now," smiled Julien, when asked if Chara fights the decision for him to rest his skating legs. "He hasn't won a fight yet so when I tell him to stay off, he's getting the message now."
The 20-year-old Hamilton, in his second NHL season, has still only played 76 career games, but is quickly becoming a "veteran" on the Bruins' less experienced back end since the loss of Dennis Seidenberg, and amidst injury woes for Adam McQuaid.
On Saturday in Philadelphia, Hamilton returned to the Bruins' lineup after missing four games while recovering from his first concussion. Boston skated to a 6-1 rout of the Flyers.
The defenseman logged 18:55 in ice time, spending 2:25 of that on the power play, getting three shots through and blocking two shots. He ended the game with a +1 rating.
But it's not Hamilton's stat line that matters.
"Well, there's a guy that has been with us now for a year, and he does have some experience," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, of the options Hamilton's return gives the blueline.
"He's really calm with the puck and makes good plays, moves the puck extremely well so it was good."
PHILADELPHIA - In the visiting team locker room at the Wells Fargo Center, following the Bruins' 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon, Head Coach Claude Julien finished up speaking with reporters.
Tuukka Rask, clad in his suit, was patiently waiting in front of the stalls on the other side of the room.
Once Julien's media availability ended, the bench boss laughed. "The more important guy's over there, guys," he gestured over to his netminder with a smile.
Rask had pulled off a 25-save performance in the win, and seemingly effortless games like this for the goalie often mean a strong effort in front of him.
And that's exactly what produced a smiling Julien postgame: a team effort that ended with the Black & Gold's second six-goal game of the season.
"Yeah, it was great," Rask told the gathered reporters who had shifted to him. "Really kept it going the whole 60 minutes. I think the first period was the most even, both teams had chances, and we ended up scoring. And the good thing is, that we never let our guard down, we just kept pushing and getting more goals."
The news came from Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien on Friday, January 24, following the team's practice at Ristuccia Arena.
The Bruins next head to Philadelphia to begin a two-game road trip, first facing off against the Flyers on Saturday afternoon, before traveling to New York to face the Islanders on Monday. Hamilton and Kelly are both making the trip.
Hamilton has missed four games out of the lineup recovering from a concussion, while Kelly has been sidelined for the past 20 games while rehabbing a broken right fibula (calf bone) he sustained back on December 7.
Now, it's a matter of the players being in game-shape, before jumping back into the lineup. For Kelly, that process could be a bit longer than for Hamilton, given the greater amount of time sidelined.
WILMINGTON, MA - The Bruins were back to work on Thursday morning at Ristuccia Arena, after two days off amidst a rare four days hiatus from game action.
There were also welcome additions to practice.
Chris Kelly, who has been skating for a few weeks now, joined the Bruins at practice for the first time since suffering a broken right fibula back on December 7 against Pittsburgh. He skated in the third line gray jersey, along with Carl Soderberg, Loui Eriksson and Ryan Spooner.
"He's going to make the trip," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien following the skate. The Bruins head to Philadelphia on Friday, in advance of their two-game road trip against the Flyers on Saturday and the New York Islanders on Monday.
"I don't know when he's going to be back. Hopefully, within the week," said Julien, of any timetable on his return. "He's been cleared to practice. Today wasn't full contact for him but I think he's going to progress hopefully quickly and we'll see where he is by that time."
As for where Kelly would slot back into the lineup, Julien stayed along the mantra of crossing that bridge when he comes to it.
"He's going to make the road trip with us. When is he going to play? When I'm told that he's been cleared, and then when that comes, we'll make that decision," he said.
WATERTOWN, MA - A hockey player's senses are always tested.
Here's how it goes: close your eyes. Now imagine playing goalie, with no sight.
On Wednesday, January 22, with the Bruins amidst four days off from game action, the two Bruins visited Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA, and played "goal ball" with the students.
Perkins School, established more than 180 years ago, was the first school for the blind in the United States.
"Goal Ball" is geared towards blind and vision-impaired athletes, and consists of rolling a ball with bells inside that allows the players to use the sound to determine where it is. The objective is to roll the ball into the opposing goal. Stopping the ball usually involves sliding on your side once you judge it's just close enough.
Iginla and Smith wore dark goggles that made them a part of the group, relying on every sense, without being able to see.
"Good luck, you're going to need it!" was the message to the duo before heading out onto the gym floor.