UNIONDALE, NY - It was a welcome sight Saturday morning, when Loui Eriksson joined the Bruins on the ice for their pregame skate at Nassau Coliseum before facing the New York Islanders.
After traveling with the B's to Long Island, it marked the first time that Eriksson skated with his teammates since suffering a concussion in the game against Buffalo on October 23, in which he left the third period after an illegal check to the head by Sabres forward John Scott.
On Friday, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien had said that Eriksson had passed his exertion test, which clears a player to begin working out following a concussion.
The winger did not take contact during the morning skate in New York. When the B's began battling drills, he worked on stickhandling between the bluelines, before Julien called him over to join in for a few circuits, though with a strict "don't hit Loui" rule.
Getting cleared for contact will be the next step in Eriksson's recovery. Right now, there appear to be no setbacks in the process.
"He’s just skating with the team for the first time there; no contact. Just kind of, again, going step by step," Julien told reporters following the skate. "That’s basically where he is right now, so you keep your fingers crossed that there’s no setbacks and he keeps going forward."
Still, it's a great sign and a morale boost for Eriksson and his teammates to see him joining in.
"It’s always encouraging because you never know with concussions, how long they can last," said Julien. "We’ve seen different types and some that last for a long time and some that they never come back."
The concussion recovery paths of Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard have been well-chronicled with the B's, and others like Brad Marchand and former Bruin Nathan Horton went through their own bouts of concussion in Black & Gold.
"So to see him out there and continuing to progress is encouraging for us, but again, we’re not out of the woods yet until he’s cleared to play."
"It’s awesome to see him out and feeling good and back skating," added alternate captain Chris Kelly. "I think he’s pretty pleased and we’re happy to see him."
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