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Kelly Returns to Practice, Chara and Warsofsky Skate, Pastrnak Gets Look with Bergeron Line

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

WILMINGTON, Mass. - Chris Kelly was back practicing with the Bruins on Wednesday morning at Ristuccia Arena.

The alternate captain missed the past two games with an undisclosed injury. It was his first time back skating with the team since he sustained the injury in Columbus on November 21.

When asked about the injury, Kelly could confirm it wasn't related to his back (a herniated disc in his lower back kept him out of the 2014 postseason and caused him to have offseason back surgery), or his head.

"I think we thought [it was] better to be on the cautious side of things," Kelly said following practice. "It was exactly kind of how we thought it would be. And it felt good today, and we'll see how it feels again [on Thursday]."

When pressed about what he 'thought' the injury was, Kelly jested, "I thought it was 'hurt feelings,'" before designating it as "upper-body."

"He was only light contact, so I'll see how our medical staff evaluates him here in the next few days and we'll take it day-by-day," said Head Coach Claude Julien.

With Kelly back, David Krejci was the lone Bruins forward missing from Wednesday's practice.

After a step back in dealing with his undisclosed injury, Krejci is probably unlikely to suit up in Friday's game against the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden. Anything could happen, but he hasn't skated with the team since the game against St. Louis on November 18.

Krejci has missed three straight games, and nine of the past 11.

"No procedures for him, guys, I can tell you that much," Julien confirmed on Wednesday, when asked by a reporter to clarify how Krejci's situation was getting "fixed."

"Get the situation fixed so he's not in and out, in and out [of the lineup]," said Julien.

Chara, Warsofsky Skate

Captain Zdeno Chara skated again on Wednesday morning, spending nearly a half hour on the ice with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides and David Warsofsky, who is also recovering from injury.

Chara has been out since suffering a tear in the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) of his left knee on October 23. The original projected timetable was four to six weeks.

Warsofsky sustained his groin injury on November 6, with a timetable of two to four weeks.

"It is positive to see guys getting better, not only for the team, but for them as well," Kelly said. "It's discouraging times when you get injured, so it's always nice to see guys making progress and getting better."

"You know, injuries are part of it, and I thought we handled ourselves pretty well, considering the guys who have been out of our lineup are key guys, so it's given guys an opportunity to go out and they've played extremely well and that's good to see."

In addition to Chara and Warsofsky, defenseman Adam McQuaid remains out six to eight weeks with a broken thumb suffered on November 18.

Pastrnak Gets Look with Bergeron Line

Wednesday's practice saw two new-look lines, as David Pastrnak remains with the big club and Seth Griffith is back with the team after being recalled to Boston on Tuesday's off day.

Griffith practiced alongside Chris Kelly, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser, with the wingers rotating. A natural left shot but a right winger in his time with Boston, Smith skated mostly on the left wing. Griffith (right shot) and Fraser (left shot) appeared to rotate in on the right wing.

Milan Lucic, Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson remained together. The trio has been in tact for two straight games, and started to find their groove against Pittsburgh, driving the net hard.

Pastrnak got a look with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand during practice. Those three played one shift together in the third period against Pittsburgh, when the game tied at 2-2. They created three solid scoring chances, with Pastrnak feeding Marchand with a perfect dish in front before Marc-Andre Fleury pokechecked the puck away from danger.

Putting Pastrnak in Smith's usual spot will give Julien and the Bruins' brass a better indication of what Pastrnak is capable of right now at the NHL level.

Pastrnak had played most of his other five-on-five shifts with Alex Khokhlachev and Jordan Caron, who were both reassigned to Providence on Tuesday. His first NHL shift lasted only a few seconds, when he was quickly summoned back to the bench as Sidney Crosby's line hopped over the boards.

"You try not to put him in a situation that may be too much, but at the same time, he's a good player, we know he's a good player - he showed that the other night, too," said Julien. "Offensively, he's a real good player, explosive, makes plays and he's pretty dynamic, and he'll only get better, so we need to continue to give him that opportunity to grow in the right environment."

"You don't put him on the fourth line and think that he's going to become the player he is on the fourth line, and that's not a disrespect to anybody but it's more about, where does he belong? And you try and make him grow in that situation."

Whether that line sticks for Friday's game and beyond, or not, Pastrnak can take advantage of any time spent there. Bergeron knows the difficulties of an 18-year-old breaking into the NHL, and just as he guided Smith all of last season, he will rub off on Pastrnak, too.

"To [Bergeron's] credit, you put a guy like [Pastrnak] on his line, there's going to be a reliable guy who's going to help him grow," Julien said. "He was that age too when he started in Boston too and he had somebody help him along the way, so he's certainly capable of doing that now."

If Pastrnak can quickly adjust to the NHL the same way he adjusted to the AHL, he could provide a creative offensive spark to the Bruins' lineup.

"We'll have to see, right?" said Julien. "I think it has the ability to do that, but he's an 18-year-old, so let's give him a chance here and let him find his stride. And hopefully that happens, and if not, it will just be a matter of time. It eventually will happen. When? I'm not sure."

Practice Lineup 11/26

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Milan Lucic
- Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson
Reilly Smith
- Chris Kelly - Seth Griffith/Matt Fraser
Simon Gagne
- Gregory Campbell - Daniel Paille

Dennis Seidenberg - Torey Krug
Joe Morrow
- Dougie Hamilton
Matt Bartkowski
- Kevan Miller

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Niklas Svedberg

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