Both forwards practiced with the team Monday at Ristuccia Arena.
The skate marked Krejci’s first with his teammates since he suffered an upper-body injury on Dec. 27 in a collision with the Senators’ Bobby Ryan in Ottawa. He has missed the Bruins’ past nine games and remains on Injured Reserve. His status is day-to-day.
“It’s nice to see him out there,” said Head Coach Claude Julien. “You know, both Davids are back in there, so it was nice to see those guys.”
Pastrnak has been out for the last three games with an upper-body injury. He was on the ice for the Bruins’ pregame skate on Friday, but Monday marked his first full practice back with the team as well. Like Krejci, he is day-to-day.
Post-practice on Monday, Julien was not sure how close Krejci is to returning.
“Don’t know,” said the bench boss. “Really don’t know. We talk about day-to-day, so we have look at it that way. [The trainers will] let us know here as we get closer, but first day of skating for him and for David [Pastrnak], for the most part, jumping back in with us.”
Krejci had started skating on his own while the Bruins were on their long, nine-day road trip.
“It was kind of lonely here by myself, but it was good to get out there with the guys and get a real practice,” said Krejci.
“I’d like to come back as soon as possible, but this kind of injury — at this point, where I’m at now, it’s kind of day to day, so we’ll see how I feel [on Tuesday]. Hopefully better and see how it feels [Tuesday] in warmup.”
Krejci didn’t take — or give — much contact on Monday, which usually happens before an injured player makes his return.
“I need to feel 100 percent skating and 100 percent shooting,” Krejci said. “I’m getting there. But it was a good day today.”
“Today was a good practice. Lots of skating…There wasn’t much contact, so — I don’t think I hit anyone, I don’t think anyone hit me, but it was a good day,” he added.
The centerman had to deal with injuries throughout last season. He’s itching to get back, but doesn’t want to rush it.
“It’s my body, and I make the decision, so trainers tell me when I’m ready — I tell them how I feel and they tell me if that’s good enough to play,” he said. “But the decision’s on me mostly.”
The Bruins will be happy whenever they can get a healthy Krejci back into their lineup. Ryan Spooner has played his best hockey in the interim, but Krejci’s presence will provide them a much-needed boost for the second half of the season.
“They’ve been playing really hard,” Krejci said of his teammates. “Even in the games they lost, they could have gotten at least a point, so they’ve been playing well, so hopefully once I come back, I can just kind of jump in and just keep going with the guys.”
Next Up: Montreal
The Bruins head on the road having won back-to-back games on Friday in Buffalo (4-1) and on Saturday against Toronto (3-2).
They needed last-minute heroics with Torey Krug saving a goal at one end, and Brad Marchand scoring the game-winner at the other, but the two victories should give the Bruins enough confidence heading into Montreal for Tuesday night’s matchup with the Canadiens.
“I mean, we didn’t lack confidence going into Buffalo. We didn’t lack confidence going into Toronto. I think it’s more — we don’t lose confidence, we just have to right our ship every time we slip a little bit,” said Julien. “And do certain things better to turn the outcome.”
The Black & Gold appear to have gotten themselves back on track. Their three losses to the Flyers, Rangers and Senators last week were all by a slim margin. Their game has been trending upwards.
“We’ve gotten better,” said Julien. “ When you’re leading after two periods, you’re doing something good on the road and had we been able to close those two games in the third period [in Philadephia and New York], we would be talking about 11 out of the last 12 points.”
“So it’s about looking at with open eyes and realizing that the margin of error is slim and we lost four valuable points there just because we couldn’t close in the third, but it didn’t mean that our team played poorly. So it’s nice to get those couple of wins and continue to build on that.”
The last time the Bruins saw the Habs — in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 — it wasn’t pretty. Some redemption would be nice.
“There’s always something on the line,” said Julien. “Like, last game against Toronto — you know what? We can’t afford to lose those games. So there’s always something on the line and whether we want to make it bigger than others or whatever, I just go in there — I’m just looking for one thing and it’s to win, so no matter how we do it, what the reasons are, looking for a win.”
Adam McQuaid Update
Defenseman Adam McQuaid has not started skating yet, Julien told reporters on Monday.
McQuaid was injured on Jan. 5, when he took a hard hit from behind by the Washington Capitals’ Zach Sill.
Practice Lineup 1/18
Gold Jerseys: Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Brett Connolly
White: Matt Beleskey — Ryan Spooner — Loui Eriksson
Gray: Frank Vatrano — Joonas Kemppainen — Jimmy Hayes
Merlot: Zac Rinaldo — Max Talbot — Landon Ferraro
Green: Tyler Randell — David Krejci — David Pastrnak
Defense: Zdeno Chara, Zach Trotman, Joe Morow, Dennis Seidenberg, Colin Miller, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller
Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Jonas Gustavsson