BOSTON - There are never any benefits to being injured, but Torey Krug may have found one with his fractured jaw this preseason.
While the injury, suffered in the Bruins second exhibition game, has sidelined him for over two weeks and forced him to miss the team's season-opening win over Nashville, Krug has still been able to keep up his conditioning - a factor that could speed up his return to game action.
"With most injuries, you can't really get out on the ice and get your legs moving and stay in shape," said Krug, who practiced as a full participant on Saturday morning for the first time since the injury.
"This is one of those things that you can and lucky enough with the skating coach [Kim Brandvold] here, obviously the gym that we have here, I was able to stay in shape and keep that conditioning level up."
Video: Torey Krug speaks to media following practice
Krug was back alongside longtime partner Adam McQuaid during Saturday's session and has not been ruled for Monday's matinee against Colorado. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said that if Krug gets through Sunday's practice, the blue liner could be a game-time decision.
"As long as I feel comfortable it's OK," said Krug. "We'll see how the weekend goes. First day of practice, there wasn't much contact, I tried to force some contact to see how it felt, but we'll see how [Sunday] goes and play it by ear.
"[It's] just about getting timing back and getting some courage in the corners to get hit again and things like that. Shouldn't be an issue once I get up to speed. But I feel pretty good right now."
Being back on the ice was a far better feeling for Krug than having to watch the B's Opening Night win from the press box.
"It's tough sitting up in the stands, even when your team's winning, you want to be a part of it, you want to help contribute," said Krug. "Obviously you see the excitement, you see the pace that we were playing with and the speed of the young guys and you can't forget the guys that have been here the whole time putting in the work. They look good as well. I just want to get back in there and help."
Krug, who is still drinking all of his food, has been donning a clear cage on his helmet and will be for the foreseeable future.
"Used to it now for sure," said Krug. "Like I said the other day, it doesn't matter if I'm used to it or not. I've had plenty of skates to get used to it and get comfortable."
Czarnik Back, Too
Austin Czarnik, on injured reserve with an illness, also returned to practice Saturday, centering Matt Beleskey and Frank Vatrano. Like Krug, his playing status for Monday could be a game-time decision.
"Feeling better. I was cleared for practice today. As for Monday, we don't know yet," said Czarnik, who thinks he may have caught a virus from his brother during the team's preseason visit to Detroit. "I'm just trying to get better every single day. Some type of virus that took over…tough couple days for me. But I'm staring to feel good. I thought today was really good, skated the last two days and felt all right, but today was the best day so far. Definitely getting stronger out there and getting my health back. I'm excited for it."
The illness struck at an unfortunate time for Czarnik, who was one of the Bruins best and most consistent players during training camp.
"It's frustrating," said Czarnik. "But you can't control what happens with your body with that, you just catch it. I'm gonna try to build off it now and come back just as strong as I was."
Video: Austin Czarnik speaks to media following practice
Bergeron Goes Solo
Patrice Bergeron did not take part in Saturday's session, but he did skate on his own before practice with Brandvold. His playing status for Monday afternoon has not yet been determined.
"We're going to reassess in the morning [on Sunday]," said Cassidy. "The more time he misses practice, the more doubtful it looks. But we'll see how he is tomorrow."
Noel Acciari will miss approximately six weeks after undergoing surgery for a fractured left index finger, suffered during the season opener against Nashville when the burly winger blocked a shot from P.K. Subban early in the second period.
"He gives some flavor to the bottom of the lineup in terms of physicality, chemistry with [Riley] Nash," said Cassidy. "Plays a straight-line game. Him, [Tim] Schaller, [Sean] Kuraly…hard to play against line with some ability to chip in offensively. We're trying to grow his game on the penalty kill, as well, and try to work him in.
"That's a tough one, he's a guy that will put himself in harm's way at a moment's notice. A little bit of bad luck again…he's had a few of those. But he's a tough guy and he'll be back. He'll be missed."
With Acciari and David Backes out for an extended period and Bergeron still day-to-day, Cassidy is being forced to juggle his penalty killing pairings. Right now, the only tandem in tact is Riley Nash and Tim Schaller.
"Beleskey will get a few more reps on the PK… Spooner's done it," said Cassidy. "We'll have to do it by committee. Kuraly, we're really trying to build that into his game."
The Bruins killed five of seven penalties on Thursday against Nashville, with the Predators' two power-play goals coming in the final two minutes of the game with their net empty.
"Our PK was very good early. We were victimized late, but some of that was 6-on-3," said Cassidy. "I thought it was timely special teams. We got a shorthanded goal. I thought, overall, they gave us what we needed. On paper, it won't look great, but I thought they were very good."
Saturday's Practice Lines
Brad Marchand - Ryan Spooner - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Anders Bjork
Tim Schaller - Sean Kuraly - Riley Nash
Matt Beleskey - Austin Czarnik - Frank Vatrano
Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo
Kevan Miller - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
Matt Grzelcyk - Paul Postma