BOSTON - The Bruins are slowly but surely getting healthier and on Saturday evening they could have another core piece back in the mix. Torey Krug was a full participant in Friday morning's practice at Warrior Ice Arena and coach Bruce Cassidy termed him as 'probable' for the matchup with the Minnesota Wild.
"Trending that way," Cassidy said when asked if Krug would play. "We'll make a decision tomorrow. He's got to check in with the medical staff. He was in a normal jersey today, participated in every part of practice, so that's a good sign…I'll put him at probable, a strong probable."
Krug has missed the last five games with an upper-body injury suffered on Nov. 10 against Philadelphia. The blue liner has been pleased with his progress and believes that his biggest challenge now will be getting his timing back.
"We have a great strength and conditioning program here where we're able to keep our conditioning up - although there's nothing like actually playing in a game, try to be as close to it as possible," said Krug. "From here on out, it's just timing and getting your feet back underneath you."
Boston's leading scorer on the back end (2-11-13 in 17 games) also added that he has been impressed by the play of fellow left-shot defensemen Matt Grzelcyk, who has filled in admirably for Krug on the Bruins' second pairing and as the point man on the top power-play unit.
"He's always good," said Krug. "He's a guy that I think is undervalued on this team, maybe from an outsider's perspective. But when he's in our lineup, he changes the complexion of the back end, the way he skates, moves the puck. He's a great player for us and we're very lucky to have him."
Video: Krug talks with media following Friday's practice
Proceeding with Caution
Patrice Bergeron, who missed two games earlier this week with a lower-body injury, stayed off the ice for a maintenance day on Friday. As Bergeron admitted on Thursday prior to his return to the lineup, staying off the ice is not an easy decision.
But as his career has progressed, the 34-year-old has become more open to a cautious approach and has worked with Cassidy and the medical staff to take time when he needs it.
"I think Bergy would like to practice every day - we're mindful of it," said Cassidy. "I think before he did not want to be that guy. He's got a lot of pride, he wants to get out there and he wants to work on his game. It's twofold - he doesn't want the other guys to see him not practicing and he wants to get better.
"We've had to encourage him to do that and he's bought into it now with the help of the medical staff. They have a good feel for that."
Video: Cassidy talks about Torey Krug, gives updates
The Beat Goes On
Cassidy also provided a number of other updates on the injury front:
Par Lindholm (cut) | Did not practice, could play Saturday
"He got cut [on Thursday night] - an 18-stitch cut in the first period," said Cassidy. "Today, residual effect of that. He would have been out there, but I just don't think he was 100 percent mobile to do that. I would hope it settles down tomorrow, but I don't know to be honest with you."
Kevan Miller (knee) | Did not practice, no timetable
"A little setback, I guess," said Cassidy. "They wanted to hold him off. Don't think it's major, but again, I think from Day 1 we're being really cautious at every turn. We don't want him to go through what he went through last year. The medical staff would rather him be truly 100 percent ready, everything, checked all the boxes.
"If that takes an extra week or two on this end then that's the way we're hoping it will play out, that he's then basically as good as new when he gets out there, and off he goes."
John Moore (shoulder) | Practiced in full, still two weeks out
"He's not available at all," said Cassidy. "He's a little bit away. He's in a full jersey now, but we'll talk about him more in a couple weeks. He's not playing next week."
Brett Ritchie (infection) | Practiced, could play Saturday
"Ritchie came back much better today," said Cassidy. "Kind of an ongoing issue, hopefully we can get a solution too. Really through no fault of his own. It's fits and starts for him, hopefully we get him squared away and this takes care of itself.
"Having him out there today, we'll see if he comes in tomorrow with no residual effect and he should be good [to play]."