Daniel Paille was on the ice skating for the third straight day in his recovery from a concussion sustained on Sunday, March 9, in Florida against the Panthers.
"We felt it was a real minor concussion, but you know, protocol is what it is, and you have to respect that," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien had said after Paille had first returned to the ice on Wednesday in Montreal. "And right now, he’s just going through the stages and is doing very well."
He's missed two games while going through the proper concussion protocol, but has had no setbacks in his quick progression. While there were only seven Bruins on the ice for the optional skate on Friday (including goalie Chad Johnson), Paille took contact with them.
Right when the Bruins forward got off the ice in Wilmington, he met with media for the first time since being deemed out with the minor concussion. At that time, he had not yet been cleared for game action, but was meeting with doctors later in the day.
He was originally projected for a possible return to game action this Saturday, as the Bruins host the Carolina Hurricanes in a 1:00 p.m. matinee at TD Garden.
"Dan's still looking good. I think the decision will be made after today [Friday]," said Julien. "He's taken some contact and everything else, but it's looking positive so we'll know later, probably today."
Some may say no concussion is "minor," but Paille has felt like himself the entire week.
Comparatively, the forward missed seven games with his first concussion of the season sustained back in December. A major concussion like the one suffered by Loui Eriksson resulted in serious symptoms and kept him sidelined for more than a month.
"I feel pretty good. I mean, this whole week, I just felt normal, I felt the same," Paille said following Friday's skate. "I didn't feel any symptoms really; it was more of the way it looked, taking precaution. And it's better to be safe than sorry, so I just kind of followed the caution and made sure I was 100 percent, and after a few days, there was nothing."
The hit came on Paille's first shift of the game against Florida, when he tried to cut back as Ed Jovanovski was coming at him along the boards.
"You take chances on being vulnerable there," he said. "Usually I'm a little bit better at protecting myself…It's something I need to be more aware of - I usually am - but you know, I think I'll definitely learn going forward on certain plays I want to do, to not take it too lightly."
Following the hit, Julien said the doctors were taking the precautionary approach in keeping Paille out of the rest of the game.
The fact that he hasn't had symptoms, but it still going day-by-day through the necessary protocol, further exemplifies that approach.
"You know, obviously this is my second one this year," said Paille. "I remembered everything and the process with having any other symptoms wasn't there."
"Obviously, I knew I couldn't play, but I felt good enough to play if I had to, but obviously talking to doctors, and when I was in Florida, they just made the right call, to make it precautionary."
"There's just about a month left in the season, and a push for the playoffs, so there was really no reason to push it at that point. But again, from the beginning, to the next day, I felt like nothing was wrong with me, but I understand the process to it."
Even though he felt fine, he still made sure to take the team's three days in Florida to get his proper rest.
"I know that I did everything I could to make sure I was 100 percent, especially going through the last one, and I think this part has been definitely an easier transition compared to last time," said Paille.
"To this point, I've done everything that's been asked and haven't had any issues, so I'm feeling a lot better, haven't had any setbacks, so that's a really good sign."
After missing the team's two subsequent games against Montreal and Phoenix, Paille was optimistic about a return on Saturday.
"I should be hopefully I'm cleared. I'm not quite there yet, but my chances I'd like to think are positive," he said. "If I do get cleared and they decide to play me, that's great, but as of right now, I'll talk to a couple of people and hopefully find out some good news."