BOSTON, MA - Daniel Paille participated in the Bruins' optional skate at TD Garden on Monday before the team traveled to Detroit for Games 3 and 4, with the series tied at 1-1.
The forward hasn't been in the lineup since the Bruins' second to last regular season game against Buffalo on April 12. His first time back on the ice since that game was Friday morning at TD Garden, before Game 1, when he skated apart from the team.
"It’s a day-to-day process," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters Monday at TD Garden, while his team hit the ice for an optional. "I’m just waiting to hear when those guys — Dan Paille’s out there right now skating, so that’s the right direction, but we’ll have to go about our injuries just like we normally would: in a safe and proper manner."
There has been no further update on Chris Kelly (back), who has been out since suitin up on April 8 against the Wild in Minnesota.
As is the usual protocol, any player out of the lineup would normally participate in full practices with the team before getting back into game action.
"Absolutely. I think there’s, again, a certain route you have to take," said Julien, of the process. "And it’s no different than — we talked about Matt Bartkowski being out for that long and being sick. We have to allow him to skate a little bit and get himself back into, I guess, into the groove of things before you throw him into a game. So I don’t see those guys [Paille, Kelly] being much, much different."
The flu bug originally hit the Bruins around the final weekend of regular season games. It forced Kevan Miller to miss Game 1 and Bartkowski has now missed the first two games of the series as he recovers.
Bartkowski joined practice for the first time all week on Saturday, and participated in Monday's optional skate.
Miller was able to return for Game 2. From what he said following Sunday's game, it took the defenseman all week to start "actually functioning as a human being again" and start gaining back his strength.
"It was tough, it started really early in the week and kind of persisted," said Miller. "So I know it was the same for a number of guys, and me and Bart seemed to have it pretty bad."
The team may not have started the series at 100 percent, but it's playoff time, and no team is 100 percent.
When asked on Monday if there were still players fighting through the virus, Julien said, "Well, without getting into too many details, I think it’s just a matter of 'do those guys have the energy that is required to be at 100 percent?' You know, some of those guys had it and it’s kind of going away but it doesn’t mean that they are at 100 percent. That’s part of playoff hockey, you have to play through those things."
"You expect the players to work hard through it and our doctors and trainers are doing the best they can to help these guys get better. So, again, it’s just part of the process that you have to overcome at this time of the year because there is no looking back."
When it comes to the group as a whole, Julien had offered this on Sunday following the Bruins' 4-1 win: "All our guys are going to travel with us [to Detroit] - that's the one things I can tell you."