The defenseman will take warmups and is a game-time decision.
“There’s a good possibility he’ll play tonight,” Head Coach Claude Julien said following Thursday’s pregame skate.
Seidenberg missed all of training camp after undergoing preseason back surgery on Sept. 24. His last game came at the end of the 2014-15 season, on April 11.
Torey Krug is also expected to take warmups and be a game-time decision. The blueliner spent the past three days off the ice “dealing with something small,” as General Manager Don Sweeney told media on Wednesday.
“He looked OK but we’re kind of reserving the right to make a game-time decision there,” Julien said Thursday morning.
If Seidenberg and Krug are in the lineup, other decisions will need to be made on the back end as well.
Seidenberg took morning rushes paired with Adam McQuaid, while Krug was paired with Kevan Miller. Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman would then be the likely scratches, as Zdeno Chara and Colin Miller have been a consistent pair. Morrow sat out the last two games as a healthy scratch while Trotman slotted back into the lineup.
Thursday marks exactly seven weeks since Seidenberg’s surgery, with his recovery time originally estimated at eight weeks.
It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see Seidenberg making his return ahead of schedule (see: 2014 playoffs).
“The guy is in great shape,” said Julien. “The medical staff has told me he was good enough to take some challenges yesterday in the physical part of it and he’s done that.”
Seidenberg engaged in more battling during Wednesday’s practice. The shooting pain he once felt down his leg as a result of the herniated disc in his back has been gone for a while. Once he began skating, his main priority was to gain power back in his leg. He feels it’s nearly there.
“I feel good,” said the defenseman. “I’m going to talk to the [trainers] later before the game and see what they think and what they want to do and then go from there.”
For this injury, there’s no real “test” to be cleared for game action.
“There’s one test that’s pretty simple, go into a toe stand and see the difference in the healthy leg and the bad leg, if you want to call it that, and that’s basically the only one besides just the way I feel on the ice,” said Seidenberg. “If I can push pressure on the foot and skate to where I want to.”
If the blueliner does suit up on Thursday night, Julien will be managing his minutes and simplifying his role. Having the last change as the home team will help.
“Right now, all Dennis has to think about if he plays tonight is just go out there and play,” said Julien. “Don’t worry about anything else.”
“He hasn’t had a training camp, so the first time he plays will be his real first game. So that’s where we have to help him out in that area. He’s an experienced player, he’s been in the league a long time so he should be able to handle that.”
It’s easy to see how much Seidenberg is itching to get into action. He’s been through this waiting game with injuries before.
“Give the guy credit,” said Julien. “He always works hard to get back, to be in top shape and he’s done that again this time.”
“It’s been a long time since last year, and just watching the guys for the last month and a half, it’s not fun,” said Seidenberg. “So having the chance maybe to play tonight is definitely something that’s more upbeat.”
Bruins Need Home Cookin’
After playing five of their previous six games on the road, the Bruins will begin a five-game home stand, which marks their longest of the season.
Their current home record sits at 1-4-1, while they are 6-2-0 on the road.
“I think we just have to bring the game from the road to home,” said Tuukka Rask, who is slated to start against Colorado on Thursday night.
“We’ve played some good hockey on the road and pretty much gave ourselves a chance to win every game on the road to a certain extent and at home, I think we’ve let down a little too much at times, so we have to fix that and keep battling at home and improve the home record.”
The Bruins are coming off of a three-day layoff without game action. After a tough road stretch of three games in four days — including their first two road losses of the season against Washington and Montreal — they should be rested, recovered and ready to go.
“Our home record has got to get better, and we’ve got a home stand here that allows us to rectify that,” said Julien. “Let’s not look too far ahead, let’s look to tonight here and get ourselves on a bit of a roll at home, and let’s work through these next five games so we can definitely improve our home record and not make this such a friendly place to come play in.”
After Colorado, the Bruins host Detroit, San Jose, Minnesota and Toronto.
Colorado Looking for Consistency
Colorado comes into Thursday night following a 4-0 shutout of Philadelphia on Tuesday night that kicked off a seven-game, 15-day road trip.
The Avs have yet to win two games in a row all season, and they’ll be looking to to do just that in Boston, considering their win over the Flyers marked their best performance thus far.
“I thought we were confident, we moved the puck well, it just felt like it was closer to the way we want to play and having that confidence is big,” former Bruin Jarome Iginla said Thursday morning. “Our young guys were flying and you could see them really get in a groove and that’s going to be big for our team.”
Iginla personally continues to have plenty of confidence. With seven goals on the season, he’s at 596 career goals and closing in on No. 600.
“I’ve said this a ton of times but when I started, I honestly didn’t think, Oh I’m going to score 600 goals, I’d see other people get to 500, 600 and you’re just like ‘oh my gosh,’” said Iginla. “But to be able to play as long as I have and to be able to play with some great playmakers, I’ve always been in good situations, get to play on the power play, and it’s a little bit surreal.”
“It’s something that, kind of playing, you just keep trying to build and play and try to score every game and whatever happens, happens, and I’ve been very fortunate to be healthy and in really good situations and it’s kind of just crept up. Time flies…definitely I feel blessed to have gotten to play as long as I have and it would be great to get to.”
Projected Lineup vs. Colorado 11/12
Matt Beleskey—Patrice Bergeron—Brett Connolly
Frank Vatrano—David Krejci—Loui Eriksson
Brad Marchand—Ryan Spooner—Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo—Joonas Kemppainen—Tyler Randell
Zdeno Chara—Colin Miller
Dennis Seidenberg—Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug—Kevan Miller
Starting Goalie: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Jonas Gustavsson
Projected Scratches (if Seidenberg and Krug play): Zach Trotman, Joe Morrow
Injured: David Pastrnak (foot)