Wilmington, MA –
|Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) goes down along the boards next to Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Boston on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010. The Capitals won 4-1. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) |
As the Bruins headed back to practice again today, sans Olympians, they were joined by Johnny Boychuk
and Mark Stuart, who are both just days away from returning to the lineup for the first time after their injuries.
Stuart has spent almost a month on the injured reserve after suffering a broken finger on Jan. 30, and undergoing surgery two days later. The defenseman said he’s looking forward to getting back into game routine, even if the routine is at breakneck speed.
“I can’t think of a better way to come back,” he said. “You might as well jump back in and play a bunch of games. Looking at our schedule, it’s every other day. But it’s going to be fun.
“In the position you’re in, you have to win a lot of games. It’s going to feel like the playoffs I think. That’s always fun when it feels like that. I’m really looking forward to it.”Johnny Boychuk
’s injury was slightly more nerve-wracking. He suffered a fractured orbital bone after he caught a puck high in a Feb. 6 game against Vancouver.
“I knew that there was a one-timer coming, I tried to just move and shield for it, but it just caught me on the side of the melon,” he said. “I knew I got hit in the face. I didn't know where, but when I looked up I saw blood and I was very scared actually.”
After two weeks of rest and healing, both defensemen are back in game shape and classified as “day-to-day” by head coach Claude Julien.
“I think Stuey just got his cast taken off a few days ago and I don’t know what they did, but he was stick-handling better than ever so they might have done something special there with that finger, but no, he looked good.” Julien said.
|Boston Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart, left, and Philadelphia Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell fight during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Monday, Dec. 14, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) |
“And Johnny feels good. He said besides the first probably four days of the injury he’s been getting better and he felt good today.”
The days off were good and bad, according to the two injured Bruins. While the break gave them time to heal, it also gave them the itch to get back out on the ice.
“It was kind of tough to tackle mentally at first, but it was good,” Stuart said. “I didn’t miss any more games and I had a chance to see some family and friends, which was good.”
Boychuk said he even attempted to steal a few minutes on the ice while his teammates were away, but to no avail.
“When the guys were playing in Florida, I came and I was going to try and sneak on the ice and get on the ice, but one of the trainers was here and they said nope,” he said with a laugh. “Right at the last second too.”
As the Olympic break winds down and a full Bruins reunion nears, Julien said the enthusiasm of his returning players, compounded with two weeks of healing, will likely make for an even stronger squad.
“Anything that’s healthy at this point is good,” Julien said. “We’ve had our share of injuries and inconsistencies because of it so it’ll be nice. Those two weeks week will serve us well.”