– When the Boston Bruins take on the Washington Capitals Thursday in the first game of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, they’ll be doing so without forward Nathan Horton
Yesterday, General Manager Peter Chiarelli addressed the status of Horton, who hasn’t played since suffering a concussion Jan. 22 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
“Well, certainly if he were to be cleared at some point, he’d need at least a couple weeks to get back so he’s quite far off right now,” Chiarelli said. “ I know he’s skating, he’s had little bouts here and there with post-concussion symptoms so it’s a long shot. I’m not going to rule him out yet but it’s a long shot.”
While the return of Horton is uncertain, Chiarelli said that defensemen Johnny Boychuk
(knee) and Adam McQuaid
(eye) are day-to-day.
On the other hand, Chiarelli categorized goaltender Tuukka Rask
as “more than day-to-day”.
“He’s been pretty aggressive with his rehab,” Chiarelli said. “And the six weeks, I don’t have my calendar in front of me, but I think he might be bang on it.”
The Bruins will be without backup goaltender Marty Turco
, who was signed after the NHL’s Feb. 27 trade deadline.
“Well I’ve discussed it with Marty, he’s got a couple of things he has to do,” Chiarelli said. “He wont be practicing with the team. I think he’s going to be around until maybe the tail end of the week and then he’s going to go home."
However, the Bruins are also comfortable relying on the backup services of Anton Khudobin
In his first NHL start with the Bruins Thursday against the Ottawa Senators, Khudobin made 44 saves to lift the Bruins to a 3-1 victory. In seven NHL starts (six with Minnesota), Khudobin is 5-1 with a 1.32 goals-against-average and a .961 save percentage.
“We’ll see how [Rask] goes the next couple of days, but we certainly have a capable backup in [Anton] Khudobin.”
All injuries considered, the Bruins still have a deep roster – filled with 18 players from last year’s Stanley Cup championship team.
That type of experience, according to Chiarelli, is invaluable.
“You can never underestimate the value of the experience,” Chiarelli said. “I’ve seen that grow with our group, and I’ve detailed a couple of those things you bundle together and it forms experience and I’ve seen those things surface.
“We’ve gained a lot from winning the Cup. Having said all that, it’s real tough to repeat so it’s going to be a challenge.”