There was a new face at Boston's light practice Thursday at TD Garden, defenseman Steve Kampfer.
The rookie was skating with the Bruins for the first time since injuring his knee on April 9, while playing for the American Hockey League's Providence Bruins.
"It's good to get back out there. It's been a long couple of weeks sitting by and watching, but it's good to get back out there skating, and skating with the guys especially," Kampfer said after practice. "It's definitely a perk. It's moving ahead, but it's always slow at this time."
And while Boston might still be in the market for a sixth defenseman after the injury to Adam McQuaid
in Game 2 -- replacement Shane Hnidy
played less than three minutes in Game 3 -- don’t expect to see Kampfer in the lineup.
"We had no contact in our drills, so [Thursday] was a very good skate for him. We're moving forward as we're being told by our medical staff," coach Claude Julien
said Thursday. "He's looking better every day, so we just have to stay with it, but he's not ready."
Speaking of McQuaid, the defenseman did not skate for the third-straight day after injuring his neck in Game 2. But Julien said McQuaid is making significant progress.
"He is definitely getting better," Julien said. "I know we are still saying day-to-day, but there is improvement in him. We are getting very optimistic things are going to happen quicker. Right now, we are just keeping our fingers crossed. He seems to be doing well and, hopefully, we will have better news here in the next few days."
Even with the newfound optimism, there is no expectation McQuaid will recover sufficiently to play in Game 4, especially with Boston holding a 3-0 lead in the series. That means Hnidy will once again be in the lineup.
Despite using Hnidy for less than three minutes in Game 3, Julien said Thursday that he has full confidence in the veteran, who has just four games of experience this season.
"We definitely have confidence in him," Julien said. "We also understand he hasn't played much this year. Right now, the guys we had in our lineup last night were able to share our ice time last night. But having him as a sixth defenseman is something we are certainly comfortable with."