WILMINGTON, Mass. — Although he’s feeling healthy enough to maybe return to the Boston Bruins’ line-up soon, winger Milan Lucic needs the entire four-day All-Star break to continue his recovery from an upper-body injury that’s forced him to miss the last six games.
So he won’t be squaring off with rookie teammate Blake Wheeler as a member of the sophomore squad at Saturday night’s YoungStars Game at All-Star weekend in Montreal.
“It’s just being safe and whatnot,” Lucic said after going through a full practice with the Bruins this morning at Ristuccia Arena. “Obviously it would’ve been great to be a part of it once again, especially with the 100-year anniversary of the Canadiens. It sucks that I have to miss it. But I got to experience the young guns game last year and now Wheeler can have fun at that game this year.”
Lucic involved himself in the all the drills today, including some 3-on-3 battle drills. He said it’s up to the trainers to give him clearance before he returns to game action.
“I don’t think there’d be an issue of dealing with the pain and whatnot, but you don’t want to reaggrivate it. There’s still a good chunk of the season left and every part of the season is important, but the most important part is near the end,” he said. “So you want to make sure that you’re doing the right things to get yourself back and you won’t get re-injured.”
The other recovering Bruins are still on the same path toward a return. Center Patrice Bergeron said he’s still feeling strong. However, he’ll stay in Boston to do some conditioning rather than join the team on its trip to Toronto. Defensemen Aaron Ward and Andrew Ference, like Lucic, will go on the trip so they can skate with the team in the morning. Ference took contact in practice today for the first time. He said he’ll skate during the break while in New Hampshire and then target a post-break date for his return.
Ward and Lucic will be game-day decisions.
And Phil Kessel, out since Jan. 10 with mononucleosis, made a locker room appearance after a brief workout. You can forgive me for not getting close enough to the sick winger to chat.