WILMINGTON, Mass. — Life as a fourth-line forward can be frustrating enough with the limited ice time a player receives and the chance that another player could come along and take your job any time.
It’s even more difficult to deal with that role when injuries keeping creeping up. No one knows the feelings that come with that situation more than Boston Bruins forward Petteri Nokelainen, who’s been skating in practices but not playing in games due to an undisclosed injury he suffered against Washington Jan. 27.
“Definitely (it’s frustrating). And what can you really do? It’s so frustrating, it’s kind of hard to find the words for that,” he said after the Bruins practiced today at Ristuccia Arena. “But I guess that’s a part of the thing and you have to live with those.”
Nokelainen, who has posted one assist in 30 games and averaged just 9:55 of ice time, skated practice at center between wingers Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, while that line’s usual center David Krejci took the day off for maintenance. This is Nokelainen’s second absence-causing injury of the season following the upper-body ailment that knocked him out of the line-up for 10 games from mid-December to early January.
He assured everyone within earshot that he’s improving and is ready to play as soon as the coaching staff gives him the nod.