WILMINGTON, Mass. — While his Boston Bruins teammates this morning practiced yet again in preparation for their second-round playoff series with a still-to-be-determined opponent, defenseman Matt Hunwick watched the action from the corner of the Ristuccia Arena rink through the glass wearing a Bruins-colored winter jacket.
It was Hunwick’s second day back at the rink but the first time he watched his club go through drills and the first time he drove himself since he underwent emergency surgery to have his spleen removed April 18. Earlier that day, Hunwick had left the rink via ambulance in what was a scary situation.
Hunwick was discharged from the hospital Tuesday and, although he’s lost 14 pounds, he looks and feels fit.
“Tuesday I didn’t feel great. Wednesday was sort of up and down,” he said as his teammates battled on the ice. “Each day’s been getting better and yesterday was probably my best day. I had no times where I felt ill or weak. So I’m looking forward to this coming week, where I can hopefully be able to do some things.”
Right now, he’s limited to just walking. But he says he goes a couple of miles a day. And he’s looking forward to a return to duty before the Bruins’ playoff run is done.
“I’ll talk to the surgeon today. In my mind, I’m pretty optimistic,” he said. “It all depends on how things go in the next few weeks. We’ll take it slow here early on. But as I start to feel good to the point that I could really go hard, I think we’ll take it up a notch. Then at some point when my conditioning’s good, I’ll begin practicing with the team.
“Then it’ll be just getting back to not only game shape but being sharp out there. It’s the most intense time of year, so it’s probably the hardest to get back into the game. That in itself might take a little bit longer to get back.”
Hunwick’s teammates were excited to see him up and about.
“It’s good to see him back. He just lives right around the corner from me, so I went over there the other day. But it’s good; he looks good,” said Hunwick’s usual defense partner Dennis Wideman. “He looks a lot better than he did there for a bit. It’s good to see him up and moving around and eating some food again.”
Added forward Milan Lucic: “It’s great. Obviously seeing him leave the way he did wasn’t a great sight. It’s great to see him around the rink again. He’s a great team guy, he loves being around the rink, loves being around the guys. It’s nice to see that he’s doing so well.”
Hunwick said he was sort of in and out after surgery during the Bruins’ Game 2 win over Montreal. But he was home in time to watch Game 4 with his dad.
“It was a nice feeling watching them win,” he said.