WILMINGTON, Mass. — Although he eventually got onto the ice for his spin with the Stanley Cup in 2011, Nathan Horton famously didn’t play the second half of the Bruins’ series with Vancouver due to a concussion.
Last season, he didn’t get any postseason run because of the concussion that felled him in January against Philadelphia.
Now that the Bruins are approaching the halfway point of the 2013 abridged NHL season, and Horton is healthy, the power forward can’t wait to get through the next several weeks and throw his 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame back into the postseason fray.
“I did miss it. It’s the most fun you can have in hockey, where every game means something and it’s all about team,” Horton said after the Bruins practiced at Ristuccia Arena in preparation for their road trip to Ottawa and Pittsburgh.
“That’s why I’m so excited we just play every other day,” he continued. “Get these games over with and get into the playoffs.”
Horton wants these upcoming regular-season games to become part of the past, but first he has to regain his scoring touch. After he scored seven goals total in January and February, he’s recorded just one assist in five March games. Horton’s not worrying about his play or that of his line, though, because he says the scoring chances are there.
He also wasn’t too worried about facing the Flyers Saturday for the first time since Tom Sestito ended Horton’s season last year. With Sestito gone to Vancouver via waivers, Horton was denied the rematch with his nemesis. Philadelphia, as always, still has plenty of players that look to punish the opposition physically, and Horton wasn’t immune. There was one sequence where Andrej Meszaros cross checked Horton in front of the net at least three times without a call. Later in the Horton drew a Flyers penalty at the top of the crease.
“It’s always like that against those guys. They have a lot of guys who are more gritty on there, so it’s always that type of game,” Horton said. “It makes it that much more interesting when we play them I guess.”
There are two more games with Philadelphia on the docket for the Bruins, who should have an interesting run to the playoffs as they battle Montreal and Toronto for the Northeast Division crown. There’s no doubt Horton has his enthusiasm up; he just needs his scoring hands to catch up.