Zdeno Chara/By S. Bradley

Zdeno Chara/By S. Bradley

The Bruins on Tuesday at TD Garden held their first practice since returning home from the Western Conference road trip on Sunday.

For the first time since they left the lineup, defenseman Zdeno Chara and David Krejci joined the group.

Both players went through all the drills, including ones with contact. However, Chara continued to practice when the formal portion was over. Krejci sat and talked with team therapist Scott Waugh near the bench. Krejci was clearly referring to something with his left leg or groin in discussions with Waugh. The Bruins have not disclosed Krejci’s specific injury, even as he has now missed the past eight games.

The Bruins don’t play their next game until Thursday night against Chicago at TD Garden, so anything can change. But coach Claude Julien was more optimistic about Chara’s ability to return to face the Blackhawks. Chara has missed 19 games and the Bruins are 11-7-1 in those contests.

“He’s in good shape,” Julien said. “He looked good today and you can see he’s excited to get back. So that’s your captain we’re talking about here, so it’s nothing that’s surprising. I think it’s something that he’s always been that way and he’s one of those guys that sits up there and hates watching the team play. So he’s excited to have the opportunity to come back. And I think he’s worked really, really hard. You can tell for a guy that hasn’t played in a few months, he’s just out there today and he looked pretty sharp.”

Bizarrely Chara didn’t mention anything about Thursday in his post-practice comments.

“I’m excited to be back with the team and be able to skate. It’s something that I’ve worked hard for and obviously the Bruins organization, the coaching staff, the training staff, everybody did a great job to put me where I am today,” Chara said. “You know I’m just excited to be back with the team practicing. Right now I’m taking every day as something I want to give 100 percent and that’s how it stands right now.”

The Bruins had nine defensemen and 10 forwards for practice. Julien said Daniel Paille and Carl Soderberg were out with a virus, while Simon Gagne was on a “personal leave of absence.” Julien had no timetable for Gagne’s return. Loui Eriksson skated with Krejci and Milan Lucic, but Julien said that was just because the team was shorthanded.