BOSTON – With at least four days of rest between the end of the second round series against the New York Rangers and the start of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Bruins are getting some much needed time to relax and heal some bumps and bruises.
Dennis Seidenberg returned to the lineup for Saturday’s Game 5 and played 23-plus minutes while patrolling the blue line with Zdeno Chara, and it appears that Wade Redden has become a full participant in B’s practice. That leaves Andrew Ference as the lone injured holdover for the Black and Gold, but Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli considers his club to be in a pretty good spot health-wise.
“We’re pretty good, actually. We’ve got Andrew [Ference] out, he’s making progress. Wade [Redden] is close, if not ready. Just the bumps and bruises are minor,” Chiarelli said. “We got Dennis [Seidenberg] back. We’re in pretty good shape right now, knock on wood.”
Playing essentially every other day over the final two months of the regular season and shoehorning three postponed games into the final two weeks of the schedule could have really caused a strain on Boston in the injury department. But Chiarelli felt fortunate to get through it with just some minor health ailments that seem to be clearing up before they travel to Pittsburgh at the end of the week for the commencement of the Eastern Conference Finals.
“I’m happy we don’t have as many [injuries] as I thought we’d have. It’s been a different year from that perspective. The whole – and we’ve talked a lot about it – managing, coaching in a condensed schedule has been difficult and different,” Chiarelli said. “I’m glad we’re at this juncture now with the bodies that we have, because I really thought, especially with those postponed games, I thought we were going to get hit at some point. We lost Dennis, and he plays a physical game. We lost him, and got him back. We’re pretty good.”
The health situation may change given what’s expected to be a physical, hot-blooded series between the Bruins and the Penguins, but right now Boston is feeling good after getting through a Rangers team while missing three veteran defensemen before things even got started.