WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Prior to Wednesday's team practice, goaltender Tuukka Rask and forward Nathan Horton skated with Bruins strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides.
But afterwards, Bruins coach Claude Julien was only optimistic about one player's return. That was Rask, who is recovering from an abdominalgroin injury.
"Well Tuukka's been skating, as you know, for a few days," said Julien. "He's coming around, and we hope to have him with us soon, at least in practice."
As for Horton, Julien said that his skate had nothing to do with a potential return this season or for the playoffs. In fact, Julien said that Horton was "not close" to re-joining the team.
"With Nathan, it's just going out there, and nothing more than just skating and trying to get a feel of how things are," Julien said. "Nothing more than that. He's not close to joining us, as we speak, but still, we're keeping our fingers crossed that it's going to keep going in the right direction.
''Emotionally, he's good. He's in a good spot, emotionally. I haven't talked about anything related to hockey. The last thing he needs is for his coach to start asking those kind of questions. That's not my job, and certainly not something that would be a positive thing to do. I leave him be. Everything I do with him is small talk."