Horton masters the return game

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Horton masters the return game

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Nathan Horton is officially back to normal.

The powerfully skilled right winger got off to a slow start during the preseason as the Bruins exhibited some patience with a player who saw his season end due to a concussion last spring in the Cup Finals. Horton was given extra time to work himself into game shape, and that patience appears to have paid off. The No. 1 line winger assisted on Milan Lucics power-play goal in their 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden in their home preseason finale Thursday night, and it was a thing of beauty.

After Zdeno Chara had softened up the Ottawa penalty kill with a pair of big blasts from the point, Horton deftly feathered a pinpoint pass from behind the net toward Lucic waiting all alone in front. Lucic roofed a shot over Sens goalie Craig Anderson to put the Bruins on the board.

While the outcome didnt go the Bs way, Horton showed the same kind of fire that defined his stretch run during last years regular season and the playoffs that followed it. He was a little mean and plenty physical, and his level of offensive scoring seemed to coincide with the attitude flashed during any given game.

It was also a sign that Horton was healthy and feeling good and hes showed that feistiness in each of his two preseason appearances. He nearly decked the Habs' Andrei Yemelin during a skirmish in front of the net during the game in Halifax, and he quickly came to the defense of David Krejci Thursday night against the Senators.

There was no babying himself over concerns about concussions, and no signs Horton is worried about anything physically.

It's good to see. It's good to see him test out his competitiveness and that he's having no symptoms from that hit last year, said Lucic, his partner in crime on the Bs top scoring line. That's the way he plays. That pass, it's the exact same one as I got in Game Four against Philly last year. It was a great pass, right on the tape and I had an open net to shoot at because of a nice play by him and David Krejci.

The Bruins have witnessed so many worse case scenarios when it comes to concussions and their common complications, but theres been nothing but clear evidence that Horton has avoided all that entering a big second year with the Bruins.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Trade targets for Bruins as they enter trade deadline season

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Trade targets for Bruins as they enter trade deadline season

Joe Haggerty looks at a number of trade possibilities for the Bruins with the NHL deadline little more than a week away

Click here to view the gallery

Tuesday, Feb. 21: Leafs turning green

Tuesday, Feb. 21: Leafs turning green

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while spring training is ramping up in a big way down in Florida.

*The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to wear their great, green, old school St. Pat’s sweaters around St. Patrick’s Day this season.

*Jonathan Quick is on the ice and participating in hockey activity, but isn’t quite ready to return for the Los Angeles Kings.

*This is one of the best things you’ll see today with Vladimir Tarasenko making the 11th birthday celebration for a special little girl.

*The Edmonton Oilers could potentially make a lot of moves at the NHL trade deadline, and unsurprisingly, there is quite the call for them to dump Benoit Pouliot after that bad contract they signed him to a couple of years ago.

*Lyle Richardson is predicting the biggest buyers at the 2017 NHL trade deadline and the Bruins are not among the nine teams listed.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle goes 1-on-1 with Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello a wide range of subjects for the Athletic up in Toronto.

*Tommy Wingels continues to fight for inclusion in hockey even as he’s gone from the San Jose Sharks to the Ottawa Senators this season.

*For something completely different: A perfect pool trick shot video will blow your mind and probably get a few pool tables ruined with people trying to recreate it.