BOSTON – It was slightly eyebrow-raising when there weren’t any injured Bruins players skating in the 30 minutes prior to Tuesday’s scheduled practice at TD Garden. Normally that’s been the time for Adam McQuaid, Dennis Seidenberg and Daniel Paille to get their on-ice work in for the day. McQuaid never appeared on the Garden’s frozen sheet, but both Seidenberg and Paille skated with the rest of the team at the main practice. Paille went through his first full contact practice with the team, and Seidenberg went through limited drills before sitting out the heavy contact battle drills at the end of the practice session.
It was a step in the right direction for the German defenseman on the comeback trail from blowing out his ACL/MCL in a Dec. 27 win over the Ottawa Senators, and it continues to support the trend that Seidenberg is ahead of schedule in his recovery.
None of this surprised his teammates a bit knowing Seidenberg’s unflagging work ethic, and the kind of physical specimen he continues to be at 30 years old.
“He works really hard. He does so many extra things, and extra stuff to be back sooner,” said Zdeno Chara. “It’s not surprising to me that he’s maybe coming back sooner than expected. I’ve known all along that he’s a strong guy mentally and physically, and that he can do it.”
But Claude Julien also pumped the brakes on any comeback talk at this point, and it still remains true that five months is a realistic recovery timetable for Seidenberg coming back from major knee surgery. The timetable for a return would then be early June given the early January surgery date for the stalwart B’s defenseman, and that means there is still some work to be done.
“I think [his teammates] are happy to see him come on the ice with them,” said Claude Julien. “But everyone is focused on the playoffs here, and he’s just skating with us and doing everything that has no contact with it. It’s more to get him out of the boredom of skating on his own with just another player.
“It gives him a chance to make some plays and passes with a little bit of traffic around him too. We thought it was a good time for him, and he is strong enough with his skating that he can jump to that level right now.”
But the sight of Seidenberg skating with the team serves as an optimistic reminder that the Bruins could continue to get stronger if they can push forward in their two month Stanley Cup journey.