Julien looking for more as B's players start returning

Julien looking for more as B's players start returning
December 27, 2013, 1:00 pm
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(AP Images)

BOSTON - Dougie Hamilton wasn’t a participant in Boston’s Friday morning skate at TD Garden, but did skate with the Bruins training staff prior to his teammates taking the ice. Hamilton was originally given a 2-4 week timetable in his return from a leg injury, and the 20-year-old defenseman is in his third week out of the lineup while progressing from the lower body injury.

Claude Julien indicated following practice that Hamilton should rejoin the Bruins next week, and would give the Black and Gold another returning player from injury as their roster gets back to normal. Chris Kelly was spotted walking around the B’s dressing room without a limp or any type of cast on his injured leg, but he’s still at least a few weeks away.

Loui Eriksson meanwhile is making steady improvement from the concussion suffered courtesy of a Brooks Orpik back check in the first week of December, but the team will continue to bring him along slowly given the two serious concussions he suffered within two months of each other.

“He’s coming in and feeling better every day,” said Julien. “He’s just going through the protocol of giving him that opportunity, and going step-by-step here. It’s not going to be a quick turnaround like it was last time, obviously. We’re hoping for some good things here in the upcoming weeks.”

The return of Paille and Adam McQuaid means the Bruins are now down just four players from their usual lineup with Kelly, Eriksson, Shawn Thornton and Hamilton still out due to injuries and suspension. It would appear that the worst is over in this recent storm of injuries, and Claude Julien said the team is “happy” with their standing – first in the division, and second in the conference – coming out of the three-day NHL Christmas break.

They trail only the Pittsburgh Penguins in the East, and sit just two points behind them with two games in hand on the Pens. So life is good for the Black and Gold tribe during this holiday season.

“We’ve been good,” said Julien. “Again, ‘happy’ is one word, and ‘satisfied’ is another. We’re not satisfied with our play yet. We still feel there’s always untapped potential that’s still out there. We just have to keep working on getting that.

“When you’re sitting in first in your division, it’s not a bad place to be in at Christmas. So we certainly can’t stand here saying we’re disappointed. It’s been a challenge at times, but a challenge that we’ve overcome, and done a pretty good job of staying at the top of the standings for the most part.”