WILMINGTON, Mass. — While the rest of the Bruins got a day off on Friday, defenseman Johnny Boychuk joined his fellow injured players on the ice for another lonely workout at Ristuccia Arena.
But Boychuk is hopeful that it won't be much longer before he can rejoin the rest of the squad in full practices and eventually games.
"I hope so," said Boychuk. "I haven't been skating with the team, but I have been skating. We'll see after I have a practice, whenever I get cleared to go."
Boychuk suffered a fracture in his left forearm when slashed by Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky back on Oct. 23. He was projected to miss four weeks with the injury, and his recovery has progressed on schedule. That leaves Boychuk optimistic he will be back by next weekend.
"Maybe, hopefully," said Boychuk. "That will be four weeks, so hopefully that will be the goal."
After just a couple of days off following the injury, Boychuk has been skating on his own and with injured forwards Marc Savard and Marco Sturm, so he doesn't expect to face any conditioning issues once he's cleared to play.
On Friday, he was allowed to fire shots on goal for the first time and reported that he had full power on his shots.
"It feels fine," said Boychuk. "I've been shooting, and not lightly, so everything's been going well. … Today was the first time I got to shoot on goalies, so it was kind of a nice change."
There are still some limitations to what Boychuk can do though.
"I try not to do things that hurt it, like taking it on the backhand, but other than that [I'm OK]," said Boychuk. "I still can [use the backhand], but I try to stay away from it because the first week I tried to take a pass on the backhand and it hurt, so I just stayed away from it the last two weeks."
Boychuk will get his current cast off on Sunday but expects to have another one put on after the arm is examined. He isn't sure if he will play with any kind of cast or other protection once he does return to the lineup.
There is one thing Boychuk is certain of though, and that is that he will enjoy the view from ice level a lot more than the one from the press box he's getting now.
"We've been playing really well, so it hasn't been too bad," said Boychuk. "That makes it a little easier, but when we lose it's really tough to watch. You can't really do anything about it, but it is tough."