BOSTON — Bruins winger Daniel Paille has been cleared to return to the Boston lineup. Whether he’s back in the lineup when the B’s finally start their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series is unknown, though.
Paille was a full participant in Tuesday’s practice at TD Garden. The winger, who has been out since April 12 with a concussion, was wearing a gold sweater, skating alongside Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith on the second line.
Brad Marchand did not practice.
Paille declared himself good to go after a 45-minute practice session that included 3-on-3 full contact battle drills.
“As far as I know, I’m cleared to play,” Paille said. “I believe the coaches know that as well, and that’s why I’m practicing with the team (Tuesday). It’s a big positive.”
Paille said that he felt ready as early as midway through the team’s first-round series with Detroit. However, the medical staff decided to take its time and not rush the fourth-line forward back to action, especially given this was Paille’s third concussion of the season.
“Because it’s my third injury this year, there were a lot more precautions to kind of rule out,” he added. “I believe that I could have played midway through the (first-round) series, but I didn’t feel like I had too long of symptoms or injuries. But there were a lot of precautions and I had to continue with those precautions.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he waited as long as he needed to in order to get clearance on Paille.
“When it comes to that stuff, I don’t look at any of that, I coach, and I coach the players that I have at my disposal,” Julien said. “I respect the protocols, I respect all of the stuff that goes on with those kind of injuries. I just wait for my trainers and the team doctors to say that ‘He’s yours.’ Until then, I don’t push the issue and never will. I have a lot of respect for that part of the injury and will respect the medical staff decision right until the end.”
Paille’s return would be a nice boost for the Bruins heading into their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs’ power play has dangerous potential, and Paille averaged 1:28 of shorthanded time per game during the regular season. Paille is also the Bruins’ fastest skater and could help neutralize some of Montreal’s team speed.
However, Julien isn’t ready to commit to any sort of lineup changes.
“We’ll see where we’re at guys,” Julien added. “The series hasn’t started yet and I haven’t made any decisions yet, so let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here.”