Brad Marchand returned to practice on Sunday, but when he'll return to the lineup is still to be determined.
"It's his first time really skating with the team," Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters in his post-practice news conference before the club departed for Florida. "We're going to reevaluate him [Monday] morning and he'll skate with us again and we'll see how it goes."
Marchand has missed the last two games for the Bruins, suffering the effects of a huge hit from Montreal's P.K. Subban on Dec. 16. Marchand played two days later against Washington, but left late in the second period having aggravated the injury.
The Bruins still have not revealed the exact nature of Marchand's injury, referring to it only as general "soreness," while Marchand himself would only state last week that it was not a head injury.
After missing games against Anaheim last Monday and Atlanta on Thursday, as well as practices on Tuesday and Wednesday, Marchand skated on his own before Thursday's game. And after the entire club had Friday and Saturday off for Christmas, Marchand skated with his teammates in practice for the first time on Sunday.
He is traveling with the team on its five-game road trip, which begins with back-to-back games against Florida and Tampa Bay on Monday and Tuesday. That arduous schedule to start the trip could factor into how quickly the Bruins put Marchand back into the lineup.
"With his injury, we also have to see if it is wise for him to play two [games] in two [nights] right off the bat," Julien said. "Those are all things we'll have to look at before we make that final decision on him."
The fact that Milan Lucic was not suspended for his match penalty on Thursday will give the Bruins more flexibility to ease Marchand back. Boston has just one extra forward on the roster in Daniel Paille, who has played the past two games in Marchand's spot on the fourth line with Greg Campbell and Shawn Thornton. If Lucic had been suspended, the Bruins would have been forced to play Marchand or call up a forward from Providence — no easy task with the blizzard moving into the area — in order to field a full roster.
"Looch coming in certainly makes things a lot easier," Julien said. "[If he had been suspended] then we would have had to make a decision on whether [Marchand] is OK to go or whether we would have had to call somebody else up."
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