WILMINGTON, Mass. — While the rest of the Bruins got back to work in practice at Ristuccia Arena on Friday, forward Trent Whitfield was getting ready to return to the ice a little further south.
Whitfield, who has spent the season on long-term injured reserve after suffering a ruptured Achilles during the offseason, has been activated and assigned to the Bruins' American Hockey League affiliate in Providence after clearing waivers.
Whitfield will still need to pass a physical in Providence before making his debut with the P-Bruins, who next play Friday night when they host Manchester.
Whitfield, 33, served as Providence's captain last season and was third on the club with 17-26-43 totals in 52 games. He also had one assist in 16 regular-season games with Boston and played in four playoff games with the big club in his first season in the Bruins' organization.
With Whitfield activated, the Bruins no longer have anyone on long-term injured reserve. Defenseman Mark Stuart remains sidelined with a broken hand, but he was never placed on injured reserve. He has been out since Dec. 7 but hopes to return in about a week.
Whitfield, meanwhile, will add some veteran leadership and needed scoring to a Providence club that is just 14-17-2-1 this season. He is also a valuable depth player with 193 games of NHL experience who could see time in Boston again if injuries strike.
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