BOSTON — The Bruins will play their second preseason game on Friday night when the Islanders pay a visit to the Garden. There will be plenty of veterans from last year's Cup run on the ice in front of the home crowd, but Nathan Horton will not be among them. Horton also did not play in Wednesday's exhibition opener in Ottawa or in the Black and White Game in Providence on Tuesday.
Horton has been practicing with the club throughout camp, but has not played in a game since suffering a severe concussion on a late hit by Vancouver's Aaron Rome in Game 3 of the Cup Final on June 6. Horton had also suffered a separated shoulder earlier in the playoffs that he played through.
On Friday, Horton insisted he hasn't suffered any setbacks with either injury, and the team is just proceeding cautiously by keeping him out of games early in camp.
"I feel good," Horton said. "It's nice to try to get back into things. I haven't had any setbacks. I feel fine. I look forward to feeling better and getting better on the ice.
"Obviously I want to get back [playing]," Horton added. "I'm here, I want to play. But it's nice to ease my way back into it and get back into things. [It] gives me a chance to feel good and come in and hopefully feel better."
After Friday, the Bruins will have four more exhibition games before the regular season starts, and Horton is expected to see action in at least a couple of those preseason contests. He's just not certain when the first opportunity to play this year will come.
"I'm not sure yet," Horton said. "Whatever they tell me to do, I'm just going to keep working hard to try to feel better and do my best to get into game shape."
Bruins coach Claude Julien expects to be able to put Horton's name on a gamesheet soon.
"I think he's in good shape," Julien said. "Everything seems to be going well as far as his shoulder's concerned. He's been participating in full practices, and I anticipate putting him in the lineup shortly here."
Getting some game action is important for Horton. Even the veterans need to get their timing back in game situations to be ready for the contests that count in the regular season.
"You definitely need a couple [of exhibition games]," Horton said. "You want to get back into game situations. It's a lot faster than playing in practice."
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