But there was an encouraging sign on Friday when the club returned to its familiar surroundings at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. Before the rest of the club took the ice for practice, injured forward Rich Peverley was put through his paces by strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides.
Peverley has been out since suffering a third-degree MCL sprain in his right knee on Feb. 15 in Montreal, but returned to the ice on Wednesday and has skated each of the last three days.
"I’m doing good," Peverley said. "I feel pretty good. I've been skating for a couple days, and it's getting better every day.
"The first couple days were kind of just getting back into it, and today was a little harder, a little longer," Peverley added. "I felt pretty good on the ice. It's just about taking gradual steps."
Peverley was originally projected to miss 4-6 weeks with the injury. He passed the four-week mark on Wednesday, but remains on schedule for the higher end of that estimate. Returning within that time frame will be important, as it would give him an opportunity to get into a few regular-season games before being thrown into the postseason fray after such a long layoff.
"I think it would be tough to just go right into the playoffs," Peverley said. "I'd like to get in [some regular-season games], but I'm taking day by day right now and we’ll see where it goes."
Bruins coach Claude Julien is waiting patiently as well. He could certainly use the versatile forward who had 9-29-38 totals in 49 games before his injury with the Bruins struggling at both ends of the ice of late.
"He started skating Wednesday, and anybody who gets on the ice at this point is an encouraging sign," Julien said. "I don't know where he is in his recovery exactly because I haven't been told by the trainers that he's close to coming back yet. When he does, they're going to give me a heads up that he’s getting closer and at that point I'll be able to give myself an idea of when we’ll be able to put him in."
Peverley, who stated he doesn't know when he'll start practicing with team, was injured on a knee-on-knee hit from then-Montreal defenseman Hal Gill, who has since been dealt to Nashville. It was a dangerous play with disastrous results for Peverley, but the Bruins winger doesn't believe there was anything intentionally dirty about the hit.
"It's happens, plays like that happen," Peverley said. "It's instinctive. I have no grudges or hard feelings towards him. He's an honest player."
Peverley did get one benefit out of his time on the shelf. The time off helped ease the issues he had been having with an undisclosed nagging injury that was expected to bother him all season.
"It went away when I was still playing," Peverley said. "It was a lot better and it doesn’t bother me at all."
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