Johnny Boychuk, Tuukka Rask Return to Practice, Adam McQuaid Remains Out As Bruins Prepare for Capitals

Johnny Boychuk, Tuukka Rask Return to Practice, Adam McQuaid Remains Out As Bruins Prepare for CapitalsWILMINGTON, Mass. — The Bruins returned to the ice on Monday at Ristuccia Arena for their first postseason practice in preparation for their first-round series with Washington.

And the Bruins had nearly a full contingent on the ice for the workout, with injured defenseman Johnny Boychuk and goalie Tuukka Rask both rejoining their teammates. Adam McQuaid did not skate with club, however.

Boychuk appears the most likely of the trio to be ready to return for the start of the playoffs.

"I felt good out there," Boychuk said. "I just wanted to get back on the ice and see how it feels, and it felt pretty good. I'll just take it day by day.

"I hope so," Boychuk added when asked if he thought he could play in Game 1 on Thursday. "We'll see how it feels every day. The main thing is just to come back at 100 percent and be at your best."

Boychuk missed the final two games of the regular season after suffering a mild left knee sprain in a collision with Pittsburgh forward Arron Asham on April 3. The injury was initially feared to be much worse, and even Boychuk himself admitted that he cringed when he saw the replay. Boychuk actually remained down on the ice motionless for several minutes before being helped off by teammates Chris Kelly and Brian Rolston.

"I actually saw the replay and it looked pretty bad," Boychuk said. "When you're on the ice and you've never felt that feeling before, you don't want really want to get up and then what if it was bad and I made it worse by getting up? That was the first reaction when I was on the ice at least."

But less than a week later, Boychuk was back with his teammates in practice on Monday.

"There wasn't really any limitations," Boychuk said. "I went on the ice a little bit yesterday and it was a little sore, so I tried it out today with some tape and a nice knee brace and it felt better."

It's been a much longer wait for Rask, who has been sidelined with an abdominal/groin tear since March  3. He began skating on his own last week, and joined the team in practice on Monday.

"It's good to get back on the ice with the guys," Rask said. "It felt good."

But Rask is still uncertain about his status for the start of the playoffs.

"We have to see," Rask said. "I can't make any calls yet on that."

Rask's injury is a more serious one to recover from, with the demands of the goaltending position creating a risk of re-injury if he returns before being fully healed. Rask stated he no longer feels any pain in the area he injured, but mentally, the recovery is still ongoing.

"I talked to a couple of guys who this same kind of injury, and it's not an easy thing to come back from," Rask said. "But you're a goalie, you have to stretch it out. You have to do all kinds of funny stuff. But you can't think about it too much. If you're thinking about it, then you're not ready. That's really what I try to do, just be able to do all the things that I want to do and not to be thinking about getting hurt again."

Bruins coach Claude Julien is trying not to think too much about the timetable for his injured players' returns, or at least he'd rather not talk about it.

"Nothing's changed," Julien said. "They both practiced today, obviously. [They're] day to day. … They keep progressing and I guess we just have to evaluate them every day and see [how] close they are. I'm still confident with Johnny. Tuukka's been out quite a while, so it might be a little bit longer for him."

McQuaid's situation is even more ambiguous. He was initially hurt in the Bruins' last clash with the Capitals on March 29, when hit into the boards by Jason Chimera. McQuaid needed 18 stitches to close a cut around his eye but was not diagnosed with a concussion. He returned April 5 against Ottawa after missing three games, but his day was cut short when he "didn't feel quite right," and he has remained out since.

Julien termed the injury only as "upper body" on Monday, and the timetable for McQuaid's return is uncertain.

"His situation is up in the air," Julien said. "It could be resolved soon or later. Right now we're just being cautious. He's day to day and cautious is the approach we've taken."

Have a question for Douglas Flynn? Send it to him via Twitter at @douglasflynn or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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