BOSTON — The Bruins formally announced the signing of coach Claude Julien to a new multiyear extension in a press conference at the Garden on Tuesday, but the good news wasn't confined to who will be behind the bench.
There was also positive news to report for the players Julien will have at his disposal in the coming season, with general manager Peter Chiarelli offering optimistic updates on all of the Bruins recovering from injuries suffered last season.
The biggest of those is top-line forward Nathan Horton, who suffered his second concussion in less than a year on a hit from Philadelphia's Tom Sestito on Jan. 22. Horton did not play again last season, but Chiarelli confirmed that the rugged winger should be ready to go when the Bruins get back on the ice.
"Nathan Horton has been cleared for contact," Chiarelli said. "And by all accounts from our medical staff will be ready to play when it's time to play."
Horton's first season in Boston ended in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final when he suffered a concussion on Aaron Rome's late hit. After a slow start, he had returned strong from that injury with 17-15-32 totals in just 46 games last year, putting him on a 30-goal pace before suffering his second concussion in Philadelphia.
Horton's absence had a ripple effect throughout the lineup and contributed to Boston's struggles to score at times, most notably in the first-round loss to Washington in the playoffs. His return to the lineup, and his return to his pre-injury form, will be a key for the Bruins in the upcoming season.
The Bruins will also benefit from the return of defenseman Adam McQuaid, who has been "completely cleared" to return from his season-ending concussion, according to Chiarelli.
The Bruins GM also noted that the oblique injury that hampered center Patrice Bergeron in the postseason will not be an issue going forward. "That's completely healed," Chiarelli said.
There should also be no issues for forward Tyler Seguin (hand surgery) and backup goalie Anton Khudobin (wrist) in the coming season.
"Seguin is on his road to recovery in his original timeframe and may be sooner than that," Chiarelli said. "And the same applies for Khudobin."
The Bruins didn't make any major moves this offseason, but are confident that with their core group back and healthy they have more than enough talent and depth to be a Cup contender once again.
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