And just like that, the Boston Bruins’ unofficial back half of the season is here.
The Bruins returned to practice at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton on Monday afternoon following the All-Star break, and they’ll be back in game action Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Updates had been minimal over the last five days or so, with the most uncertainty surrounding the injuries to Tuukka Rask and Urho Vaakanainen — neither of whom practiced Monday.
Rask has not played since Jan. 24 against the Anaheim Ducks, and he went into the break dealing with a setback from his surgically repaired hip. The Bruins called up Jeremy Swayman on Monday, and he will start Tuesday, head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters.
Rask will not practice this week, Cassidy added.
Vaakanainen was injured in the Bruins’ most recent game, a win over the Seattle Kraken last Tuesday. The defenseman was gashed up and injured on a hit by Seattle center Yanni Gourde, who was not punished for the hit. Vaakanainen has not resumed skating, Cassidy said.
In more promising news, Erik Haula was cleared from the COVID-19 protocol and was back on the ice, skating with the team Monday.
Puck drop for Penguins-Bruins on Tuesday is set for 7 p.m. ET on NESN, with pregame coverage beginning at 6.