After an off day Monday, the Bruins returned to home ice for the first time in 10 days on Tuesday when they held a morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena ahead of Tuesday night's game against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden.
The Bruins are officially back on track after dominant weekend
There was some good news and some bad news. The good news is that, according to reporters at Warrior, Taylor Hall participated in morning skate in a red no-contact jersey and Nick Foligno skated on his own prior to the team skate.
The bad news is that, according to coach Jim Montgomery, Derek Forbort is not expected to return before the end of the regular season after suffering a lower-body injury on Thursday.
Hall, who has missed the last 11 games with a lower-body injury, had been skating on his own for a week or so, but Tuesday marks the first time he rejoined his teammates.
There is still no definitive timetable for Hall's return to game action. The next steps to watch for would be taking part in a full team practice, getting out of the no-contact jersey, and then going through drills in a regular lineup spot. That last step, in particular, has generally been the clearest indication that a returning player is ready to play in a game.
Foligno, who has missed the last nine games with a lower-body injury, would appear to be a little behind Hall in his recovery, but getting back on the ice even for a solo skate is an encouraging sign, especially since he was still wearing a brace on his leg during the Bruins' last homestand two weeks ago. ESPN's Emily Kaplan had previously reported that Foligno was on track to return sometime in mid-April, right around the end of the regular season or beginning of the playoffs.
While not nearly as newsworthy since it was expected, David Krejci was also on the ice Tuesday morning after sitting out Sunday's game with what coach Jim Montgomery called "soreness."
As for Forbort, he suffered his injury when he blocked a shot off his leg in Winnipeg. He missed both games this weekend and is now set to miss possibly three or four more weeks.
The Bruins still have six healthy regulars on defense even without Forbort, as they had been rotating guys in and out ever since acquiring Dmitry Orlov at the trade deadline. Montgomery could still keep the rotation going while getting Jakub Zboril into more games down the stretch. Zboril played well on Sunday in just his third game since Thanksgiving.
How the Bruins line up whenever Hall and/or Foligno return will be fascinating to see. Even without them, the Bruins' forward group has been pretty impressive, with Tyler Bertuzzi getting more comfortable on the third line next to Charlie Coyle and Trent Frederic, and Tomas Nosek, Garnet Hathaway, A.J. Greer and Jakub Lauko all playing well in fourth-line duties.
If everyone's healthy, three of those guys are out of the lineup on any given night, and Lauko could be down in Providence since he's the only one who doesn't need to go through waivers. Of course, the Bruins can rotate guys down the stretch in the regular season like they've been doing on defense, but Montgomery will probably want to try to settle on his line combinations before Game 1 of the playoffs if possible.
Foligno is more of a 1-for-1 swap for someone on the fourth line, and it's possible he could even be an odd man out himself. Hall's return could lead to some tinkering, though, with Montgomery weighing possibilities that could include Bertuzzi flipping to the right wing on a Hall-Coyle-Bertuzzi third line and Frederic dropping down to the fourth line.
Those are good problems for Montgomery to start thinking about. For now, though, the big news is that Hall and Foligno are showing clear signs of progress, and Forbort is going to be out a while.