WILMINGTON – The Bruins welcomed three players back to the ice at Ristuccia Arena Thursday morning, with Chris Kelly and Dougie Hamilton returning to practice and Zach Trotman coming back on an emergency recall from Providence. (Trotman had been returned after Monday’s game against the Kings.)
For Kelly, it was his first time back on the ice in a full practice since he fractured a fibula Dec. 7 in a game against Pittsburgh. He has missed 19 games so far. He had initially had a four-to-six-week timetable but has already passed that.
“I was excited to come today,” Kelly said. “It's been a little bit longer than I would have liked, but it's all part of the process of getting better, and today was a good step in the right direction.”
It is possible that Kelly is back “within the week,” coach Claude Julien said.
Hamilton has been out since the Jan. 11 game in San Jose, Calif., after suffering a concussion. He has missed four games.
This is the second absence for Hamilton this season. He suffered an MCL sprain that cost him 10 games before coming back for five games, then getting injured. The defenseman took light contact but has not been cleared for full contact.
Both players have been skating of late, but this was the first time that either had participated in a practice with the team since their injuries.
Adam McQuaid (leg) was the only Bruin not on the ice as they prepared for Saturday’s game at Philadelphia.