WILMINGTON — There was some good news Monday for the Bruins, with a couple of players making their return to the ice. Dougie Hamilton was among them, practicing for the first time since he suffered a lower-body injury Dec. 8 in Toronto, though he is not cleared for contact.
“Just progressing as scheduled,” coach Claude Julien said. “Limited drills for him. He’ll keep progressing here hopefully in the upcoming days and we’ll see where he is.”
The defenseman participated in about half of practice, skating by himself during the team’s three-on-three drills. He was not able to set a time frame for his return, but he hopes it’s only a matter of days.
“To finally be skating with the team feels good,” said Hamilton, who has missed nine games. “Just one step closer to playing.
“You obviously want to get back as soon as you can, but there’s no set time.”
Hamilton’s return becomes more crucial with defenseman Dennis Seidenberg out for the season with a major knee injury.
The 20-year-old Hamilton said the injury is a first for him in his career, and he’s working through the difficulties and frustrations of being hurt.
“I’ve never had something like this, just the nagging stuff that you kind of play through,” he said. “So this is different. I think the whole experience I’ve gone through in the last three weeks is all new, I guess a learning experience that is part of the game.”
Eriksson on the ice
Loui Eriksson skated before practice alongside Carl Soderberg. The second-line winger has not skated in view of reporters since suffering a concussion Dec. 7 against Pittsburgh, his second in 45 days. Eriksson remains day-to-day, but he has been making progress — from being holed up in his home to coming to the rink to getting onto the ice. He and Soderberg were working with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides on the ice. Julien called it a “light skate.” . . . Soderberg, who had concussion-like symptoms after Friday’s game and did not make the trip to Ottawa on Saturday, will not play against the Islanders Tuesday. That means the Bruins will have to call up a forward from Providence as they have only 11 healthy and able to play . . . Defenseman Zdeno Chara, who missed Saturday’s game with an undisclosed injury, skated with the team for about half of practice, though he came off the ice well before the rest of the players. That was planned, Julien said. “I guess he’s progressing, and we’ll make a decision depending on how he is tomorrow,” Julien said . . . Forward Chris Kelly continues to make progress coming back from his fractured fibula. He is three weeks into his 4-to-6-week timetable. Julien said Kelly likely will be on the longer end of that estimate.
Here to stay?
The Bruins recalled Kevan Miller on an emergency basis Monday, indicating the defenseman is in Boston to stay. Miller, who has played nine games with the Bruins this season, will have to go through waivers to be sent back to Providence once he plays his 10th NHL game. That almost certainly will come Tuesday. “I’m pretty happy how things have gone,” Miller said. “It was unfortunate, but I’m here now, so just be ready to go.” Said Julien, “I thought he was a good player for us. When you lose a guy like Seidenberg, you want another guy who’s going to bring you some size and some strength. He brings that to the table. I thought his puck management was pretty good, too. He’s here right now because he’s deserving of being here.”Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin @globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.