WILMINGTON — As soon as one player comes back for the Bruins, it seems like another one goes down. Though, in this case, it’s unclear how serious Torey Krug’s undisclosed ailment might be. For now, the defenseman missed Friday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena.
“Maintenance day,” coach Claude Julien said. “We’ll see how he is [Saturday, when the Bruins host Winnipeg]. If he’s good to go, he’ll go.”
Krug did not play the final four minutes of regulation or the 54 seconds of overtime in Thursday night’s 3-2 win over Nashville. He finished with 14:02 of ice time, logging a minus-1 with two hits.
Of the six defensemen who played on opening night for the Bruins, Krug is the only one not to miss a game because of injury this season.
Krug started the season hot offensively but has just 2 points in his last 10 games, both assists. He has eight goals and 12 assists overall.
Feeling his way through
Dougie Hamilton skated 17:56 Thursday night in his return from a lower-body injury. The defenseman hadn’t appeared in a game since Dec. 8, and afterward said, “I think I felt better than I expected to feel.”
Julien was pleased with the way Hamilton responded after his long layoff.
“He came in and seemed like a guy [who] hadn’t missed a game,” the coach said. “I really liked his game because he was a strong skater and he was right in there, and that’s what you need.
“You’ve got to credit the guys that had to work with him to rehab him and off-ice and that’s [strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides] and the assistant coaches, pushing him during that time that he was working his way back.”
There were days when Hamilton would just sit on the couch icing, and there were days when he was only able to ride a stationary bike. As he said, “Those bike rides were a lot tougher than my shifts.”
Julien and others, including defense partner Zdeno Chara, have watched Hamilton improve over his two NHL seasons. They’ve seen him mature and get stronger as he has learned what to do and how to survive in the league. Some of that was apparent Thursday.
“All that to me is natural improvement of a player who’s come in here as a 19-year-old,” Julien said. “You’re just seeing the progression of a real good player who has just grown into his role more and more.
“As you can see, we feel more confident with him playing against big lines as well because he’s showing he’s capable of doing that.”
Eriksson awaits clearance
Loui Eriksson participated in 3-on-3 drills in practice but has not yet been cleared for contact, Julien said. Eriksson has missed 11 games since sustaining a concussion Dec. 7 against Pittsburgh, his second concussion in 45 days . . . Bruins equipment manager Keith Robinson rode out Thursday night’s storm at Ristuccia Arena. He left TD Garden after the overtime win with the team’s equipment and spent the night at Ristuccia. The team practiced at 1 p.m. . . . The Bruins are hoping to build some momentum heading into their trip to California next week to face the Ducks, Kings, and Sharks. They ended a two-game losing streak Thursday, and now can build a two-game winning streak to take out west. “You’ve got to try and get as many wins as you can here,” Julien said. “Winning those home games is important for us. Continuing to have some domination here at home and working on getting better on the road.” The Bruins are 17-4-2 at home and just 10-8-0 on the road.Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.