The Bruins got another round of injury bad news Tuesday, with the word that Dougie Hamilton has a “mild concussion,” according to coach Claude Julien.
“He’ll be out for a bit,” the coach said. “I don’t anticipate it being too, too long.”
Hamilton missed the final six minutes of Saturday’s game against the Sharks and did not participate in Monday’s practice. He was also not on the ice for Tuesday’s morning skate.
Asked whether the absence in San Jose was because Hamilton suffered the concussion then, Julien said, “That has nothing to do with it.”
Hamilton had just returned from an MCL strain, playing five games before being sidelined with the concussion. He missed 10 games in December with the knee injury.
Kevan Miller, who played for Johnny Boychuck Saturday, will take Hamilton’s spot.
“We try and utilize our D’s to their strengths throughout the game and he was having a pretty good game,” Julien said of Miller against the Sharks. “He was solid. They’re a big team, San Jose, and they played a physical game and I thought — he’s a big strong player, he’s able to handle that and I thought he was having a good game at that point.”
When Chris Kelly suffered a fractured fibula courtesy of a Pascal Dupuis slash Dec. 7, the Bruins announced the center would be on a four-to-six-week timetable for his return.
Four weeks passed, and Kelly had not gotten back on skates.
Saturday, in fact, will mark the sixth week, and Kelly will not be back by then, as he has not yet started practicing with the team.
“With injuries, timetables are put on them,” Kelly said. “They’re probably the worst things that can happen because last year I had an injury and I was back sooner than they thought. You think every injury is going to be like that, but certain injuries you’ve got to take time with and certain ones you can rush back.
“But for whatever reason, this one needed to take time and make sure it’s fully healed because the last thing I want to do is reaggravate it and be out even longer.”
Kelly said there is no new timetable.
“Not really,” he said. “You’re told a timeline, right away as an athlete you say, ‘Well I can be back before that.’ You try to do what you can and it’s just one of those things that you can only do so much.
“I can only drink so much milk, use the bone stim so often. It’s just time and obviously I don’t really have a ton of time.”
It would be different, he said, if it were the offseason. But right now he’s doing his best to get back as quickly as possible. For now, he has been replaced by Ryan Spooner as the center on the third line between Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.
So, given that he expected to be returning around now, is there frustration?
“I’m still smiling,” he said. “It’s not fun watching. You guys see me when I walk up there. Different feel for the game when you’re up top [in the press box]. No wonder you guys are so hard on us. It looks pretty easy up there.”
Kelly said that he got a good report from Dr. Peter Asnis on his last visit, with the doctor saying simply that it’s going to take time.
“This is part of the process for trying to get back to feeling good,’’ said Kelly. “That’s really all I can say. I’m out there by myself, but it’s nice to be out there.”
He said it gets a little better every day. As much as he’d like to come to the rink and find himself back to 100 percent, that’s just not realistic.
“I hope I’m on the second half of this stretch and not the first half,” Kelly said.
“Yeah, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s what they keep telling me. I’m going to go by what they say.’’
Patrice Bergeron and Ryan Spooner skipped Tuesday’s morning skate. Julien said it was just maintenance for the two centers . . . The Maple Leafs have been hit by a flu-like bug, similar to what hit the Bruins in December. David Clarkson was questionable for Tuesday’s game, having spent the previous night vomiting, but he did play . . . When Kelly was asked about having other injured players on the ice with him, given all of the Bruins injuries these past two months, he quipped, “I’d prefer to have no company.” . . . Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves for the first time since coming back from his 15-game suspension, fighting Frazer McLaren at 3:03 of the first period. Thornton played fewer minutes (4:00) in the game than he spent in the penalty box (5:00) . . . Toronto’s Phil Kessel had three assists . . . The Bruins have gone through a dip in scoring on their top lines of late. Asked about that, Julien said, “We don’t really look at one or two players. I think we score by committee, and you just have to look at our scoring, it’s pretty leveled out. I don’t think we’re a team that has one guy that we have to rely on heavily to score.”