Hamilton: 'Feels good' to be at practice

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- While the entire Bruins team was participating in battle drills at one end of the ice during Monday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena, injured defenseman Dougie Hamilton was working out solo at the other end.

It was the first time he’s practiced with the team since suffering a lower-body injury on Dec. 8 at Toronto.

“To finally be skating with the team feels good and it’s just one step closer to playing,” Hamilton said.

When a television reporter asked him if he misses playing, Hamilton replied, “Duh.”

When asked how much he missed playing, Hamilton answered, “That’s a stupid question.”

The exchange was in jest, but Hamilton realizes his return to the lineup is crucial, especially with defensive partner Dennis Seidenberg out for the season with a torn MCL and ACL in his right knee.

“For me, right away I was pretty upset,” Hamilton said. “We’re partners and I told him I was going to miss him and miss him on the ice. He was helping me with my injury, so it made it extra worse when he went down with one, so obviously I feel really bad.”

The injury remains classified as a lower-body injury, but Hamilton was sporting a new knee brace after practice. He said this injury is something he’s never dealt with in his career and it will take some time to get used to the brace.

“He’s progressing as scheduled,” coach Claude Julien said. “It was limited drills for him and he’ll keep progressing here hopefully in the upcoming days and we’ll see where he is.”