WILMINGTON, Mass. -- You could accuse the 8-8-4 Bruins of gliding along in neutral while awaiting the return of Milan Lucic and Marc Savard from their respective injuries. Luckily, the end of that wait might be in sight.
Lucic, out for a little more than four weeks since surgery on his right index finger, went through his first full-contact practice Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena. And before the Bruins' 75-minute session, Savard skated under the watchful eye of strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides for the first time since shutting down his season because of a broken left foot Oct. 20.
"When I got it in the skate, it felt really well," said Savard, who is scheduled to take the next step and practice with his teammates Wednesday. "It felt really good, so everything is going good."
There's a chance Savard could join the Bruins on their upcoming road trip to Atlanta and Buffalo. Lucic, meanwhile, is a surer bet to hit the road with the Bruins. He started practicing with the team four days ago, and Tuesday went through all the drills, including the ones that involved battling for loose pucks.
"As we did more and more of those rush drills, as it went on, you get more comfortable and play without thinking about (the repaired finger)," said the winger. "So that was good. It was a good day for progress and everything felt well today and hopefully it'll feel good again tomorrow."
"I think a good indication is the 3-on-3 drill that we finished up with down low," he continued, "I was able to make it through that without problems and I felt pretty good."
Ice is nice
Last Friday, most of the Bruins players filed their complaints, through ESPNBoston.com, about the ice conditions at the TD Garden. On Tuesday, one of the more vocal players on the matter gave the ice from Monday night's game against the Islanders his seal of approval.
After the loss to the Isles, goaltender Tuukka Rask said he wanted a chance to watch on video the play where his outlet pass into traffic eluded Zdeno Chara and turned into a giveaway and a New York goal. And he did take a look at it.
Coach Claude Julien had said that the Bruins' goaltenders are trained not to pass the puck to the strong side. Rask agreed he might have played it differently.
"It's tough because most of the time you've got time. But on that play, I didn't have time to pick my head up and look around me," said Rask, taking the blame for the miscue. "And then I heard [Derek Morris] yelling [behind me] just when I made the play and it was too late to make a backhand play.
"It's true, you don't want to go strong side because obviously they're coming hard at me and they're coming hard at the whole team, so there're three guys on that side. If you make a blind play to your backhand, you've got to be 100 percent sure that there's your own guy there. It's something we've got to work on with the D, communicate better so these things don't happen."
Rask and Tim Thomas worked on similar plays during some dump-in drills Tuesday at practice.
Eyeing the draft
With the Toronto Maple Leafs floundering near the bottom of the NHL standings, the first-round pick the Bruins acquired for Phil Kessel is looking better by the day. On Tuesday, NHL Central Scouting released its preliminary rankings for next summer's draft, and the results were a bit surprising. According to CSS, Tyler Seguin of Plymouth (OHL) is currently ahead of fellow forward Taylor Hall of Windsor (OHL). Seguin and Hall are considered to be the top two draft-eligible skaters from North America at this point. Earlier projections and other scouting services have ranked Hall ahead of Seguin. Following the exploits of the Leafs and the progress of the potential top three or four prospects should be a fun sidelight going forward for the Bruins and their fans.