Injured Ference on the ice Friday

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Still a little bit ahead of schedule in his attempt to return from a groin injury, defenseman Andrew Ference added to his practice repertoire with his Bruins teammates Friday morning at Ristuccia Arena.

After he was injured, Ference’s prognosis was a return in six weeks. If he makes it back during the upcoming pre-Olympic break road trip, he would be back a week early.

“I did some stops and starts and tried some accelerations at the end. It felt all right,” he said. “It’s a big step. I’ve done it before. There’s a big jump between feeling like you’ve got some jump in practice and actually jumping on a guy in a game and hitting him and closing the gap and recovering from a mistake. There’s a big difference. I know there’s still a little bit of progress that has to be made to be effective out there.”

Unfortunately for Ference, he has a lot of experience with trying to make a return from injury.

“You have to go through a series of steps to work yourself up,” he said. “You can’t just all of a sudden jump in and try everything because you’ll hurt yourself again. I was able to start those initial things earlier, which is good, but I still need the important stuff to feel strong.”

The Bruins, losers of nine in a row, could certainly use Ference’s help on the back end. He said that even if he doesn’t play before the break, he will definitely be available afte itr. The Bruins’ post-Olympic schedule opens March 2.

• A change of venue for Wednesday’s practice didn’t change the Bruins’ fortunes. So Friday they used some props. At each end of the rink, they laid 8-foot long “Border Patrol” partitions from the goal post diagonally encasing the slot. This allowed rebounds to stay around the net and shooters to easily get to pucks. After the formal session, one group of players practiced shooting the puck over one of the partitions from an angle, while another stacked them three high and practice roofing wrist shots.