Horton skates; still 'not close' to returning

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Boston Bruins held practice Wednesday without defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who left Tuesday night’s game with a leg injury and was being evaluated Wednesday morning. But there was some good news on the injury front as Tuukka Rask (groin) and Nathan Horton (concussion) both skated on their own before practice and defenseman Adam McQuaid (eye) skated and will make the trip to Ottawa for what could be a first-round playoff preview with the Senators on Thursday night.

While it was good to see Horton skating, head coach Claude Julien cautioned the media to not read too much into it.

“With Nathan it’s just going out there and nothing more than getting a feel of how things are and nothing more than that. He’s not close to joining us, but still keeping our fingers crossed that it’s going in the right direction.”

Julien did say that Horton is in good spirits and has a positive approach despite the frustration of the injury that originally was diagnosed as a “mild” concussion but has caused him to miss the last 34 games.

“Emotionally he’s good and he’s in a good spot,” Julien said of Horton. “I haven’t talked to him about anything related to hockey and him coming back. The last thing he needs is for his coach to start asking those kinds of questions. That’s not my job and certainly not something that would be a positive thing to do. He’s looking good – color wise he seems to have good color – and he seems happy so those kinds of things are encouraging.”

With Rask, Julien said the Finnish netminder continues to progress and will hopefully be practicing with the Bruins soon.

“Tuukka has been skating for a few days and he’s coming around and we hope to have him with us soon, at least in practice,” Julien said of Rask.

As for Boychuck, Julien had no definitive update, but said he was hoping for the best.

“Not yet. He was seeing our doctor this morning and we haven’t had the results yet, but again, I’m still confident that it will be hopefully not as bad as it looked,” Julien said.

Boychuk won't travel to Ottawa. Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara will also remain behind in Boston to get some extra rest.