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Krug optimistic about Monday return

BOSTON -- Having participated in the team’s last two practices, Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is “a possibility” to return to game action Monday night against the New Jersey Devils, according to coach Claude Julien.

Krug has missed the team’s last four games with a broken left pinky finger suffered on Oct. 28. His return on Monday would put him a day ahead of the two-to-three-week timetable for recovery initially announced at the time of his injury.

“[We] don’t know yet,” Julien said Sunday. “[He] hasn’t met with the trainer. We’re letting him practice and then we’re going to meet with the trainers and they’ll give me more information. I think that decision will be made tomorrow versus being made today.”

Krug’s return would come as a significant positive for a Bruins team that just lost yet another defenseman, David Warsofsky, to a long-term injury. The team already has been without the services of captain Zdeno Chara, Kevan Miller and Krug for significant periods of time this season.

For his part, Krug feels a return on Monday isn’t out of the question.

“It’s realistic,” Krug said. “It’s something that we’ve just got to talk about and make sure I feel comfortable with it, the coaches feel comfortable. It’s going to be a group decision.”

Krug revealed that his injury required surgery in order to put in stitches and is the first major injury he’s dealt with in his career. While he said he’s still feeling pain while practicing, Krug has been encouraged by his progress and believes his finger will be back to normal eventually.

“Every time I’m on the ice I feel better about it,” Krug said. “It’s good so far.

“I’ve been shooting a lot better. I’ve got to ask [goalie Tuukka Rask] if I can shoot a little bit harder than I have been. It’s getting better every day, getting more comfortable taking slap shots and everything. That’s kind of just how it goes. It’s feeling better.”

If Krug is unable to play Monday, Matt Bartkowski becomes the next likely option. Bartkowski has been a healthy scratch for 10 of the team’s 15 games this season, including their last four. While he’s been shaky at times during the five games in which he’s skated, Julien is hopeful that his time up on the press level will have him excited at the chance of making a return.

“He should be anxious to get the call,” Julien said. “And when you’re called upon you should be ready to go because you only get so many chances. If you keep failing, you keep going back in the press box. It’s all about attitude. These guys are professionals, they’re paid to do this job and they’ve got to do it the professional way.

“We just know he’s good enough when he’s on top of his game to be a good player for us. He dug himself a hole and now he’s got to dig himself out of it. It starts at practice.”