Milan Lucic  still can’t hit anyone, or tee up a slap shot. But he was back on the ice with the Bruins Friday morning in Wilmington.
The hard-hitting winger skated through his first full practice with the team since breaking his right index finger in a game in Dallas on October 16. Lucic also participated in the Bruins brief morning skate prior to Thursday’s 1-0 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers .
‘It was nice to get out there with the team, it felt pretty good. I could keep up with the pace, it was a lighter practice,’ said Lucic. ‘Everyday it feels more comfortable and that’s it getting better.’
For now, Lucic can put limited pressure on the injured finger, he was able to participate in tip drills, but he has not been cleared for contact.
‘I’m just taking wrist shots, not big slap shots or those type of things just yet,’ explained Lucic.
Any sort of work with the puck is a welcome relief for Lucic at this stage.
‘The last three weeks I’ve been on the ice and they have been pushing me pretty hard’ he says. ‘For two of those weeks I wasn’t able to handle a puck, so what can really do on the ice without a puck ‘ just skate.’
That extra skating may actually pay dividends when Lucic does return.
‘He’s been skating for quite a while now so he’s in pretty good shape,’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien  shortly before his team was departing for Saturday night’s contest in Pittsburgh. ‘If anything he might come back in better shape than he’s ever been.’
While Lucic had indicated he hoped to be back for a November 19 game in Atlanta, the team medical staff will evaluate his progress next week.
‘We go day to day, at one point they are going to tell us how well he is coming along,’ said Julien. ‘Right now, it’s not really a surprise, but he’s a little bit ahead of schedule. That was good news to hear when they told us he could practice with the team.’