Rich Peverley skates, but Bruins not rushing him back
|12.28.11 at 12:26 am ET|
It seems the Bruins aren’t quite ready to throw Rich Peverley back into their lineup just yet, choosing instead to give him another night off Wednesday.
The Bruins’ plan was to give Peverley last Friday’s game off, so he would have eight days off between his last game (last Monday against the Canadiens) and his next one, but it seems the B’s have changed that plan. Coach Claude Julien told reporters after Tuesday’s practice in Phoenix that the team doesn’t expect to have the third-line winger in the lineup Wednesday.
Peverley, who has six goals and 19 assists for 25 points in 30 games this season, has been dealing with an undisclosed nagging injury that Julien has said is helped by rest. The winger had a full week of time off the ice, and returned to it Tuesday when he did some skating after the team’s practice. Julien said the winger will participate in Wednesday’s morning skate and will then return to practicing with the team normally.
If Peverley doesn’t play Wednesday and instead returns to the lineup on Saturday against the Stars, he will have gone 11 days between games.
“He’s still on schedule, and everything is going when we figured it would be,” Julien told reporters, adding that the team “certainly” expects him to play Saturday.
Considering that it’s the 34th game of the season, giving Peverley the night off won’t hurt the Bruins now as much as it might end up helping them down the road. The Bruins have been bitten by the injury bug at times this season, but thus far it hasn’t been bad enough to give the team any question marks regarding where they’ll stand come spring time. The priority is obviously to have everyone ready then, so there’s no harm in being extra careful with a guy like Peverley now.
With Peverley out, one of this season’s pleasant surprises will get another chance to play. It’s hard to imagine anybody saw it coming, but Zach Hamill has been a strong bottom-six winger for the Bruins in his limited time in the NHL. He’s proven capable of handling minutes as a penalty killer and has worked on the power play, bringing such a complete game that it was Jordan Caron who the B’s sent to Providence last Friday.
Once Peverley is back and at full strength, it will be interesting to see if he and his line with Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot pick up where they left off. Peverley had set up Pouliot for the game’s first goal in his last two games before taking last Friday off, and both Peverley and Kelly were finding success in the faceoff circle. The Bruins are likely eager to see if he can continue to be a big part of what’s been a pretty consistent line of late, but it’s clear that they aren’t going to rush Peverley back. Even the craziest of Boston fans couldn’t disagree with the logic behind that.