|Nathan Horton ‘definitely’ could have started season in October||01.10.13 at 11:56 am ET|
WILMINGTON — After skating with his teammates for the first time since suffering a concussion last January, Bruins forward Nathan Horton he is 100-percent healthy and ready to go about business as usual throughout the upcoming training camp and 48-game season. His teammates certainly like what they saw on Thursday.
“He’s huge, eh?” Tyler Seguin quipped when asked about the power forward.
Indeed, the Bruins missed Horton’s services since he suffered his second concussion in as many seasons on a Jan. 22 hit from Flyers forward Tom Sestito. Teamed with Milan Lucic, Horton helped give the Bruins first line a bruising duo with a scoring threat, but head injuries have cost him time in the Bruins’ lineup.
Horton began skating by himself after suffering the concussion on the Sestito hit but had a setback and was eventually shut down before the playoffs last season. He said after Thursday’s informal practice with teammates that things have gone smoothly since.
“Near the end of the [season] I was starting to feel better, but all summer I never had any issues with all my running and skating,” Horton said. “I never had a setback, and I feel great. I’m pretty happy about that. It’s a tough thing to go through, but it’s in the past now and I’m looking forward to getting back and being around the guys yet and having some fun.”
Horton spent the lockout skating and working out in Florida. He chose against pursuing European options during the work stoppage, though he said he would have been healthy to start the season in October had it began on time.
“Oh definitely,” Horton said. “I was 100 percent back then. It seems so long ago, but more time obviously helped me. I was fine back then [though].”
A free agent at season’s end, Horton also suffered a concussion in Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals on a hit from Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome. He had played an integral role in the Bruins’ run to the finals up until that hit, as he scored two game-winning goals in overtime in the first round against the Canadiens (including the series-clincher in Game 7) and scored one of the biggest goals in team history by tallying the only score in the Bruins’ 1-0 victory in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning.
That postseason remains Horton’s only taste of the playoffs, as he never saw the postseason in Florida and missed last year’s first-round exit against the Capitals, something that weighed on him.
“I got one shot of it [in 2011],” he said when asked about missing last season’s playoffs. “You get one taste and you just want to keep going. I didn’t get to do that and it’s pretty disappointing. It was a tough year for me, and I’m just happy to be back. I want to start off right here and keep moving forward.”
Despite now having a history of head injuries, Horton said he isn’t planning on changing his approach at all.
“The truth is I really haven’t even thought about it,” he said. “I’m not even worried about my head, I’m not worried about being in contact or getting in a fight or anything like that. It’s really in the back of my [mind]. I’m looking to the future and I haven’t thought about it. I feel better than I have in a long, long time and that’s it. I’m just happy that I feel good and it’s not even on my mind.”
|Nathan Horton skating with Bruins teammates||at 9:47 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Forward Nathan Horton was among those in attendance as Bruins players held an informal practice at Ristuccia Arena on Thursday. Other newcomers included Rich Peverley, Daniel Paille and defenseman Aaron Johnson.
Horton, who saw each of his last two seasons end early due to concussions, was cleared for contact over the summer but elected against playing anywhere during the lockout. Horton skated in Florida during the 113-day stoppage.
General manager Peter Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien were also in attendance. Players had previously been skating at Boston University during the lockout.
|Nathan Horton has been skating, hopes to join Bruins teammates on ice in coming days||01.08.13 at 5:46 pm ET|
According to agent Paul Krepelka, Bruins forward Nathan Horton will return to Boston “in the next few days” with the hope of potentially skating with his teammates prior to training camp.
Horton, who has seen each of his last two seasons end early due to concussions and was limited to 46 games in the season, was cleared for contact over the summer and has been skating in Florida. He decided in September that he would not play competitively during the lockout.
“He is healthy and ready to start the season,” Krepelka reiterated in an email to WEEI.com.
Bruins players have been holding private practices with other local NHLers, with Shawn Thornton, Andrew Ference, Tuukka Rask, Adam McQuaid, Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Tyler Seguin and Tuukka Rask the regulars of late. Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk, both of whom returned from Europe recently, joined their teammates on Tuesday.
|Nathan Horton won’t play hockey during lockout||09.21.12 at 10:28 am ET|
While Bruins players are quickly finding places to play during the lockout, at least one player won’t be going anywhere. Nathan Horton, who has been shut down in each of the last two seasons due to concussions but was cleared for contact over the summer, will not play hockey during the lockout, Horton’s agent told WEEI.com on Friday.
Agent Paul Krepelka said that Horton is “doing well” and that his decision to not play hockey during the lockout “has nothing to do with his health. Just his personal choice.”
Horton, 27, did not play again last season after suffering his second concussion in seven months in a 6-5 win over the Flyers on Jan. 22. In 46 games last season, the right wing scored 17 goals and added 15 assists for 32 points. Horton also saw his 2010-11 season end early when he suffered a concussion on a hit from Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Horton had been in Florida this summer, but recently came back to Boston. He’s expected to stick around until things pick up with the NHL.
Thus far, David Krejci and Andrew Ference (Czech Extraliga) as well as Tyler Seguin (Swiss Elite League) have already made agreements to play overseas during the lockout. Dennis Seidenberg is expected to eventually go to Germany to play with his brother Yannic Seidenberg in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.
|Bruins offer injury updates on Nathan Horton, Adam McQuaid, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin||07.24.12 at 2:58 pm ET|
Speaking at Claude Julien‘s press conference Tuesday, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli gave updates on the Bruins who finished last season with injuries. The most notable update regarded the status of Nathan Horton, who has been knocked out of the last two seasons with concussions.
“Nathan Horton has been cleared for contact and by all accounts from our medical staff will be ready to play when it comes time to play,” Chiarelli said.
Chiarelli added that Patrice Bergeron‘s oblique injury is “completely healed” and that the team expects Adam McQuaid (concussion) and Tyler Seguin (hand surgery) to be god for training camp in September.
“Adam McQuaid has been completely cleared,” he said. “Seguin is on his road to recovery in his initial timeframe. It may be sooner than that.”
|Now healthy, Milan Lucic has to step up this postseason with Nathan Horton out||04.11.12 at 2:13 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It became official Wednesday that David Krejci and Milan Lucic will not play with Nathan Horton this postseason, but could the Bruins’ first (depending on who you ask) line be even better than it was a season ago?
It’s a tough act to follow, to be certain. Krejci led all postseason players with 12 goals and 23 points, while Horton’s eight goals tied for third on the team.
The line will obviously be different in that Rich Peverley will be skating in Horton’s place as he did in Games 3-7 of the Cup finals, but the biggest difference should be Lucic.
After leading the team with 30 goals in the regular season last year, Lucic struggled through a sinus infection and, later, a broken toe. He finished the playoffs with 12 points (five goals, seven assists), which tied for eighth on the team. The Bruins won the Cup, and he assisted two of Horton’s overtime goals against the Canadiens (including the series-clinching Game 7 tally), but Lucic didn’t look right. People wondered whether he was playing through pain.
As it turned out, he was. He’d had the sinus infection throughout the postseason, and he had his big toe shattered by a Tyler Seguin slap shot in practice between Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay.
Now, Lucic is healthy, and he’s ready to not only produce more offensively, but help in the other areas where Horton will be missed. When Horton is on that line, it’s a trio that features two big power forwards, making it a very physical and tough group to deal with. Peverley adds speed, but the extra bruising play will have to be provided by Lucic.
“I think I definitely have to play physical no matter what, but [Horton] definitely makes it easier, I’m not going to lie, because he is a big body and he’s got such great speed and we all know about his scoring touch,” Lucic said. “For myself, I feel like I’ve been playing pretty well the last 10 games, and using my body well all season long and I’ve been skating well. Being physical is a big part of my game, and I have to bring that in the playoffs.”
There’s no positive way of spinning of the loss of Horton, but Lucic can recognize that the situation heading into the postseason will be easier than it was the last time the B’s last Horton. Krejci had centered Lucic and Horton for the vast majority of the season, and the trio had built up a pretty strong rapport.
One Aaron Rome hit later, Krejci and Lucic found themselves with a new linemate while still four victories away from the Stanley Cup. There was no time for adjustment then, but they now have experience with Peverley based on the Cup finals and recent weeks.
“Yeah it does, definitely,” Lucic said when asked whether the familiarity with Peverley makes it easier this time around. “You go from playing a whole year with the exact same two guys, and then the last four games, Peverley jumps in the mix. This time, we’ve definitely played a lot more games together, and in these last couple of days of practice have gotten the feel of each other a lot more having practiced with each other. We’re excited for this series to get going, and we’re excited to get back into playoff mode. We want to be a big part of our team moving forward and having success.”
Peverley returned from a knee injury on March 25 and had four points (two goals, two assists), over the final eight games of the regular season. He brings a different skill set with a speedier game, but he showed he was capable of performing in the playoffs last season by matching Lucic’s 12 points despite playing most of the playoffs on the third line.
Ultimately, the Bruins are better with Nathan Horton without him, but the Krejci line should still be poised for success without him. Peverley had four points in five games in place of Horton last June, and Krejci has been known to elevate his game in the playoffs. At the end of the day, though, don’t be surprised if Lucic ends up being the real difference on that line this year. He wasn’t healthy enough to be a consistent force in the playoffs like Horton was a season ago, but there are plenty of reasons to believe he could be this time around.
WILMINGTON — No one on the Bruins feels worse than David Krejci about Wednesday’s news that Nathan Horton will be out for the entire playoffs with the lingering effects of his second concussion in 12 months.
It was Krejci who was just beginning to get into a groove on the second line with Horton again when he had a setback in February, a setback that ended Wednesday with the news that Horton needed more time to fully heal.
“I was hoping he was going to be back for first or second round, but now we know he won’t,” Krejci said. “It kind of sucks but that’s how it goes sometimes. This is still his life and he’s got to take care of his own body. He shouldn’t be pushing it. If he doesn’t feel well, there’s nothing he can do.”
Krejci not only played on the same line with Horton, he can relate fully with what Horton is going through.
“I had a concussion two times so I know how it is,” Krejci said. “This is not an easy situation. Hopefully, he’s going to do well over the next couple months and he’s going to be ready for next season.”
Now, with Rich Peverley replacing Horton on the second line, Krejci and Milan Lucic have had to adjust. It’s an adjustment the Bruins made masterfully last year in the Stanley Cup finals as Peverley added a speed element that wasn’t there with Horton.
“One thing is you can’t replace Horty,” Krejci said. He’s just a great player and I love playing with him but the other side is we played without him for  games so we know how to win games without him. We still have a good team. We have lots of depth. Hopefully we can do it.
“I think we started putting the puck in the net more often, especially the last few games of the season. So, I feel pretty good. This is kind of new season. Everybody starts from the beginning. We’re just going to have to go out there and do it again.”
Brad Marchand is one of those players who picked up the scoring slack for Horton in the finals, scoring twice in Game 7 in Vancouver.
“We’re going to try,” Marchand said. “We want to play for him like we did last year in the finals. It’s obviously tough with him not being here so we want to definitely want to use that to an advantage and play for him.
“It’s big for him and the team. We’re not going to always be wondering and hoping if he’s going to come back and save us. The fact that we know now that we have to do it within the room and we can’t rely on him to come back and help us out. Different guys are going to have to realize they’re going to have to step up. For him, it relieves the pressure that he has to rush back and continue to progress every single day to try and rush back to playoffs. Now, he can take his time and worry about getting better mentally and hopefully come back for next year.”
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