Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara skate with Bruins, appear close to returning from injury

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BRIGHTON, Mass – Things are looking up for the Bruins as pretty much every injured player for the B’s ended up showing up for Wednesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

Patrice Bergeron skated with the team for the first time since his mid-November chest injury, and wasn’t restricted in any way while wearing a regular practice jersey. Bruce Cassidy indicated that No. 37 wasn’t likely to play Thursday night against the Anaheim Ducks, but it sounds like he’s the closest to returning to the B’s lineup.

Zdeno Chara also skated with the Bruins for the first time since his mid-November injury, but is considered to be no-contact at practice even if the team couldn’t furnish him with a no-contact sweater big enough to fit the 6-foot-9 captain. Kevan Miller again skated with the team in a no-contact sweater, but isn’t likely to return from his larynx injury before next week at the earliest.

Jake DeBrusk also skated with the team for the first time since moving out of the lineup while dealing with a concussion, but was working as well in a no-contact sweater. Rookie Urho Vaakanainen also skated with the team in a no-contact sweater for the first time in a month, so he’s also finally making some progress from his concussion symptoms.

It made for an energetic, upbeat practice where the B’s can now see the light at the end of the tunnel after dealing with so many injury issues.

“Bergie skated in a full contact and is feeling better. I don’t have a definitive timeline, but he’s progressing well and could potentially play this weekend,” said Cassidy. “It’s nice just that things run a little bit smoother with guys that have been around. The practice habits, the pace of the drills and the mood of the team [gets lifted]. I think that’s the biggest thing. Guys know that they’re getting close when they’re with the rest of the group. That’s the biggest noticeable difference with everybody is the jump in the [team’s] step.”

Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for the Bruins based on Wednesday’s full practice for the Black and Gold:

Marchand-Krejci-Pastrnak
Nordstrom-Cave-Backes
Donato-JFK-Heinen
Kuraly-Acciari-Wagner
Bergeron-DeBrusk

Krug-Carlo
Grzelcyk-McAvoy
Moore-Kampfer
Chara-Miller
Vaakanainen

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