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Friday, June 14, 2013
'Positive sign' for Nathan Horton

By Joe McDonald
ESPNBoston.com

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton practiced Friday, an encouraging sign for the first-line forward who left Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday with an upper-body injury.

Coach Claude Julien wouldn't say whether Horton would play in Saturday night's Game 2 but noted it was "a positive sign" that he was on the ice for Friday's 30-minute practice. The coach said Horton remains day-to-day.

"That's what he is," Julien said. "That's why he practiced today. We'll have to make a decision on him tomorrow. It was encouraging to see him out there today. If he feels good tomorrow, he's in the lineup, simple as that."

Horton, who reportedly has been dealing with a left shoulder injury since a fight with the Pittsburgh Penguins' Jarome Iginla on April 20 and missed the final five games of the regular season, aggravated the ailment during the first overtime of Wednesday's 4-3 triple-overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1. According to WEEI.com, which cited a source close to Horton, the player has been taking injections before playoff games to deal with the injury.

Horton was battling for position in front of the Chicago net when he got tangled up with Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson during a Boston power play. Clearly in pain and hunched over, Horton skated to the bench, went directly to the dressing room and did not return.

During Friday's practice, he participated in line rushes with linemates David Krejci and Milan Lucic, but Tyler Seguin, who moved to the top line after Horton left with the injury, did as well.

"I want to be ready with whomever I'm playing with," Seguin said. "I'm not sure what it's going to be. You all saw Nate out there, so I just want to step in and contribute to the best of my capability."

The Bruins' top line of Lucic, Krejci and Horton has combined for 57 points in the Stanley Cup playoffs. If Horton is available to play, Julien plans on using him normally.

"If he's in tomorrow, it's about him playing," Julien said. "If he can't play, I can't use him once in a while, might as well put somebody in that can play the minutes. If he's in, he's in where he belongs. If he's in, he's going to be in his position where he plays."