Yesterday was a homecoming of sort for the Boston Bruins. Their “home ice” practice rink, Ristuccia Arena was open and waiting for them. It was an official start to the season. It wasn’t just the home ice that made it special though. One of our own came home and let his team and the fans know that he’s ready to play again. Nathan Horton took to the ice and impressed his fellow Bruins. The twenty-seven year old forward, who was battling post-concussion symptoms looked liked he never lost a step. Tyler Seguin was impressed by Horton’s first practice. ”He’s definitely the star today. He looks huge. He still has his wicked shots, he looks incredible.”
Horton had been sidelined with post concussion symptoms since being leveled on January 22nd in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Horton expressed his feelings on the whole process. “It’s a tough thing to go through,” said Horton, according to The Boston Globe. “But I’m looking forward now. It’s in the past. I’m looking forward to being around the guys and having some fun.” Horton, now bald and sporting what can only be called an ‘evil Mr. Spock’ goatee(even Shawn Thornton said “he was a little afraid of him.”) was smiling with his teammates while showing his speed and skill were just as good as ever. “I feel great. I’ve had a lot of time to work out and get back to normal. Obviously it’s been tough for everyone this year. It’s not the way anybody wanted it to be. But I feel great. Better than I have in a long time.”
#18 was one of the heroes of the Bruins Stanley Cup Championship in 2011. The “King of Overtime” re-asserted himself in Boston. In the twenty one games he played, #18 racked up eight goals(one power play, and three game winners-two of them series clinchers), and nine assists. He was becoming the face of the Bruins in the playoffs. Then came game three of the finals. Nathan Horton received a late hit by Aaron Rome of the Vancouver Canucks. Horton’s concussion ended his season. (Rome was suspended for the remainder of the playoffs.)
His injury took him off the ice, but not out of the game. His appearance at game six sent Bruins Nation into a frenzy. (It was also the first time I felt a deep emotional pang for the sport.) His making Vancouver ice “home ice” endeared him to the fans. (Personally, I thought it was a stroke of genius.) The Bruins became the 2011 Stanley Cup Champions on June 15, 2011. Horton got his chance to wear his uniform and hold the Cup aloft in front of the Vancouver fans in the stand, and the rest of the world.
It’s just right to see him back on the ice. One of our own is home. He’s healthy and he’s ready to play. It’s going to be a mad scramble for points, but we’ve got one of the best teams in the NHL. With Horton back on the line with David Krejci, and Milan Lucic, it feels like it’s going to be our season. Ok, gentlemen let’s go rescue the Cup!