Welcome Back, Nathan Horton

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference 24 hours and an NHL Board of Governors meeting can make!

The Boston Bruins had been borrowing ice from Boston University and wearing a variety of different sweaters–including Tyler Seguin‘s EHC Biel one and Andrew Ference‘s throwback from HC Mountfield–since the beginning of this week, but now they’re allowed to go to their normal practice rink, Ristuccia Memorial Arena. Plus, they’re now able to wear their Spoked B practice clothing.

These subtle but noticeable changes are most likely the result of the Board of Governors ratifying the new collective bargaining agreement. (A 36-hour window for players to ratify the new CBA opens at 8 p.m. tonight.) So now things are getting even more back to normal.

Another way in which normalcy approaches for the Bruins: Nathan Horton is back.

Horton, who last played an NHL game in late January 2012 before he was sidelined with his second concussion in less than two years, was one of the new faces at Ristuccia today. Rich Peverley and Daniel Paille returned from Finland, plus Aaron Johnson (who signed with the club in July) joined the fold, so today saw 15 different Bruins practicing together.

Horton said he feels better now than he has for a long time. He did attempt to return to the lineup in time for the 2012 playoffs, but it wasn’t ideal for him to do so at that time. While he could let his history of concussions weigh on him all the time, he’s decided not to and is probably just looking forward to playing again.

Judging by an Instagrammed of him, he’s sporting a shaved head and a little bit of facial hair, but he looks content.

Since Milan Lucic is in town, Horton can get back into the swing of things when it comes to playing on a line with him. David Krejci hasn’t come back from the Czech Republic yet, but when he does, the top line will be fully reunited–just as the second and fourth lines already are.

It will be good to see Horton on the ice again. It’s been far too long since his most recent game. Even before the lockout, it had been too long. Here’s hoping he can stay healthy and contribute lots of offense for the team.

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