Nathan Horton: Why Boston Bruins Winger Won't Return to Team in Near Future

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Nathan Horton: Why Boston Bruins Winger Won't Return to Team in Near Future
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Boston Bruins star winger Nathan Horton won't return to the team "anytime soon," a source told's Joe Haggerty.

A source close to the right winger told that there have been no extensive organizational conversations about shutting down Horton as of yet, but the B's concussed power forward “[won’t be returning] anytime soon.”

“[They] haven’t had those discussions yet, but it’s not too difficult to figure it out,” the source said when asked if the B’s have reached a point where it makes sense to shut down Horton for the year.

With this latest update, it appears that Horton won't return for the rest of the regular season, and his status for the playoffs also doesn't look too good.

The Bruins have just six games remaining after Tuesday night's battle with the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden, and the Stanley Cup playoffs begin on April 11.

Horton's most recent concussion came from a hit by Philadelphia Flyers forward Tom Sestito in late January, and he hasn't played since. 

While the Bruins have made no official announcement that they are going to shut Horton down for the rest of the season, it wouldn't be ideal to throw him into the playoff fire for his first game back after missing over a third of the season with a head injury.

Head coach Claude Julien has a number of options in finding Horton's replacement on the first line for the rest of the season.

The most logical one probably being Rich Peverley.

Peverley has looked good since making his return from a knee injury on Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks, and has experience playing on the Bruins' top line, going back to the Stanley Cup Final last season when he replaced Horton in Game 4 of the series.

It seems unlikely that Horton will be back at all this season, even though no official decision has been announced, but the Bruins have enough depth to be successful in the playoffs without the star forward.

Nicholas Goss is a Boston Bruins Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and was the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston.

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