As mentioned earlier, it wasn’t exactly a crowded skate at KCI this morning but Coach Bruce Boudreau was asked about defenseman Tom Poti. The veteran blue liner who has been limited by a groin muscle pull all season and hasn’t played since Jan. 12 fell in a game of three-on-three Wednesday and didn’t skate Thursday morning.

It was the first time in about 10 days that Poti hadn’t skated, but when asked whether Poti had suffered a setback, Boudreau said the defenseman was simply “sore” after a tough scratches skate the day before.

But when Boudreau was asked if there was a projected return date, the coach said barring injury to another member of the defense it might be tough for Poti to return to the lineup.

“I don’t know,” Boudreau said of Poti’s return. “He hasn’t played in four months now, and I think our defense is playing pretty well. So it’d be pretty hard for him, unless there’s injuries, to get back in.”

Poti has played in just 21 games this season. Of those appearances, three were less than 12-minute stints in contests he was forced to leave early when his groin bothered him again.