Vatrano among the missing for Bruins first camp session


Vatrano among the missing for Bruins first camp session

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Now that the first day of training camp has arrived, the Bruins coaches finally unveiled some of the things they’ve been drawing up over the summer with the players present on the ice. One player not on the ice was sniping winger Frank Vatrano, who is expected to play an expanded offensive role on the NHL roster this season.

The 21-year-old Vatrano was missing from both sessions with what is reportedly a lower body injury. Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco wasn’t really able to expand on that following the double-session camp practice.

“I’m not sure of the exact status with Frankie,” said Sacco. “I’m sure that’s something Donnie will talk to the medical staff about, and if there’s something there I’m sure they’ll notify you guys.”

Of the players that were ready to go on the ice, a David Krejci line with youngsters Zachary Senyshyn and Danton Heinen on his wings highlighted the afternoon practice group. That’s a lot of playmaking skill with Krejci and Heinen working together, and a dash of speed and scoring punch with Senyshyn skating on the right side as he recovers from an appendectomy.

“We just wanted to give some speed to that line [with Senyshyn]. One thing I noticed today just from watching him is that his speed jumps out at you right now. I think that was the thought putting those two together was ‘let’s see what this kid can do.’ He’s obviously scored a lot of goals in junior hockey,” said Sacco of Senyshyn, who scored 46 goals for the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL last season after being selected 15th overall by the B’s in the 2015 NHL Draft. “For Day One, I thought he did okay. He kind of fatigued a little toward the end, but it’s the speed factor he brings.

“Heinen can make plays. He’s a left-handed shot and with a right-handed center-man in David [Krejci] there’s an ability to work give-and-goes and things. I think that’s something we looked at. It’s early and it’s just a look, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Here are the line combos and D-pairings from both Group A and Group B after the first Thursday session with David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask, David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Claude Julien still indisposed with the World Cup. David Pastrnak made a cameo in the B’s dressing room following the second session now that the Czech Republic has been eliminated.


Group A





Group B


Zboril-K. Miller
Cross-C. Miller


Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

File Photo

Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while the Bruins are finally back in Boston.  

*Larry Brooks says that the NHL playoff system is broken as it continues to “pass off mediocrity as parity.” I don’t really agree that there’s a big problem, but it will be too bad that one of the Eastern Conference’s two best teams (Boston and Tampa Bay) will be done after the second round of the playoffs.

*A pretty cool gesture from the Montreal Canadiens as a group of them wore turtlenecks during warm-ups on Saturday night prior to playing Tomas Plekanec for the first timer as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

*Congrats to the Team USA Paralympics squad for capturing another Gold Medal for the Red, White and Blue. What a great story they are.   

*Evander Kane opens up about Winnipeg, his past on social media and hockey culture as he seems to have found a place where he’s comfortable in San Jose.

*The Carolina Hurricanes are suspending their GM search until the group of available candidates can widen in the offseason. That was probably always for the best.

*The New York Islanders are getting a little weird with things here late in the season as they’re taking a look at John Tavares on the wing. Hmmm. Seems like an odd move.

*For something completely different: A great return for Bill Hader to Saturday Night Live where he revisited a number of his best characters.


Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

TAMPA – David Backes certainly didn’t escape the scary situation with an errant skate blade unscathed, of course. 

The 33-year-old limped his way to the Bruins team bus out of Amalie Arena after Boston’s 3-0 shutout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and needed approximately 18 stitches to close up the gash on his right thigh. But Backes was still able to joke about it as he exited the dressing room while knowing that it could have been much, much worse with that kind of freak accident on the ice. 

"I'll play a second period one of these days,” said a smiling Backes, who was forced out of Saturday night’s loss with the skate blade cut in the last minute of the first period and exited the Florida loss as well after catching a match penalty in the first period as well. Luckily for him, there was no structural damage to Backes’ right leg after Yanni Gourde caught him in the thigh area as both players were down on the ice around the Tampa net.

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There was a lot of blood, however, as he quickly exited the ice, sped past the bench and headed right to the Bruins dressing room with Bruins trainer Donnie DelNegro trailing right behind. 

“I went in and saw him between periods. He’s okay. There’s no structural damage. There will be concern going forward about swelling or infection, but it looks like he’ll be okay. We’ll classify him as day-to-day, but I don’t know if he’ll be ready to play on Monday,” said Bruce Cassidy of Backes, who actually scored the second goal of the game for the Bruins as a power play strike. “You see a guy coming off like that and you see the blood pooling up, and you’re always worried they could hit an artery somewhere. He was able to get up. That was the first good sign and he was able to be tended to quickly. 

“It is scary. But we were told it would be a deep cut that would require some stitches, and it wasn’t too dangerous.”

For now it just becomes an eventful month for Backes where he’s been suspended, tossed out of a game with a match penalty and now forced out of a game after a freak skate blade incident, but there’s no doubt he’ll return better and stronger than ever in rapid fashion as he’s done through the last two seasons with the Bruins.