Julien: Hnidy 'ready to play' for Bruins


Julien: Hnidy 'ready to play' for Bruins

By Joe Haggerty

BOSTON Adam McQuaid and Mark Recchi were the only Bruins not present for the Game 3 morning skate at TD Garden on Wednesday morning, and it appears Shane Hnidy will get his first taste of the BruinsFlyers series. Coach Claude Julien confirmed after practice that McQuaid is still day-to-day with a strained neck, and that the 35-year-old Hnidy is ready to go if the Bruins need him to play. Recchi hasnt taken part in morning skates during the playoffs, as is the right of a 43-year-old future Hall of Famer, but theres little doubt Hnidy in for McQuaid will be the only change for a Bruins team up 2-0 in the series.Hnidy played Game 2 for the Bruins against the Canadiens when Zdeno Chara fell ill, but has served as a healthy scratch for the other eight playoff games thus far.Shane Hnidy is ready to play and he's certainly a possibility for the lineup tonight, said Julien.The Bruins aren't overlooking anything up 2-0 in their series against the Flyers, and Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton says that everyone in Boston's room should know that there is still plenty of battle left in the seven game series. "Experienced. Not experienced. Ive been through enough playoff series to know nothing is over," said Thornton. "That's the furthest thing from my mind. We're not talking about ourlast playoffseries. We know this is Game Three. It doesn't matter what the record is. We're just preparing for tonight." Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off for the Bruins coming off his 52-save masterpiece against the Flyers in Game 2, and his 6-3 record and .931 save percentage in the postseason are beginning to look like the numbers everybody expected heading into the playoffs.

Brian Boucher was first off for the Flyers and it looks like he'll be getting the starting nod for Philly.Nothing official from the Flyers, but it doesn't appear that Chris Pronger will be able to play due to what Flyers sources are telling's Sarah Baicker is a lower-body injury. Meanwhile Jeff Carter skated and "looked good" according to Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, and the expectation is that the Philly scorer could be back in the lineup for a must win Game Three at TD Garden.Heard some rumors via the Internet that Marc Savard would be at the TD Garden in attendance for Games Three and Four in Boston, but a Bruins source indicated that the playmaking center isn't in Boston and won't be at the games after all. There appears to be no change in his condition as he attempts to put all the pieces back together after his latest concussion.

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Rask helped off ice at Bruins practice after collision


Rask helped off ice at Bruins practice after collision

BRIGHTON, Mass – Tuukka Rask had to be helped off the ice midway through practice Wednesday when it appeared rookie Anders Bjork crashed hard into the Bruins No. 1 goaltender in a drill. 


Rask never returned in what looked like another streak of bad luck for the B’s. Rask is off to a slow start at 1-3-0, with a 3.30 goals-against average and .882 save percentage, but Boston can ill afford to lose their top goalie right now.

The Bruins continue to look for the right mix of players at the start of the season and they’ve called up a couple of forwards off to hot starts in Providence for a look.

Big, skilled Slovakian winger Peter Cehlarik and AHL scoring champ Kenny Agostino have both been called up while it looks like some struggling NHL veterans, perhaps Matt Beleskey and Frank Vatrano, might be hitting the pine.

The two call-ups, along with Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson were off to a red-hot start in Providence: Agostino leads Providence with two goals and five assists for seven points (tied for third in AHL) with a plus-four rating in three games this season. Cehlarik is second on the team with two goals and three assists for five points with a plus-three rating in three games with Providence.

Patrice Bergeron was again wearing the maroon no-contact jersey at practice on Wednesday while participating in line drills, and it would appear it’s going to be a stretch for him to be available vs. the Canucks. Adam McQuaid returned to practice on Wednesday, so Ryan Spooner was the only injured Bruins regular that wasn’t able to suit up and practice with the team.

Tuukka Rask had to be helped off the ice midway through practice when it looked like Anders Bjork crashed hard into the Bruins No. 1 goaltender in a drill. Rask never returned in what looked like another streak of bad luck for the B’s. Rask is off to a slow start at 1-3-0, with a 3.30 goals-against average and .882 save percentage, but Boston can ill afford to lose their top goalie right now.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings from Wednesday afternoon’s practice with it looking like David Backes might be up for a possible return on Thursday:  

Backes, on mend from bout with diverticulitis, may return Thursday


Backes, on mend from bout with diverticulitis, may return Thursday

BRIGHTON -- While there will clearly need to be sign-offs from the medical staff, the Bruins aren’t ruling out a return from David Backes for Thursday night’s game vs. the Vancouver Canucks.

Both Backes and Patrice Bergeron returned to Bruins practice with the rest of their teammates on Tuesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, but it was only the 33-year-old Backes that practiced fully without any limitations.

“He skated a little while we were away and a full practice today, so we’ll consult with the medical staff going forward with his plan,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “Potentially he could be an option for Thursday, and I think that should sort itself out in the next couple of days. We’re no different than anybody else, right? We’d like to have our full complement, and some of the guys we’re missing are glue guys that could really add that element to some of the kinds of games that got away from us.”


After the team practice, Backes said that he’s been skating for the last four days and that he’s lost about 10 pounds over the last couple of weeks while adjusting to the medication and dietary treatments for diverticulitis. It wasn’t a complete shock to Backes given some of his family medical history, but he wasn’t expecting anything like that to hit him in the prime of his professional athletic career at just 34 years old.

“I have a family history of it, but this is kind of unfortunate timing and unfortunate circumstances. Hopefully I take care of this, get it behind me and not have to ever think about it again,” said Backes. “The first couple of days it was tough to just stand up straight or do anything, and then you’re on a ‘no exercise’ regimen for six or seven days. So progress . . . certainly. A return . . . we’ll see. Long-term prognosis we’ll have to discuss with the really smart guys.

“You don’t have much appetite, to deal with pain you take a painkiller and then that slows down digestion and just makes it even worse. So you’re stuck there…and it really drains your energy. I was on a liquid diet there for a few days and lost about 10 pounds. I don’t suggest that as a crash diet for anybody.”

He’s come a long way from being stuck in a Mass General hospital bed during Bruins opening night against the Nashville Predators, and Backes is hoping he’ll be all the way back to playing sooner rather than later. The Bruins right winger skated in a third line spot with Riley Nash and Tim Schaller on Tuesday, and said he’s actually even consulted a bit with former Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light, who battled his own stomach issues with Crohn’s Disease during his NFL career.

“I was like a kid in a candy store before practice. You have that carrot of Game 1 dangled in front of you and then taken away, and finally you’re back with the guys on the ice after they’ve been gone a week. Knowing what the results have been you want to interject a little energy out there while knowing that we’ve got 77 games left to establish ourselves, and find our game,” said Backes. “I felt good out there and it was nice to be back on the ice. I was smiling most of the day knowing that I’ll hopefully be playing some ice hockey in the future.

“We’re working to get that strength back and to return me to a productive member of this hockey team, which is going to be on the upswing here shortly. It’s not just due to me, but because guys are putting work in as a group. I’m trying to be as educated about it as I can, so I can be available as often as possible and as productive as possible when I am available.”

There are medical hurdles that need to be traversed by Backes before he can return, but once it becomes a matter of toughness and grit then he’ll be suiting up again for the Black and Gold, and that moment might be coming soon.