Julien, Sweeney expected to address media on Thursday

Julien, Sweeney expected to address media on Thursday

What all of it means still remains to be seen, but Claude Julien and Don Sweeney will hold their season-ending press conference on Thursday morning at TD Garden some three days after break-up day with the B’s players. It will also happen just shy of a week after the Bruins dropped a blowout 6-1 loss to the Senators, and completed their second consecutive collapse in the season’s final months that saw them fall short of the postseason both times.

In year’s past with the Bruins, the coach and the general manager would speak on break-up shortly after the players while conducting exit interviews with the players on their way out the door.

In their first year under Don Sweeney, the Bruins departed from the norm by eschewing the coach/GM press conference on break-up day, and instead waited a couple of days to announce the Thursday morning presser at TD Garden. Cam Neely and Charlie Jacobs are slated to speak together at a press conference next week, as has been the norm over the last few seasons when the Bruins hockey year comes to a close.

 Julien was handling the player exit interviews over the last couple of days, so that fact plus his presence on Thursday morning would tend to indicate that the B’s bench boss would be back for a 10th year in Boston.

On the other hand, Peter Chiarelli was present for both exit interviews and the end-of-season press conference in Boston last spring before being relieved of his duties just a few days later by Bruins President Cam Neely. So anybody using Julien's presence on Thursday as proof positive he’s absolutely returning as Bruins head coach may be jumping the Black and Gold gun just a little bit.

There are certainly other far-reaching possibilities: Julien could choose to announce his resignation on Thursday morning, and walk away from a rebuilding job with the Black and Gold that’s perhaps bigger than first anticipated. He’d also be walking away from a $2.75 million per season salary, so that doesn’t seem all that likely. Or the Bruins could simply be buying time while waiting to see if another NHL team like the Ottawa Senators steps up, and is interested in sending draft pick compensation to the Bruins in exchange for Julien’s services.

The Senators fired head coach Dave Cameron and his assistants on Monday morning, and Ottawa’s new GM, Pierre Dorion, has longstanding ties with Julien as both hockey men hail from the same Ottawa area originally. Whatever the case, it should make for some pretty interesting theatre on Thursday morning with nobody quite sure what is going to happen with a coach and GM that both failed spectacularly at their jobs this season with the playoffs expected.

The banged up Bruins have two more injured players in Nash, McQuaid

The banged up Bruins have two more injured players in Nash, McQuaid

BOSTON – It’s another day and another injured player, or two, for the Boston Bruins.

Veteran right winger Rick Nash was a late scratch for the Bruins on Monday night against the Blue Jackets after getting banged up in last weekend’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid had to exit due to injury in the third period of Monday night’s 5-4 overtime loss at TD Garden.  

“[Nash] got hit in Tampa, so we thought he was fine. He had an upper-body injury,” said Bruce Cassidy. “This morning, pregame skate, we thought he’d be fine, and it turned out after pregame skate, early afternoon, he wasn’t. So, you know, we had to make a call for Anton Blidh.”

The Nash absence forced the Bruins to recall Blidh from Providence on emergency recall and plug him into the lineup not using him in the last couple of road games in Florida, and it also pushed 21-year-old rookie Ryan Donato into a top-6 role alongside David Krejci in his NHL debut. Clearly things worked out for Donato with a 1-goal, 3-point performance in his first NHL game, and that along with some quality organizational depth is helping them withstand some of the injuries.

McQuaid was held to just 10:42 of ice time that was the fewest among all Bruins D-men on Monday night, but it was unclear exactly what befell him on the ice injury-wise.  

It is getting a little ridiculous for a Bruins team that’s missing Patrice Bergeron (fractured right foot), Zdeno Chara (upper body), Jake DeBrusk (upper body), Charlie McAvoy (sprained left MCL), David Backes (right leg laceration) and now may have to go without Nash (upper body) and McQuaid (undisclosed) as well. Clearly it’s something the Bruins will have to play through for the time being while simply hoping that it all conveniently clears up ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

“You know, you call a player up [from the AHL], right? We signed one out of college; that helped. So, that’s it. [The injuries] are uncontrollable to a certain extent. It’s kind of enough, now. I would agree. We’ve had our share, so let’s get these guys healthy and get ready to play,” said Cassidy. “I don’t know. You’ve got to play the game in front of you and you just hope the string of, kind of, tough luck, is over.

“That’s it. It’s a physical game. We’ve said all along, to have successful seasons, both regular and playoffs, you need a certain level of health. That’s what we’re hoping, that these guys come back, and that’s it. Until then, we plug the holes and play the game in front of you.”

Plugging those holes will continue to get more and more challenging if the Bruins keep losing players from their lineup on a nightly basis as they may have on Monday with both Nash and McQuaid now banged up as well.


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Donato impresses in NHL debut

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Donato impresses in NHL debut

1:13 - Joe Haggerty joins from the TD Garden to discuss the non-call on Brad Marchand’s breakaway, Ryan Donato shining in his NHL debut, and when Patrice Bergeron could be returning.

6:16 - Gary Tanguay, Mike Giardi, and Trenni Kusnierek debate if the Patriots are starting to replace the talent they’ve lost this offseason as they have acquired Adrian Clayborn, Jeremy Hill, and Jason McCourty. 

11:01 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Boston Sports Tonight to talk about the Celtics continuing to struggle as the injuries have piled up.