Bruins

Marchand not sweating added pressure after MVP-level year

bruins_brad_marchand_031417.jpg

Marchand not sweating added pressure after MVP-level year

BRIGHTON, Mass – It might be getting difficult for Brad Marchand to top himself with each passing season.

Last year the Bruins left winger and resident agitator led the B’s with 39 goals and 85 points in 80 games for the Bruins, and finished seventh in the Hart Trophy voting while getting MVP consideration for the first time in his career. He was the first point-per-game player for the Bruins since the heyday of Marc Savard in Boston and took another step toward becoming more iconic, respected player than the guy opposing fans are most likely to hate.

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He still has some of the latter in his arsenal, of course, but Marchand knows he’s a guy that’s become somebody the rest of the team banks on for offense, production and making things happen in the big moments. There’s a pressure that comes along with that kind of expectation, but it’s something he’s ready to take on without any associated burdens on his shoulders.

“I think [opposing defenses] should just be following Pasta and Bergy around, but it’s fine if they want to cover me. They can just do their thing,” said Marchand, who has spent the first three days of training skate with Bergeron and rookie Anders Bjork in a trio that’s looked very comfortable together. “When you’re fortunate to have a year like [last season] there are definitely higher expectations. But I’m not going to put that on myself. It’s more about being prepared for every game and following Bergeron around and let him hit me when I go backdoor. We’re all just going to work hard, and hope it just works well for everyone.

“It’s just one of those things where everything came together, and I had a little bit more power play time. If you were to add all those power play points in other years it would be similar, so I really don’t think much changed aside from special teams’ time. Things just went well. I don’t expect that to happen every year, but it would be great if it did. I know my role is to go out, work hard and try to make things happen, so hopefully that’s how it goes.”

All polite, Canadian modesty aside, however, No. 63 has to know this Bruins team is relying on him more than ever after posting career-highs in all the major offensive categories. Perhaps there will be a little more point-production support from his center with Bergeron entering the season 100 percent healthy following offseason surgery for a sports hernia, and that will take some of the attention away from being directed at him.

But Marchand knows he won’t be sneaking up on anyone anymore after scoring 76 goals over the last two seasons, more than any player in the NHL aside from some guys named Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko. 

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Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid’s leg is broken, will have surgery Monday

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid’s leg is broken, will have surgery Monday

BRIGHTON, Mass – Another serious injury has hit the Bruins in the first few weeks of the season.

Adam McQuaid’s right leg is broken, he'll have surgery Monday and he’ll miss some significant time after he blocked a shot that knocked him out of the Thursday night victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The rugged, stay-at-home defenseman took multiple pucks of in successive games off his leg in the past two games against the Golden Knights and the Canucks.

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Bruins GM Don Sweeney, in a Bruins statement released after practice Friday, said McQuaid sustained a broken right fibula and is scheduled to have surgery on Monday at Mass. General Hospital. He is expected to miss approximately eight weeks.

It’s a tough blow for McQuaid, 31, after he was able to play 77 games last season before missing the playoffs with an injury and has consistently battled injuries in his career while playing a hard-nosed, fearless brand of hockey.

“Adam [McQuaid] is seeing the doctors as we speak, so there will be an announcement about him,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said earlier Friday at practice. “With Bergie [Patrice Bergeron] it’s a maintenance day where we felt it would be better after 20 minutes of ice to let it rest, and the same with [David] Krejci. Miller is a maintenance day as well. He got whacked, but he should be fine as well. We’ll have a better idea in the morning, but we expect all of the [maintenance players] to play.”

Bergeron, David Krejci and Kevan Miller were all missing from practice on Friday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, but it was maintenance days for all as they’re expected to be back in the lineup on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres. 

Tuukka Rask is out indefinitely while in the concussion protocol after his practice collision earlier this week, but the good news is that Bruins goaltender was up and around at the practice facility on Friday rather than at home convalescing in a dark room.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings for the Black and Gold with a few bodies missing from practice:

Marchand-Schaller-Bjork

DeBrusk-White-Pastrnak

Agostino-Nash-Backes

Beleskey-Kuraly-Vatrano

 
Chara-Carlo

Krug-McAvoy

Postma

 
Khudobin

McIntyre 


 

Bergeron’s return also a boost for Bjork

Bergeron’s return also a boost for Bjork

BOSTON – Clearly, the return of Patrice Bergeron had a positive effect on all things Bruins up and down the lineup, but it might have individually done more for rookie Anders Bjork than anybody else.

The 21-year-old from Wisconsin and Notre Dame had his first breakout game for the Bruins with a couple of goals, three points and a plus-2 rating in a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden on Thursday night.

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It’s no coincidence that Bjork’s rookie breakthrough arrived in his first game lining up at right wing alongside Bergeron and Brad Marchand after the youngster skated with those two forwards pretty exclusively through training camp. Bjork jumped right out with the immediate chemistry when he hopped to the front of the net and smacked home the rebound of a Bergeron shot for the important game-tying score, and both Bjork and the Bruins were off and running.

“He’s an awesome little player, and you can tell he’s really finding his stride right now. You know, he had an awesome game tonight, and [he’s] so good at reading the ice, open areas and where to go,” said Brad Marchand, of his rookie linemate. “It takes a little bit of time to build chemistry, but I think we’re coming along.”

Bjork cashed in his second goal of the first period on the power play after getting a centering pass from David Krejci and then firing under the bar from the slot for his third goal of the season. He had a couple of chances at the hat trick in the first period but missed high and wide with a couple more scoring chances, and instead finished with a career-high four shots on net and seven shot attempts in 12:28 of ice time.

“[Bergeron] obviously brings a lot of skill and passion and he brings a lot of other things that you don’t really realize – in the locker room and on the bench and stuff. So I mean, you can definitely see why he’s one of the best players in the NHL, not just because of what he does on the ice, but in the locker room as well.

“These guys are so easy to read off of. They’re going right away and they’re in the right spot all the time, so it makes it easy for me to get open and receive a puck like I did [on his first goal]. [The two] of them just playing the right way and also with that much skill…it’s pretty deadly.”

The Bruins hope Bjork continues to be a deadly combo for other teams when paired with Bergeron and Marchand now that things are starting to look like they were drawn up in training camp.