NHL reviewing Sill hit that injured McQuaid


NHL reviewing Sill hit that injured McQuaid

BOSTON – Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was knocked out of Tuesday night’s game against the Washington Capitals thanks to a vicious hit from behind by Washington’s Zach Sill, which is now being reviewed by the NHL Department of Player Safety.

The incident took place in the middle of the second period, and went without any kind of penalty call on the ice against Sill.

“They didn’t, I guess, seem to get a good look at it, or just seemed to think it was maybe two minutes at best,” said Claude Julien. “I had the luxury of going back to my office and looking at the replay. Obviously, for me, there should have been a call there.

“But you know we’ll see how the league deems it. It was definitely a hit from behind in my book, but we’ll let the other people take care of it as always.”

McQuaid was clobbered by the Capitals' gritty forward as he was facing the boards, and it appeared the rugged 6-foot-5 D-man was knocked out on his skates after the side of his head slammed against the glass above the boards. McQuaid finally left the ice under his own power assisted by the Bruins medical staff, but was done for the night at that point after just 10 shifts and 8:49 of ice time.

Patrice Bergeron grabbed Sill immediately after the hit, but that was the extent of the response from the Bruins at the end of a long shift on the ice. Torey Krug said somebody would have gone after Sill beyond the Bergeron grab had the circumstances been a little different.

“He’s a punishing force himself so to see when a guy like that goes into the boards, a guy that, you know, really plays for the team and sticks up for his teammates and everything he does is just so unselfish…to see him go down is tough,” said Krug. “You know, you want to respond for a guy like that. It’s just tough to see happen.

“Personally I think we didn’t have the personnel out there [to respond with a fight]. I mean, Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] went over and let the guy know he didn’t like the hit. I was out there for, you know, a whole shift. You don’t want to go fight a guy at the end of a two-minute shift, but it still happens. If I got hit, Quaider’s going to go over there and let the guy know he didn’t like it. So one of our star players is going over there and telling the guy he didn’t like the hit. He’s not going to drop his gloves, but, you know, if someone else is out there he’s going to let him know.”

To Krug’s point, both Tyler Randell and Zac Rinaldo tried to get Sill to drop the gloves and atone for his earlier actions on the ice, but instead the Capitals forward retreated to the bench.

After the game Barry Trotz called it “a hockey play” while Bergeron voiced his displeasure with a hit that knocked out one of Boston’s stalwart D-men.

“I thought it was a bad hit. It was one of those where it happens fast. From my angle, I guess, it was a bad hit, you know,” said Bergeron. “There was no point, no need for hitting him like that. It’s definitely tough to see Adam [McQuaid] go down as hard as he did.”

There was no further update on McQuaid following the Tuesday night loss to the Capitals.

The belief here is that the NHL Department of Player Safety is going to hit Sill with supplemental discipline based on his reckless action of completely finishing the dangerous hit on a vulnerable opponent, and causing a play with an apparent head injury as well. That’s exactly the kind of play that will get a player into a hearing with the league, and get them swept up into the fine and suspension system to deter such plays.

Morning Skate: Talkin' B's as in Bruins, Backes, big game

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Morning Skate: Talkin' B's as in Bruins, Backes, big game

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while getting tired of the Friday news dumps.

*Here’s your Saturday morning hockey show on 98.5 the Sports Hub where yours truly, Billy Jaffe, Ryan Johnston, Bob Beers and Judd Sirott all talked Bruins, Ryan Donato, David Backes’ busy week and Boston’s big game against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight among other things.

*Alex Galchenyuk has been regaining his rhythm, speed and effectiveness for the Montreal Canadiens even as so many other things for them are spinning out of control.

*Braden Holtby has been one of a number of big-time NHL goalies that have struggled at times this season, but he may be getting his mojo back for the Washington Capitals.

*It looks like there’s never been a better time to be an NHL coach as all 31 coaches are going to keep their jobs through the season, the first time that’s happened in more than 50 years.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details of Ilya Kovalchuk looking to return to the NHL next season after five years over in Russia.

*For something completely different: Love these galleries that Anthony Breznican does at Entertainment Weekly to break down the new Star Wars/Marvel trailers when they finally drop on the Internet. There are such great, little details to them.


Backes gets a shot at centering top line vs. Lightning

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Backes gets a shot at centering top line vs. Lightning

TAMPA, Fla. – The Bruins will switch things up a little bit heading into their important game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night, and that means a new look among their forward group. 

The Bruins are bumping David Backes up to a center spot on the top line in between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak and pushing Riley Nash back to the third-line center spot that he’s manned for most of the season.

Certainly, Nash has done an admirable job of filling in for an injured Patrice Bergeron, but the expectation is that Backes can bring a little more of an offensive jolt, perhaps protect Marchand and Pastrnak a little bit and improve a face-off performance with the Bruins that’s been lacking a little lately. Bruce Cassidy acknowledged that on a very short list of areas where the Lightning can be exploited, their abilities in the face-off dot is one of them.

“It’s something we talked about. It’s an easy switch to go back to. Backes is fresh and Riley has played a lot of hockey lately, so maybe this will be David a little motivated being up there. They’ll probably see the top lines, so we’ll see how David responds to that. It will get David a few more looks offensively as well,” said Cassidy of Backes, who joked he thought he was going to be a healthy scratch when he didn't see his name in its normal third-line spot on the pre-practice whiteboard. “[The face-offs] are also part of it. Without [Patrice] Bergeron and [David] Backes get tossed the other night, we had a tough time.

“Tampa doesn’t have very many weaknesses, but if there’s one you could sort of nitpick at it’s the face-off dot. So it’s somewhere we can start hopefully with the puck a little more than them.”

That’s what can happen when a team is missing Bergeron and his 56.9 percent win rate in the face-off circle. Backes has been good this season winning 53 percent of his draws in limited center duty while Nash is at 47.6 percent and Sean Kuraly is at 46.4 percent, so it’s pretty clear why the Bruins are struggling in the dot recently.

Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings based on an optional morning skate at Amalie Arena: