Bruins

Notes: Bruins, Krejci dodge a bullet

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Notes: Bruins, Krejci dodge a bullet

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The last thing the Bruins need is another injury at the center position, but there was a big scare on Wednesday night.

It appeared they might have another pivot go down when David Krejci tumbled awkwardly into the boards after getting planted from the side by Rostislav Olesz in the first period of the 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.

Krejci stayed down for long minutes clutching his left arm and wrist in obvious pain, and he went straight down the runway once he was able to get off the ice under his own power. But after getting his left arm looked at by the trainers, he returned to the ice and played the rest of the game.

It wasnt my shoulder. It was like my whole arm getting tweaked going for position and it was a little uncomfortable for a few seconds . . . so I stayed on the ice, said Krejci. You know it got a little better . . . its sore, but obviously nothing major.

Krejci must have made a pretty quick recovery from the issue because it was his clean faceoff win in the Florida zone that set up Milan Lucics game-winning goal in the second period.

Coach Claude Julien said he was just glad Krejci was able to shake the left arm issue off, as it would have left the team short-handed when it comes to playmaking skills and power play creativity.

When Krejci first went down, the last thing you want to see is him not come back. Were already minus one pretty good centerman Marc Savard, so you certainly dont want to lose that second one, said Julien. But he came back and he finished the game and he seems to be okay. Theres no doubt these next five days for the All-Star break will be good for him and probably a lot of the other players that are playing a little banged up.

Its, I guess, a break that we needed. We certainly didnt need Krejci going down and not getting him back.

Krejci now has eight assists in his last nine games and is back on playmaking track after he experienced a bit of a lull in the middle of his season. In fact, Krejci sounds like a man thats ready to go on a tear in the second half of the season with Savard down and out and the opportunity there for Krejci to make the power play his own.

I feel a little better now. My last few years, the end of the season was always better, said Krejci. I believe this is going to be a good half of the season for me and I just dont want to talk about it . . . you just have to go out there and prove it.

The second half is going to be way better for me.

The first key to a way better second half for Krejci is staying healthy, and it looks like he dodged a bullet on Wednesday night.

Steve Kampfer said he wont need surgery on his broken nose as theres been some progress in clearing up his nasal passage for easier breathing out of his nose over the last couple of days. Kampfer will instead head back home to Michigan to take in some college hockey with a few of his NHL buddies.Brad Marchand heads into the All-Star break on a high after putting up seven goals in his last 11 games heading into this weekend, and putting himself on the radar while fitting in nicely with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi on Bostons most effective line. The offensive burst places Marchand sixth among NHL rookies with 13 goals scored and leads all first-year players with a plus-21 this season, but despite all that he never received an invite to the Superskills rookie challenge at the All-Star game this weekend when other rookies had to drop out.Jordan Eberle was scratched due to injury and Jeff Skinner was moved into the actual All-Star game as an injury replacement, but the NHL opted for Carolinas Jamie McBain and Montreals P.K. Subban as replacements over Marchand.No matter, said Marchand, as long as the team is having success and the Bruins can get on a roll heading into the playoffs.Seguin would be so much better than me in all those skills challenges anyway, said Marchand. Hes the right guys to go down there. I actually didnt think about it at all, and none of that stuff really matters to me as long as the team is doing well and were winning hockey games.Claude Julien also joked that Marchand told him during the season that hed end up with 20 goals this season, but the rookie came clean and admitted that he wasnt sure he could get to 10 goals this season. Now Marchands prediction to Julien is beginning to look a little bit more like a realistic goal.I thought I might be able to score ten. I knew I could make it. Last year I know I couldve had a bunch, and they just werent going in, they werent bouncing the right way, said Marchand. This year, I knew if I kept getting opportunities they were eventually gonna go in. Bruins legend Willie ORee was on hand to drop the ceremonial first puck at TD Garden on Wednesday night, and took part in several equipment drops around the Boston area for the Hockey is for Everyone campaign. ORee was the first black hockey player to break into the NHL ranks with the Bruins, and still remains active in events for the Black and Gold when he can find the time.

The equipment donation and Special Olympics hockey clinic are part of a number of activities taking place throughout the month of February through the NHL's "Hockey is for Everyone" initiative. Throughout the month of February, Hockey is for Everyone provides support and unique programming to non-profit youth hockey organizations across North America that are committed to offering children of all backgrounds opportunities to play hockey.
Tim Thomas and the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist each have seven shutouts to lead the NHL this season, and Thomas narrowly missed out on his eighth shutout of the season when he allowed a blocker-side goal in the third period of Wednesdays 2-1 victory.Nathan Horton has scored only a single goal in the last 20 games while enduring the worst slump of his career, but Claude Julien lauded the right wing for his effort and willingness to work in Florida's 2-1 win after some spotty efforts recently.To his credit, Nathan Horton has retained his sense of humor about the situation and said he was going to spend his NHL All-Star break"finding a new stick" and then joked with rookie Tyler Seguin to be on the lookout for some good right-handed sticks at the All-Star game events.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Heinen beginning to look like a keeper for Bruins

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Heinen beginning to look like a keeper for Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – While it’s still early in the careers of all the young Bruins rookies making their way this season, it sure looks like 22-year-old Danton Heinen is among the B’s youngsters that are here to stay. The former University of Denver standout didn’t make the cut at the end of training camp this season and he failed early last year when it was clear he wasn’t ready during an eight-game audition with the big club.

But Heinen continued to look ready while scoring a pair of goals and three points in the three games on a pivotal road trip through California last week, and is now tied for fifth on the Bruins in points despite missing four games in the AHL. In all, Heinen has four goals and 10 points along with a plus-4 rating in 15 games this season, and is on pace for a really strong 21 goals and 52 points in his first full year.

This has been a really nice step forward for Heinen after being a point-per-game player for Providence during their playoff run last spring.

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“Last year’s playoff did a lot for him. When I saw him playing there, he was a different player than when he’d left [Boston],” said Bruce Cassidy. “There was a willingness to stay in the battle and his growth when it comes to winning pucks…you’ve seen it here. A lot of the things he’s down well are his second and third efforts on the puck where last year I thought he was pushed off the puck pretty easily [at the NHL level].”

There could be a period when his offense slows down or some other part of his game drags his minutes down, but right now he looks like he’s well on his way to establishing himself in a key role with the Black and Gold. The difference has been Heinen increasing his speed and also adding a little more tenacity to the skill and offense package that he was always bringing to the table.  

“I don’t want to say that because when we get our guys healthy then we’ll see where we’re at,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked if Heinen was a keeper at the NHL level at this point. “But I think he’s certainly shown he’s a much more consistent player than he was last year. He’s probably a bit ahead of the other younger guys because he has gone through a bit of it [at the pro level]. The fact that he’s been able to play in a lot of different situations, play left or right wing, and moved up in the lineup while being very effective with [Sean] Kuraly and [Tim] Schaller down in the lineup, as a coach it’s to have a guy like that who can move around and fit in a lot of different places.

“So he’s certainly helped himself [to stay in the NHL]. I think it’s too early to say if he’s here for good, but I don’t envision him leaving [Boston] anytime soon with the way that he’s played.”

Only time and consistently good play will allow the playmaking Heinen to truly lock up his spot on the NHL roster, but it’s increasingly difficult to envision any scenario where the fifth-round pick isn’t playing an increasingly important role for the Bruins. 

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Bruins' Backes returns to ice after surgery for diverticulitis

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Bruins' Backes returns to ice after surgery for diverticulitis

BRIGHTON -- In a development that was certainly much sooner than originally anticipated, David Backes has returned to the ice just a matter of weeks after having 10 inches of colon removed during surgery for diverticulitis. It remains to be seen how gradual a process it will be for the 33-year-old to actually return to game action given his original timetable for recovery was eight weeks following the early November procedure, but it seems like it might end up being ahead of the two months Backes was initially expected to be sidelined. 

For his part, Backes was happy to be back skating with his teammates and pushing his recovering body after feeling pretty sluggish for the first few days following surgery. He confirmed he’d been skating for a couple of days while the team was on the West Coast, but Monday was his first team doing anything post-surgery with the rest of the team. 

“It’s good to be back with the guys and to be around the room, and to have seen the kind of resiliency that these guys showed on the road trip. The back half of the road trip was impressive,” said Backes, who has an assist in five games with the Bruins before succumbing to the surgery. “To be on the ice and moving around after sitting around doing nothing for too long where you don’t think you’re going to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it feels good. 

“The doc’s advice is that if it doesn’t hurt then I can keep moving forward and add more of a workload on, so that’s the update for today. It’s still non-contact, but we’ll keep moving along and hopefully I’ll be back doing what I love to do on a regular basis. I haven’t been notified that the timeline has changed at all, so I’m just going to keep putting in the work. The more I seem to do the work the better it is, and I seem to be able to do a little more each day. So those are all positive signs.”

For the Bruins it’s clearly a morale booster to see the big power forward back doing regular hockey activities, and serving notice that he’ll be bringing his size, strength, leadership and physicality back to a B’s team that definitely needs him. Clearly the return of another high-end forward would also immensely help a Bruins team that’s still very undermanned up front, but it would appear there will be some other B’s forwards getting back prior to Backes. 

Brad Marchand and Ryan Spooner appear poised to return to full practice on Tuesday with a possible return to the lineup not too far beyond that after all three injured forwards took part in Monday’s optional skate at Warrior Ice Arena. 

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