Bruins

Notes: McQuaid, Chara missing from practice

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Notes: McQuaid, Chara missing from practice

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Zdeno Chara was given a day off on Thursday after his man-sized Game 3 against the Flyers that featured a pair of goals and 28-plus minutes of punishing defensive hockey. Adam McQuaid was also absent from the TD Garden practice ice for the second straight day after suffering a strained neck against Philadelphia in Game 2 of their playoff series, but everybody else was on the ice practicing for the Black and Gold.Steve Kampfer practiced with the Bruins for the first time on Thursday in a no-contact session, and is still some time away from being ready for game action. I think right now he just started skating yesterday for the first time, Coach Claude Julien said. He felt good enough to skate with us today. We had no contact in our drills, so it was a good skate for him. Were moving forward as were being told by our medical staff. Hes looking better every day, so we just have to stay with it. But hes not ready.With McQuaid still day-to-day and off the practice ice, that means itll probably be Shane Hnidy again on Friday night for Game 4 after he played only 2:38 of ice time while the other five defensemen basically rotated with one another. The real talk of the day was obviously about the Bs being up 3-0 in the series against the Flyers, and sitting on the precipice of an Eastern Conference Finals berth just as they were last season before the roof caved in on them. The Bs coach and his players are all holding firm to turning the page on last year and focusing on winning one more game to put down a Philly team thats proven they wont quit.Right now I like where we are, said Julien. The biggest think will be putting the past aside and thinking about the present. Living in the moment. Thats what has enabled us to stay focused. There was a report in the Boston Herald two days ago that Marc Savard would be attending Games 3 and 4 at the Garden in his first visit back to Boston since announcing he was going to sit out the rest of the season. A team source checked in with CSNNE.com on Wednesday and informed that Savard was A) not in Boston and B) not coming down for either of the games. The Bs center is still battling the post-concussion syndrome symptoms that have plagued him since his latest head injury suffered in Colorado, but hopeful he can make it to Boston during this postseason run if the team keeps on winning. Hnidy played less than three minutes in Game 3, and Julien said that the power plays and special teams time never got to the point where using his sixth defenseman was a necessity. With McQuaid very unlikely to play on Friday, count on Hnidy to play at least a slightly bigger role in the Bs defensemen corps.He was ready to go and he still is ready to go, Julien said. We have confidence in him, but we also understand the fact that he hasnt played much this year. Right now the guys we have in our lineup are capable of sharing our ice time.

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

Struggling Bjork may take a seat vs. Rangers

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Struggling Bjork may take a seat vs. Rangers

BRIGHTON, Mass – It’s normally a sequence of peaks and valleys for rookies in their first foray through the NHL and Anders Bjork is definitely in one of those lower points right now. 

Bjork, 21, registered a season-low 6:47 of ice time in the Bruins 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night at TD Garden and was benched for portions of the second and third period after looking pretty timid throughout the game.

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Bjork has just a single point and two shots on net in his past six games since returning from an upper-body injury believed to be a concussion. It's been an extremely quiet period for a player expected to make a top-six forward impact. It’s all trending toward a potential healthy scratch for Bjork on Saturday against the New York Rangers with a healthy Ryan Spooner potentially taking over for him on David Krejci’s left side.

“We’ll make the decision tomorrow, but [a Bjork scratch] is definitely a possibility and something we’ve discussed,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I just find that he’s not as strong on the puck as he was at the start of the year, or as quick to create turnovers. There are parts of his game that are always going to be worked on, like his play away from the puck.

“But the issue right now is being strong on pucks. The goal [Washington] they scored the other night is a good example. We make a play through the middle of the ice tape-to-tape, he’s in the crease and he’s not able to handle a puck. They’re coming back at us while we’re thinking we’re on offense. There were breakdowns after that clearly, but that’s an area [that needs improving]. Just before Charlie [McAvoy’s] penalty, we’re on a draw and [Bjork] gets pushed off a puck that comes back on us and we get beat up ice. Some of it is plays where he needs to be better, and some of it is where he’s at in his career where other guys are just stronger.”

Perhaps some of Bjork’s hesitancy is also an after-effect of getting tattooed in the middle of the ice by Tampa Bay's Matt Martin in a play that knocked him out of the lineup for a few weeks. Coping with the immediacy of those kinds of hits is part of life in pro hockey for a young player. It's a considerable adjustment when going straight from college hockey to the NHL.

Bjork knows that he hasn’t been a high-impact player since returning from injury and hasn’t really utilized his greatest offensive assets, speed and skill.  It may not matter much if Bjork watches Saturday from the ninth floor of the Garden as a healthy scratch, but he has a plan to get his game back on track when he does get his next opportunity for the Black and Gold.

“I think it’s mainly a confidence thing. I have to use [my speed] and it’s on me if I don’t,” said Bjork, who has four goals and 10 points in 22 games this season. “I think I just have to have that confidence every shift, so I can avoid the mistakes. There are bounces good and bad in hockey, but you create your own luck sometimes. You do that by playing the right way, and when things aren’t going your way you need to get back to basics of making things simple. That’s what I need to focus on: Making the simple plays and doing the details right.”

A healthy scratch was exactly the right thing to spark fellow rookie Jake DeBrusk when he was scuffling a bit last month, so perhaps the same plan of attack for Bjork to unlock his game while on a pace for 14 goals and 34 points this season. 

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Morning Skate: 100 reasons to love the NHL at 100

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Morning Skate: 100 reasons to love the NHL at 100

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while "The Last Jedi" is officially open for business.

*In honor of the 100th anniversary of the NHL, here are 100 reasons to love the league, its players and its storied history. I’ll give you one reason: Bobby Freakin’ Orr.

*It looks like Milan Lucic is becoming a good fit on a line with Connor McDavid out in Edmonton, something that I think the Oil envisioned when they originally signed him.

*A nice piece on the lasting friendship between Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury even after they’re no longer goalie tandem partners in Pittsburgh. A couple of Stanley Cups will do that for a goalie duo.

*They say that there’s no dancing in hockey, and there’s this ECHL player that is getting his groove on during pregame warm-ups.

*It sounds like Anthony Duclair is attempting to adapt and evolve his game with the Arizona Coyotes after fighting through the trade rumors.

*For something completely different: Speaking of the release of the new "Star Wars" movie, here is the first reaction from fans.