Bruins

Thornton, Boychuk out for the Bruins

191545.jpg

Thornton, Boychuk out for the Bruins

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com
BOSTON Shawn Thornton was okay after taking 40 stitches in a long, grotesque gash above his right eye caused by Fernando Pisanis skate blade, but there are several team-wide ramifications stemming from the injury suffered Tuesday night against the Blackhawks.Thornton wont be in the lineup tonight against the Maple Leafs after failing to gain medical clearance from the team doctors that sewed him up, and hell likely be wearing a visor until the nasty looking wound heals completely. The Bs enforcer donned a visor two years ago when he incurred a smaller gash on the other side of his forehead, and said hell never get used to that piece of protective equipment on his helmet.Im not used to a visor, but Ive worn one a few times before said Thornton. I feel great. Im 100 percent, but Im told that Im medically not cleared because of the stitches inside my head. Thats the doctors call and I guess they want to give it a couple extra days because we have the extra bodies. Theres no point in getting it ripped open.Thorntons scratch led to several lineup changes with the Bruins on the verge of clinching the Northeast Division title with a victory in regulation tonight against Toronto. Michael Ryder will be back in the lineup in Thorntons place skating with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, and hopes to snap an 11-game goal-scoring drought thats mounted up as the games began to take on higher meaning at the end of the regular season.You definitely dont want to be out of the lineup. Thats for sure, said Ryder. When youre in the lineup you certainly dont want to try and do too much. Try and make sure you help the team rather than hurt it.Things get worse if you try to do too much. I just need to go out and play my game and then its a coachs decision after that.The Bs will also start resting their defensemen corps, and that starts tonight with Johnny Boychuk getting a blow while Steve Kampfer is placed back in the lineup against a desperate Maple Leafs team. Kampfer has been scratched five straight games and hasnt played since a March 17 loss to the Nashville Predators that saw the puck-moving defenseman make some critical plays in the third period and overtime that led to the defeat.The youngster took responsibility for the mistakes after the game, and has been working diligently at practice waiting for his next chance.Claude Julien stressed Boychuk was being rested to help get the team ready for the playoffs, and had nothing to do with performance on the ice a practice that Bs fans will likely see more of as the team is cementing their seeding in the Eastern Conference standings. Boychuk has been playing some of his best hockey of the season for the Bs over the last two weeks, but can certainly use a quick rest before the postseason gets going.Kampfer is going to play tonight," Julien said. "Boychuk is going to sit out this one, and were going to kind of maybe rotate guys in and out. Its got nothing do with their play more than we have an opportunity to give some guys some playing time. We want to make sure we do, and well work through it. Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice and it appears that hell get the start against the Maple Leafs while riding a four-game winning streak that includes only two goals allowed and a pair of shutouts. Julien said that its likely that Shane Hnidy will see his first NHL action of the season when the Bruins play the Atlanta Thrashers Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. Hnidy has been activated, and the Bruins coaching staff has been looking for the proper opportunity to get The Sheriff into action.

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

David Krejci, Adam McQuaid forced out of Bruins win with injuries

David Krejci, Adam McQuaid forced out of Bruins win with injuries

BOSTON – The Bruins returned Patrice Bergeron and David Backes to good health and their lineup on Thursday night, but they also saw a few more players get banged up in their win over the Vancouver Canucks. 

David Krejci exited Thursday night’s 6-3 win over the Canucks with an upper body injury after scoring a power play goal, and Adam McQuaid also had to leave the game after dropping to one knee to block a shot with his right leg. McQuaid was also already banged up after taking a shot off his knee in last weekend’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, so taking another shot off the leg certainly wasn’t a helpful development. 

“He blocked a shot, so he’ll get evaluated tonight or tomorrow. I don’t know how serious – he blocks a lot of shots. This one stung him obviously so we’ll see how it turns out. Adam [McQuaid] has been doing that for years around here. He’s one of the unsung heroes in that locker room. Doesn’t get a lot of credit for what he does, the tough parts of the game, blocking shots, sticking up for your teammates,” said Bruce Cassidy. “He actually manages the puck very well. He’s not a flashy player. He’s not a guy that just throws it away either. He makes good decisions with it, and every team needs an Adam McQuaid. We’re certainly fortunate to have him.”

With Krejci it appeared that he suffered some back spasms after getting cross-checked, and that’s what ended up forcing him out of the win. Cassidy doesn’t foresee it being a long-term thing with Krejci, who finished with a goal and two points in 8:21 of ice time centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak.  

“He has an upper body; he had to leave. He wasn’t feeling too terrific today, and then he got, I think there was a cross-check there. He tried it, but couldn’t continue [playing]. I think he had some spasms, but I don’t think there’s anything long-term there at all.”

It remains to be seen if either McQuaid or Krejci will miss any time with the bumps and bruised suffered on Thursday, but it goes without saying that the Bruins hope they can stay in a lineup that’s beginning to take shape with the full group. 

Patrice Bergeron returns as game-changing force for Bruins

Patrice Bergeron returns as game-changing force for Bruins

BOSTON – To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the presence of Patrice Bergeron is a major game-changer for the Boston Bruins. 

Bergeron finally felt good enough to return to the B’s lineup after missing the first five games of the season with a lower body injury, and the impact was immediate and unmistakable with a goal and four points in a 6-3 win for the Bruins over the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden. It was also a far-reaching impact with the Bruins center pumping life back in the B’s power play with a return to his bumper position, returning a top penalty killer to the Bruins rotation, bringing normalcy back to the forward group by slotting fellow forwards back into their rightful spots and simply giving the B’s their best all-around player back. 

MORE BRUINS:

Clearly it was a joyous moment for Bergeron to get back on the ice and play after getting a couple of good days in on the practice ice leading up to Thursday night. 

“It’s hard no matter what it is. You know, when you’re missing games, when you’re missing time, it’s… you miss being out there with the guys and battling with them and going through what we have to go through as a team. It’s good to be back,” said Bergeron. “You don’t know what to expect obviously [after a long layoff]. You’re trying to hope for the best. I don’t want to say I was surprised [at his high level of play] because you want to be at your best every time you step on the ice.”

Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork finally skated together for the first time after building chemistry all throughout training camp, and they finished with four goals, 10 points, a plus-6 rating and 13 of Boston’s 35 shots on net for the game. It was the way that the Bruins roster was drawn up headed into the season before they had a five-game detour due to the injuries, and the hope is that’s the way it will continue to look for the Black and Gold moving forward. 

“I mean it’s pretty evident, you know, the way [Bergeron] played out there. He just, it’s incredible the way he came back and dominated the game after being out for that long, you know?” said Brad Marchand, who finally has his longtime partner-in-crime back. “He’s just such a big part of the group. He’s able to calm things down in the room, on the bench, and he leads by example. He just does everything that a top guy does.”

Perhaps most striking of all was the emotion and organization that the Bruins played with having Bergeron and David Backes back in the lineup. The breakouts, reloading counter-attacks and defensive zone coverage all had more noticeable structure, and the Bruins were able to get the wave after wave attack from their forward groups that spurred on goals both during 5-on-5 play and when special teams were involved. 

Some of that is getting two highly talented players like Bergeron and Backes back from injury, and some of it is getting an important, tone-setting leader like No. 37 back for everything he does off the ice as well. 

Bergeron set up the important answering goal in the first period by firing a puck that created a rebound for Bjork to clean up, he did the same for David Krejci’s power play to close out the first period scoring, he created the turnover that led to Marchand’s goal in the second period and then he sniped home his own goal from the bumper spot to finally clinch things in the third period. It was clear that Bergeron is still navigating through discomfort and some level of injury while playing at this point, but his hockey IQ and his gritty toughness are allowing him to still be a highly effective player. 

“I think it was self-evident out there that the play on the ice, first of all, built a matchup against whoever we really want. The Power play obviously [was a] big impact there. I think it’s just morale as much as anything, on the bench and in the room,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Those intangibles, leadership, first shift of the game, he’s standing up. They had scored a goal and [he’s] kind of settling the troops down, talking about the details of the game. 

“[He’s talking about] finishing your routes on the fore-check and reloading all the way to our zone.

[It’s the] stuff that coaches preach a lot, but goes in one ear and out the other sometimes. When you hear it from the leaders of the group, it means so much more. To have that back in the room and along with David Backes, those are guys that are just vocal players that bring a lot in that aspect. It’s generally, a quiet group. That doesn’t mean you can’t be effective and win as a quiet group, but it just helps sometimes to have a little bit of that energy.”

While it was a clearly a feel-good story to see Bergeron back in his proper environs on the ice, it was also just as apparent there’s still some lower body discomfort with the Bruins center. He looked like he was in pain or laboring at times out on the ice, and admitted after the game that the lower body injury might be something he’ll need to manage for the time being. That would tend to mean that once again this isn’t something that’s going to go away anytime soon, and Bergeron will again need to grind his way through the pain. 

“That’s the million dollar question, right? I don’t know what to say to that. I guess yeah, I mean I’m feeling good,” said Bergeron. “But there’s… we might manage a little bit for quite a while. But I’m feeling good and tonight was no issue.”

Clearly Bergeron and the Bruins will gladly take it if he can be a difference-maker like he was on Thursday night with a four points, eight shot attempts and plenty of hard-working shifts in his 20:58 of ice time for the game. They’ll just need to keep their fingers crossed that No. 37 can keep suiting up and playing at a high level, and that the 32-year-old can avoid any further problems after already sitting out the first five games of the regular season.