Bruins

Acciari returns to full practice, not ruled out vs. Sabres

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Acciari returns to full practice, not ruled out vs. Sabres

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins will have to wait and see if they have a shot at getting a little healthier for this weekend after Noel Acciari returned to full practice on Friday morning at Warrior Ice Arena.

Acciari was able to take contact and was without limitations as the Bruins prepare for Saturday night’s game with the Buffalo Sabres, but both Kevan Miller (upper body) and Frank Vatrano (lower body) again missed practice, are still day-to-day and won’t play on Saturday against the Sabres.  

“[Acciari] skated today with us full, so that’s very encouraging,” said Bruce Cassidy of his fourth line banger, who has missed the last six games with a lower-body injury. “We’ll look at him again [Saturday] morning, but he’s getting closer. I’m not going to pencil him in or out for [Saturday vs. Buffalo]. We’ll reassess the rest of those guys on Sunday.”

Anders Bjork (upper body) also remains out for the Black and Gold and was last seen around TD Garden sporting a sling for his injured arm. On the ice, the Bruins continued putting in a hard day’s work with a team that’s gone 27-4-4 since the middle of November, and are prepping for their second set of back-to-backs this week after playing in Detroit and New York City on Tuesday and Wednesday nights respectively.

Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings with Tuukka Rask named the starter for Saturday night’s game vs. Buffalo, and Anton Khudobin getting the call for Sunday night’s showdown against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Spooner

Heinen-Nash-Backes

Schaller-Kuraly-Czarnik/Acciari

 

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-McQuaid

Postma

 

Rask

Khudobin

 

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DeBrusk on being subject of trade rumors: "I love being a Bruin"

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DeBrusk on being subject of trade rumors: "I love being a Bruin"

TORONTO – Jake DeBrusk has heard about the trade rumors. Heck, the 21-year-old has actually been traded before in his hockey career as he was dealt in junior hockey from Swift Current to the Red Deer Rebels in his final season. It’s a little different, however, when DeBrusk hears his name involved in trade rumors with New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh, and reports indicate that DeBrusk is a name that Rangers GM Jeff Gorton wants included in any deal. 

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It makes perfect sense with DeBrusk off to a strong start to his NHL career with 11 goals and 29 points in 54 games while playing a top-6 role next to David Krejci, and just scratching the surface of how good he can be with the Bruins. Brandon Carlo has likewise been mentioned prominently as well as a young NHL player being sought after in trade talks. 

But the bottom line for all the Bruins youngsters is that they don’t want to go anywhere, and are doing their best to block everything out while preparing to go out and do their best. 

“I got traded in junior, so I know a little bit about it…but it’s a little different when it’s the magnitude of the NHL,” said DeBrusk. “We’re just focusing on getting wins, and doing everything I can do to help the team win. At the same you’re keeping an eye out and looking [at the rumors] secretly. But it is what it is. You can’t control it. You can only control your play, and do anything I can to help the team win now. You can only take it day by day. 

“I love being with these guys and we’re a pretty tight group. So whatever happens is going to happen, but at the same time whoever is on the ice we’ll go to battle with them.”

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Clearly DeBrusk wants to stick with the team that selected him 14th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, and the Bruins would do well to keep a talented, likable and bright youngster that could be a meaningful member of the organization for a long, long time. But he’s also drawing whatever positive that he can out of the situation, and the biggest one is that other NHL teams are clearly taking notice of what he’s done this season as a rookie. 

Being the primary name mentioned in a deal for a player like the captain of the New York Rangers means you must be doing a lot of things right. 

“When you’re a rookie with your name being thrown around and the other guy has some pretty high stature in the league, it’s a compliment. But I don’t look too much into it,” said DeBrusk. “I love being a Bruin. I just want to continue to get better, continue to improve and I’ve got lots of room to grow. I’m just taking it shift-by-shift.”

That’s a smart kid with a good answer as he focuses on his game on the ice, and learns on the job to navigate through his first NHL experience that’s now included being at the heart of a juicy trade rumor for the Black and Gold.

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Holden 'very excited to get started' with Bruins

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Holden 'very excited to get started' with Bruins

TORONTO -- Nick Holden suited up wearing No. 44 at his first official Bruins practice on Friday morning at the Ricoh Coliseum, home of the Toronto Marlies, but it remains to be seen exactly how things are going to shake out with the 30-year-old defenseman.

Holden mixed into the bottom pairing with a crowded back end of Matt Grzelcyk, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller and Paul Postma, and it sounded like he might not be breaking into the B’s lineup immediately. Bruce Cassidy might go with the same defensemen group that’s won two straight in Calgary and Edmonton, and then simply revisit with each passing game as the Bruins play a whopping 24 games in the final 44 days of the regular season.

“He’s big, he’s long,” said Cassidy. “I watched some of his shifts against us and Philadelphia . . . [he's] a good defender and [has] a good first pass. I think he’s going to help us.

"I know the next question is ‘when?’ We’re going to talk about that today. I don’t know when he’ll go into our lineup, to be honest with you. I don’t know if it will be tomorrow or Sunday (in Buffalo), with the reason being that we’ve liked the seven guys that we’ve used over the last two months.

“We can’t forget about that, or not have the loyalty to the guys that have got us here. We talked about it with him directly. We’ve played the guy that deserves to play this year, and once he’s in it’s his job to stay in. That’s about it.”

As it stands this weekend, the Bruins have nine healthy D-men on their roster and Holden is excited to get a chance to suit up in Black and Gold with his new team.

“I kind of knew I was getting traded, and when I found it was the Boston Bruins I was really excited,” said Holden. “Obviously they’re having a great year and it’s a really good team, so I’m very excited to get started. It worked out good that I was able to get in two days ago and go out with the team to dinner [in Toronto] and kind of meet everybody right away. It’s been great.”

Holden admitted it will be a change for him going more zone defense than man-to-man as it’s been in the past with the Rangers and the Avalanche, but those things tend to work themselves out in short order.

Otherwise it was a full group for the Black and Gold on Friday morning with Kevan Miller (upper body) fully healthy, and Tuukka Rask named as the starting goalie for Saturday night’s big game vs. the Maple Leafs.

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Maple Leafs based on Friday’s practice session:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak
DeBrusk-Krejci-Spooner
Heinen-Nash-Backes
Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Grzelcyk-McQuaid
Holden-Miller
Postma

Rask
Khudobin

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