BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins will welcome Jake DeBrusk back into the lineup on Thursday night against the Arizona Coyotes and it appears that Ryan Spooner (lower body) might be headed toward another stint on the injured reserve.
Spooner has only been back a handful of games since tearing his groin, an injury that cost him more than a month of the season, when the center sustained a similar injury in the loss to the Nashville Predators on Monday night.
DeBrusk was out the past three games with an upper-body injury and had two goals and five points in the previous five games before getting injured in the loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
Spooner has been ruled out Thursday night and might be headed for the IR depending on his prospects for playing this weekend. Don Sweeney and Bruce Cassidy were planning on having a roster discussion on Thursday afternoon. A quick IR stint for Spooner would save the Bruins from having to make a more permanent roster decision.
With DeBrusk coming back, underperforming wingers Frank Vatrano and Matt Beleskey would appear to be most at risk of losing their spot unless the Spooner injury can give them a little more time. At this point, however, it feels like the Bruins have cemented their opinions on the players that have been with them all season.
“It’s not about second chances necessarily. I think every player that’s here has been given an opportunity to play. Some more than others, I get that. But if this is our best lineup then it’s our best lineup, and we’ll have to make the appropriate decisions when we get there,” said Cassidy. “When we do [make the decision] we’ll have a discussion on what makes us the best team and how we want to approach that.”
Given the roster crunch, the Bruins have engaged in some level of trade talks involving Vatrano, and to a lesser extent Spooner and Beleskey, and could potentially get something back for players they might lose for nothing if placed on waivers en route to Providence. Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings after an optional Thursday morning practice at Warrior Ice Arena with Tuukka Rask set for goaltending duties:
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the Bruins are going into troll mode.
*Here is the aforementioned “troll mode” for the Bruins now that they’ve clinched the playoffs. They came out with a marketing campaign where they’re dragging FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Felger for his early season take that the Bruins season is over. He also ripped the young players at the beginning of the year as well, so they used the sound from “Felger and Mazz” with video clips of David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy dominating for the Black and Gold, and shots of the young players mean mugging at the camera. It definitely shows that the Bruins perhaps care a little too much about what the media thinks about them, but it’s also a fair bit of clap-back toward a take that was a little too harsh on the B’s early in the season.
*What a great piece on the Stoneham Douglas hockey team as they embark on a national hockey tournament after winning at the state level in the weeks after the Parkland shooting.
*Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman says the Hawks aren’t shaken even as they’ll be missing the playoffs for the first time in a long time. What a disappointing season.
*Despite a great season, Taylor Hall may end up missing the playoffs with the New Jersey Devils amidst his Hart Trophy-type season.
*Good news for the Toronto Maple Leafs as Auston Matthews is entering back into the lineup from injury ahead of the playoffs.
*For something completely different: This new, updated version of the Karate Kid web series looks awesome with Billy Zabka and Ralph Macchio.
Bruins star center Patrice Bergeron has been dealing with a fractured foot injury since late February. He sustained the injury while blocking a shot in the loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Coach Bruce Cassidy is predicting a return for Bergeron this weekend against the Minnesota Wild if he is medically cleared. He will be evaluated tomorrow.
Depending on the results from the evaluation, there might not even be a need to rush Bergeron back with the Bruins clinching a playoff berth in a 2-1 OT loss to the Blues yesterday evening.
MORE BRUINS: Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues
The Bruins currently sit two games behind the Tampa Bay Lighting for first place in the Atlantic Division. Ten games currently remain on the B’s schedule with the Presidents' Trophy also hanging in the balance.
If the B’s decide to make a run for the Presidents' Trophy, Bergeron would definitely provide a boost in play in addition to leadership for the final stretch of the regular season.