Bruins

Bergeron, Backes both ruled out for Bruins' opener tonight

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Bergeron, Backes both ruled out for Bruins' opener tonight

BRIGHTON -- It's certainly not the most ideal of situations, but the Bruins are going to be “tinkering” with their lineup right out of the starting gate for the regular season.

Already missing Torey Krug with a fractured jaw, Patrice Bergeron (lower body injury) and David Backes (illness) are both out of the Bruins lineup for opening night against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden after missing Thursday morning’s optional skate. Bergeron has skated for just a portion of one practice over the last five days, though the hope is that he’ll be able to return for Monday afternoon’s game against Colorado after a weekend off.

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Backes has missed the last couple of days with an undisclosed illness, and it sounded like he might miss some more time based on the vagueness of Bruce Cassidy’s comments on Thursday morning. With Bergeron missing from the lineup, Ryan Spooner is expected to center Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork and Frank Vatrano will step in for Backes.

“It throws a few lines into the blender, so we’re going to see some tinkering tonight,” said Cassidy. “Whatever the lines are, we want to play with pace and we want to be hard on the puck, and hard around the puck. That’s what we’re asking from all 12 forwards in the lineup.

“Psychologically I feel great and I’m looking forward to getting the season started. I hope all the players feel the same way. Obviously we’d love to dress the strongest lineup that we can, but one door closes and another one opens. It’s opportunity for other guys and we’ve just got to put our best foot forward. There are some good individuals out of the lineup, obviously, so we’ve got to do it more as a team tonight. That’s what is right in front of us.”

The good news is that Krug will meet with doctors on Friday after a scan of his healing jaw, and the puck-moving D-man hasn’t been ruled out for a possible return on Monday. Either way his return should be coming at some point next week based on the three-week timetable originally given from his time of injury last month.

Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for Bruins opening night:

Marchand-Spooner-Bjork
DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak
Beleskey-Kuraly-Vatrano
Schaller-Nash-Acciari

Chara-Carlo
Miller-McAvoy
Grzelcyk-McQuaid

Rask

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.


 

Cassidy takes issue with no 'third man in' call

Cassidy takes issue with no 'third man in' call

BOSTON – Brad Marchand understands the rabble-rousing game as much as anybody at the NHL level.

So, the Bruins left winger isn’t going to be the one to complain when somebody begins targeting him with the same kind of borderline hits and rough-edged play that he doles out on a regular basis. That was the case again in the 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night at TD Garden.

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“That’s his game. I mean, [Tom Wilson] plays that way, and he’s effective at it, so, you know, that’s what’s got him a job in the NHL and continues to allow him to play,” said Marchand. “Again, you know, he’s effective at what he does.”

Marchand finished with a point and a minus-2 and was once again bumped and knocked around by the bigger, stronger Capitals team that knocked him out of the lineup with a high hit from Wilson more than a month ago.

Once again the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Wilson was at the heart of the proceedings in this one as he jumped on the back of Marchand, and caused the B’s winger to slam the back of his head into the boards after he’d already squared off with Dmitry Orlov following a whistle. Both Marchand and Orlov were understandably whistled for matching cross-checking penalties at the end of the second period, but Wilson got away completely free despite clearly jumping in as the third guy into the fracas.

Compare that with the lame third man in/instigator call against Jake DeBrusk last week when he stepped up to defend a teammate the proper way and it’s no surprise Bruce Cassidy was a little miffed at the officiating after the game Thursday.

“I voiced my opinion at the end of the period. I think it’s wrong. And to me, to just put two guys in the box in that situation, when a third guy comes in there should have been an additional call,” said Cassidy. “That’s the way I felt about it. They didn’t see it that way. Cleary two guys, [Dimitry] Orlov and

Marchy [Brad Marchand] was battling and for him to come in is unnecessary to say the least in that situation. Their job is to police it on the ice. In that particular instance, that’s the way they saw it. That’s the way it went.”

Of greater concern to the Bruins should be Wilson continuing to target Marchand in plays that result in smacking his head into the boards and putting him in danger of another head injury after he’s already been in the concussion protocol twice this season. Nobody from the Bruins stepped up to Wilson in the third period after pulling that stunt with No. 63. The feeling at this address is that it’s going to continue happening with Marchand until somebody decides they’re going to protect Boston’s star player. 

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