Bruins

Olynyk spills beans about Bruins' Hamilton's broken ribs

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Olynyk spills beans about Bruins' Hamilton's broken ribs

BOSTON - Kelly Olynyk may be getting some angry stares from the guys down the hall.

Not the visiting team - but the Boston Bruins.

Olynyk, who played through a badly bruised left eye, accidentally spilled the beans Wednesday night after the Celtics' 100-87 win over the Pacers:

Dougie Hamilton is dealing with broken ribs.

Hamilton hasn't played since Mar. 21, missing the last five games, but the Bruins keep their injury news top secret - so nobody knew exactly what the injury was aside from "upper-body".

While discussing his eye injury, the Canadian-born Olynyk joked that he couldn't miss Wednesday's game or he'd hear it from Hamilton, who had divulged the broken ribs information to him a couple days ago.

“I remember two days ago I was texting Dougie Hamilton and he told me he broke his ribs and he’s trying to come back before the playoffs," Olynyk said. "I was like, ‘Man I can’t sit out, he’s gonna rip me' . . . all those hockey guys would have killed me so I had to do it.”

Olynyk obviously didn't know the injury was a secret, and probably feels bad about it.

Perhaps those hockey players will kill him for an entirely different reason now.

Jack Studnicka out of Bruins lineup vs. Lightning in NHL round robin

Jack Studnicka out of Bruins lineup vs. Lightning in NHL round robin

The Bruins always intended to mix and match combinations and players during the round robin games while readying for the true Stanley Cup Playoff rounds that await next week, and that’s exactly what they will do against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.

Promising 21-year-old prospect Jack Studnicka will be a healthy scratch after a disappointing night for the second line in the Sunday afternoon loss to the Flyers, and instead Nick Ritchie will skate in his first game since Phase 4 began at the Toronto bubble.

Studnicka skated with a second group of Bruins players after the main practice, though the youngster was, for all intents and purposes, the second line forward who stood out the most during a pretty invisible afternoon for Krejci and DeBrusk.

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He had four shot attempts in 11:36 of ice time in Sunday’s loss to Philly and had a hustling back-check to break up a 2-on-1 in the first period that was one of the few B’s highlights from the entire afternoon.

“Tuukka is scheduled to start. Ritchie goes in and plays with Krejci and Kuhlman on the right,” said B's head coach Bruce Cassidy. “That’s how they practiced [on Tuesday]. We don’t want to overanalyze one particular game, but that’s where we’re at to a certain extent.

“[Studnicka] is going with the second group. He’s healthy. We’re trying to go with a smaller group on the day before the game. He was out after practice with [Trent] Frederic and [Zach] Senyshyn to get some work.”

Ritchie will play the left wing with Krejci and Karson Kuhlman on the second line, and Jake DeBrusk will drop to third line right wing alongside Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork.

Ondrej Kase won’t play against Tampa Bay, but is expected to get into this weekend’s round robin finale vs. the Washington Capitals ahead of the traditional playoff rounds. Some of it is obviously about getting all of his players some game action this week, and some of it also about a couple of disappointing games and a “low energy” practice on Tuesday that has caught Cassidy’s attention.

“It’s a tough mental part right now. You don’t know who your opponent is going to be next week and you still want to pick up wins,” said Cassidy. “You’re trying to balance that urgency while preparing for your first playoff opponent, so tomorrow [against Tampa Bay] should be a good test for us and bring out of the best of us.

“Yesterday was a good day. We worked on a lot of offensive principles, shooting the puck and getting to the net. Today we lacked a little energy. We addressed that. Part of the mental challenge for every team in this tournament is creating your own energy. We as coaches might have to look at that as well. Do we need to bring more? Should there be more chatter? Should we assign to the assistant coaches some verbal cues when [players] need to step up.”

Here are the expected line combos and D-pairings for Wednesday night’s round robin game vs. the Lightning:

FORWARD LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Nick Ritchie David Krejci Karson Kuhlman
Anders Bjork Charlie Coyle Jake DeBrusk
Joakim Nordstrom Sean Kuraly Chris Wagner

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk Jeremy Lauzon

GOALTENDERS

Tuukka Rask
Jaroslav Halak

Brad Marchand 'not concerned' about how Bruins have looked in first few games

Brad Marchand 'not concerned' about how Bruins have looked in first few games

The Bruins certainly haven’t impressed anybody out of the gate thus far in dropping both of their games after a five-month layoff due to COVID-19.

They have been outscored 8-2 in losing both their exhibition game vs. the Blue Jackets and their opening round robin game against the Flyers, and there hasn’t been much to write home about it in either game.

David Pastrnak scored on a nice individual play vs. Columbus and Chris Wagner scrapped for a fourth line goal vs. Philly, but the Perfection Line has been quiet while the special teams haven’t been all that good either.

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Both goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak looked rusty between the pipes as well, so most of the team’s strengths during the regular season have been MIA thus far in the Toronto bubble. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Pastrnak had one shot on goal apiece until late in the proceedings against the Flyers and were all minus-2 or worse when the game was over, so clearly Boston’s best players left a lot to be desired at both ends of the ice.

Still, don’t count them as concerned with two more round robin games left against Tampa Bay and Washington prior to the real playoff rounds starting next week.

“Instead of trying to make plays out of nothing, we’re going to have to try to get [pucks] in deep a little bit more and wear teams down low while making our plays in deep,” said Marchand. “We do tend to want to be more of a rush line and create opportunities on the rush, but with the ice the way it is right now it’s too tough. We’re just going to have to simplify a little bit. We’re going to get our looks and when they are there and they’re clear, then we can make them. But the ones where we’re trying to force it, we need to be a little smarter and get it in deep.

We’re not concerned about the way the last few games have gone. We’ve been off for six months and it’s going to take a couple of games to get back into it. But when we do, then [the goals] are going to come in bunches.

Certainly Boston’s top players looked passive with the puck, slow to react and hesitant to shoot when given a lane, and that is not very much like any of the Perfection Line guys when they are feeling it offensively.

In the past, there have been plenty of instances when Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak can look downright bad on the ice if there really isn’t much to play for within the game. They looked dreadful for a week or two at the end of the 2018-19 regular season once everything was clinched for the postseason, but then came on like gangbusters in the NHL postseason against the Toronto Maple Leafs and everybody else.

Perhaps they weren’t going full tilt in round robin and exhibition games that have little bearing on the actual playoffs, but that should change with the next couple of round robin tilts against Tampa Bay and Washington. These are teams that the Bruins will absolutely want to make statements against as they edge closer to the traditional four rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So the Bruins' top players aren’t "concerned” right now, but there might be a different answer from them if it’s more of the same Wednesday night against the rival Lightning.