Bruins

David Krejci missing from practice, Bruins intend 'to take our time with it'

David Krejci missing from practice, Bruins intend 'to take our time with it'

BRIGHTON, Mass – Bruins center David Krejci was missing from the practice ice on Tuesday and will be re-evaluated on Wednesday after exiting his preseason debut after just two shifts due to a lower-body injury.

It was a first-period collision with Philly defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere that appeared to tweak something on Krejci’s right side, but it was unclear at the time if it was a hip, knee or ankle that was the source of the problem. Bruce Cassidy said following the game that he didn’t believe the injury was serious that the 34-year-old Krejci was removed from the game more for precautionary reasons than anything else.

Cassidy was sounding a bit of the same tune following Krejci’s absence from practice on Tuesday with the aim of making sure the Czech playmaking center ready for the Oct. 3 season opener in Dallas.

“Obviously he didn’t skate today. He’ll be re-evaluated [on Wednesday],” said Cassidy. “I don’t think right now that it’s anything serious, but we’re going to take our time with it for sure. We want to make sure he’s ready to go [for the regular season].”

Given all of that, it certainly wouldn't be surprising if Krejci is shut down for the remaining two preseason games regardless of the injury's severity. 

Swedish free-agent signee Par Lindholm took Krejci’s place during Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and certainly the Bruins have enough depth to withstand a short absence. But what if Krejci is banged up enough that it costs him the rest of the preseason, or even worse part of the regular season?

Well, certainly Charlie Coyle has looked ready, willing and able to bump up to the second-line center and perhaps the drop off wouldn’t be all that noticeable in the short term. But the Krejci injury would have a cascade effect on both the third and fourth line for the Black and Gold.

Sean Kuraly would most likely be elevated to third-line center, which is probably asking a little too much out of the perfect fourth-line center. Either Lindholm or a youngster like Trent Frederic would center the fourth line, and that would undoubtedly impact the kind of quality minutes provided by the fourth line last season.

Clearly, the biggest area of concern with a Krejci absence is on the offensive end where the center is coming off a strong season with 20 goals and 73 points in 81 games. It’s true that the Bruins have four quality centers at the NHL level when everybody is healthy, but that depth gets tested when the Bruins find themselves in need of a top-6 center.

Jack Studnicka has a bright future and arguably Boston’s top forward prospect in the organization, but it’s been plain throughout camp that the 20-year-old needs some development time in the AHL. 

“It’s going to be tough in the middle for Jack. We’d have to move pieces around, which we said we would do [if he was ready]. But I don’t think he’s there yet and that’s fine. With Jack, there is great hockey instincts and great will, but I just think he hasn’t grown into his body yet strength-wise. It is what it is,” said Cassidy. “But we like how he’s playing. Is he ready to unseat anybody? I wouldn’t say so yet.”

The bottom line: The Bruins have to be hoping that it’s nothing serious with Krejci’s lower body as they have been maintaining the past two days.

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Zdeno Chara admits 'it's hard to look at' the NHL stoppage based on Bruins chances

Zdeno Chara admits 'it's hard to look at' the NHL stoppage based on Bruins chances

As the oldest player in the NHL, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara doesn't really know when his last chance to win another Stanley Cup will come.

It might have been last season when the 43-year-old Chara led the B’s to within a Game 7 of winning a Stanley Cup against the St. Louis Blues only to brutally come up just short. Then again, it looked like Chara and the Bruins had another solid chance this year while leading the entire NHL with 100 points with roughly a month left to go in the regular season.

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Then, things were put on pause due to a coronavirus outbreak that has brought the entire world to a standstill.

For aging players like Chara, 34-year-old Patrice Bergeron, 33-year-old David Krejci and 33-year-old Tuukka Rask, this season might be their last, best chance to win another Stanley Cup before the championship window perhaps begins to close on the Black and Gold.

Chara was asked how much that was on his mind as he sits in his Florida home with his wife and children while waiting out the coronavirus outbreak with no real knowledge as to when, or if, hockey will be back around the NHL this season.

Clearly his mind is on the seriousness of the situation, as the priority is on getting people through the next few weeks when the outbreak could be at its most intense in the US. But Chara also said the unknown of it all with this season is more than a little disconcerting.

“It is obviously one of those situations that you can’t really control. Right now we all have to look after each other and look after our families,” said Chara, on a Zoom webinar conference call with reporters organized by the NHL on Monday afternoon. “I know it’s kind of a cliché answer in these days, but hockey is really secondary. If you have to look at it that way then, yeah, it’s kind of hard to look at the pause on the league at the stage where we were at.

“With only a few games until the playoffs and so close to the playoffs with the team playing well and with confidence, we were obviously in a good place. But who knows? We can’t always wish for the perfect situation. These types of situations do happen once in a while. Hopefully we play again and we’ll see when that’s going to be.”

With places like California, New York City and Florida getting hit hardest by the coronavirus right now, even a conference call with hockey players was about thanking medical personnel, first responders and other people stepping into the breach right now.

“These are strange times. There are challenges we’re all facing right now. Most of us are away from the things we love to do. The things we don’t have to work, to play and to entertain people. Hopefully we get through this. A huge, big thank you has to go to the medical professionals, the people that are volunteering and the people that are delivering food,” said Chara. “It just takes time. We have to stay patient, and safe, and disciplined. There is no other way to do it, but to do it together.”

The words are inspiring for the longest-running captain in the NHL and one of the best leaders of his generation in all of pro sports. Hopefully, Chara and the Bruins get that chance to see good they can be in the playoffs over the next four months with an NHL that’s going to do everything they can to make sure there is a postseason conclusion to a 2019-20 regular season that had been almost entirely played out.

Bruins' Zdeno Chara spills the tea on Tuukka Rask's 'awful' farting issue

Bruins' Zdeno Chara spills the tea on Tuukka Rask's 'awful' farting issue

Zdeno Chara was probably not the Vegas favorite to give the funniest and most entertaining answer of an Atlantic Division Zoom conference call with NHL reporters, but that’s exactly what happened on Monday afternoon.

Chara, Dylan Larkin, John Tavares and Brady Tkachuk answered questions online for 30-plus minutes and the Bruins captain saved his best material when asked which teammate he’d least like to be quarantined with.

His choice was Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and the reasons behind it were pungently amazing.

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Apparently, Rask has an issue in the fart department and it’s chronic enough that his longtime Bruins teammate would not want to be anywhere near him for the stinky aftermath of his beloved chicken wings.

“I have to say Tuukka Rask. The way he farts? The smell is awful,” said Chara. “He likes his chicken wings. And after the chicken wings I’ve had to sit behind him on the bus. I’ve got to tell you. I’ve got to control myself sometimes.” 

How this farting issue remained a well-kept secret within the Bruins locker room over the years is nothing short of amazing. 

Rask has been a regular at Buff’s Pub in Newton over the years while living in the suburban city, so none of this should be surprising information when it comes to Boston’s No. 1 goaltender.

On the other end of the spectrum, Chara singled out Charlie Coyle and Kevan Miller as teammates he enjoys spending time with and guys he wouldn’t mind being quarantined with if he had his choice.

On a more serious note, Chara, who mentioned during the call that he drove to Florida a couple of weeks ago with his family to live in their gated community property, mentioned several times that hockey is secondary right now while the entire world is going through the “strange times” of a global coronavirus outbreak, and thanked the medical personnel, first responders and food delivery people who continue to do their duty under very dangerous, trying conditions.