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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Patrice Bergeron set to return to Bruins lineup after missing seven games

Patrice Bergeron set to return to Bruins lineup after missing seven games

With the Bruins appearing a little out of focus in the last few games, they will get one of their important leaders back for Monday night’s road game with Patrice Bergeron returning against the Ottawa Senators.

Bergeron has missed the previous seven games while working back from a lower body injury that’s forced him to miss nine of the Bruins' last 11 games, and over the last week, he slowly ramped up to his return to his rightful place this morning centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak at the Canadian Tire Centre.

Bergeron has eight goals and 24 points in 21 games this season while centering two of the top scorers in the league, and is obviously still one of the top two-way centers in the NHL at 34 years old. But amazingly the Bruins went an impressive 6-1-2 in the nine games that Bergeron has missed with injuries as of late, and they pulled off a number of third-period comebacks without their No. 1 center.

That being said, the Bruins have forced Bruce Cassidy to mix and match the lines as of late as Pastrnak’s offensive binge has slowed down and the offense has scored just 13 goals in the last six games while missing a key part of their top line and top power play unit.

Bergeron should help all of these things upon his return while allowing David Krejci and Charlie Coyle to slot into their normal spots in the lineup. But it will be interesting to watch how fully Bergeron has healed up his lower body injury, and whether or not it’s something that might continue to dog him like the chronic groin issues he’s battled over the last few years.

With Bergeron set to make his return, here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings against the Ottawa Senators based on Monday’s morning skate:

PROJECTED LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk David Krejci Danton Heinen
Anders Bjork Charlie Coyle Brett Ritchie
Joakim Nordstrom Sean Kuraly Chris Wagner

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
John Moore Matt Grzelcyk

STARTING GOALIE

Tuukka Rask

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Extra defenseman Steven Kampfer placed on waivers by the Bruins

Extra defenseman Steven Kampfer placed on waivers by the Bruins

With the return of John Moore to good health and a general lack of tight focus to the team recently, the confluence of events pushed the Bruins to make a move ahead of a four-game road trip next week.

The Bruins announced that they have waived veteran defenseman Steve Kampfer at noontime on Sunday for the purpose of sending him down to the AHL. It was clear the B’s were going to opt for the 31-year-old Kampfer rather than Connor Clifton, who just a couple of weeks ago passed the 60 NHL games played barrier that would also require waivers for him to be sent down to the AHL.

There’s a far greater chance that a team would put a claim in on the 24-year-old Clifton, who has two goals and a plus-5 rating in 24 games for the Black and Gold this season.

The final straw for Kampfer was the healthy return of Moore, who missed the first 28 games of the season coming back from shoulder surgery. But Moore has played in back-to-back games for the Bruins and collected an assist in Saturday night’s 4-1 loss to the Avalanche while showing that he’s all the way back from an injury suffered during last spring’s playoff run.

Kampfer has played in just four games for the Bruins this season as their seventh defenseman after putting up three goals and six points in 35 games as their spare D-man last season. While there’s a chance that a team could put a claim in on Kampfer, the likelihood given his age and experience level is that he’ll head to Providence to stay sharp for when another round of injuries inevitably hit the Bruins on the back end.

There’s also no question that a player being put on waivers that’s been with the Bruins for the last couple of seasons might be enough to also shake the complacency out of a B’s group that’s been sleepwalking against opponents over the last couple of weeks. They are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, of course, but they have needed a handful of third period comebacks after making slow starts the norm as of late.

There’s also the chance that the Bruins need the cap savings associated with Kampfer’s $800,000 cap hit after Moore’s $2.75 million cap figure was added back onto Boston’s books once he got healthy earlier this week.

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