Joakim Nordstrom

Bruins rule David Krejci, Joakim Nordstrom vs. Maple Leafs Saturday

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Bruins rule David Krejci, Joakim Nordstrom vs. Maple Leafs Saturday

BRIGHTON, Mass. — With a big home-and-home series against the Toronto Maple Leafs set for the next couple of days, the Bruins opted to give their veteran core group the day away from the ice on Friday morning at Warrior Ice Arena.

It was a maintenance day for Patrice Bergeron (lower body), Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak after scoring 14 of the last 17 goals for the Bruins over the last six games, and both Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug spent the day off the ice as well. Joakim Nordstrom (upper body) and David Krejci (upper body) were also missing from the Warrior Ice Arena sheet at Friday’s practice — and neither of those players will travel to Toronto for Saturday's game.

“We have Backes as an extra that sat out with Nordstrom being out,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, of the expected replacement in the lineup. “He could slot in there. We may decide to get somebody from Providence if we want a different look down there. [Anders] Bjork has been playing well down there, [Brendan] Gaunce has been playing well down there and [Peter] Cehlarik. Those are the names that I have heard amongst other, so those are potential guys.”

Bjork, of course, has been tearing it up since the start of the season with three goals and six points in five games after being one of the last cuts in Bruins training camp. The Bruins wanted to leave him in the AHL for a spell to regain his offensive mojo and it seems pretty clear that he's done that while deserving another NHL look. 

The Bruins would prefer to keep him on the left side as they've done all season, and that would easy enough if they swung Heinen to the right side as he's done on multiple occasions over the last few seasons. 

While the message wasn’t spelled out by Cassidy following practice, it felt pretty clear given who was on the ice working and who was given a day to rest and recuperate. The Bruins focused on net-drive drills and taking the puck hard to the paint in practice as a reminder for the forwards to simplify their games while looking to produce some much-needed secondary scoring.

Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings based on Friday’s practice with Jaroslav Halak getting the start on Saturday night vs the Leafs:

FORWARD LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk Charlie Coyle Karson Kuhlman
Danton Heinen Par Lindholm Brett Ritchie
Chris Wagner Sean Kuraly David Backes

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk Connor Clifton

Cassidy laments lack of secondary scoring vs. Tampa>>>>>

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Joakim Nordstrom making his Bruins season debut vs. Avalanche

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Joakim Nordstrom making his Bruins season debut vs. Avalanche

The Bruins are one step closer to full health for their lineup with the news that Joakim Nordstrom will make his season debut for the Black and Gold on Thursday night.

The versatile Swedish winger will play against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in the fourth and final game of their season-opening West Coast road trip after notching wins in the first three games. Nordstrom was slowed by a foot injury suffered in the Stanley Cup Final last spring that was slow to heal over the summer and kept him from being a regular participant in training camp over the last month.

It appears that the Bruins will pull power forward Brett Ritchie from the lineup, per the morning skate lines and pairings, and he’ll join Par Lindholm as a healthy scratch after suiting up in the first three games of the season. Interesting to note that David Backes will remain in the lineup for the Bruins after serving as the healthy scratch in the second game of the season against the Arizona Coyotes. 

Lindstrom finished with seven goals and 12 points in 70 games last season while bouncing between the second, third and fourth lines, and was medically cleared to play on Tuesday after not appearing in any preseason game action.

Bruce Cassidy also told reporters that Jaroslav Halak will get the start against the Avalanche, though Tuukka Rask was also on the ice for morning skate after he limped off the ice due to dehydration and cramped muscles following Tuesday’s win Vegas.

Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings based on reports out of Colorado from Thursday’s morning skate:

 

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Kuhlman

Heinen-Coyle-Backes

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

 

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

 

Halak

Rask

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David Krejci missing from Bruins practice, status murky for opening night

David Krejci missing from Bruins practice, status murky for opening night

BRIGHTON, Mass. — Once again David Krejci (lower body) is missing from the practice ice on Monday morning a week after suffering an injury two shifts into his only game action of the preseason. Krejci and Joakim Nordstrom (foot) were both not skating at Warrior Ice Arena in the opening practice of the first regular season work week for the Black and Gold, and their absences put into doubt the availability of both players for the Oct. 3 season opener in Dallas.

Krejci collided with Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere in the first period of last week’s preseason game, and hasn’t been seen on the ice since, though the Bruins have maintained that the Czech playmaker should be ready to go for the regular season.

Otherwise, Anders Bjork, Trent Frederic, Jack Studnicka and Cameron Hughes were all missing from the practice ice as well and those young forwards have essentially been cut from NHL training camp and sent to Providence for AHL training camp. The Bruins haven’t announced those final moves as of yet while dancing around the uncertain availability of Krejci for the opener, but it’s expected they will deal with the absence of No. 46 with the players currently on the NHL roster.

If Krejci indeed doesn’t play on Thursday night against the Stars, it would be expected that Charlie Coyle would bump up to No. 2 center between Jake DeBrusk and Karson Kuhlman, and then the two bottom-6 lines would be a mix-and-match exercise with Nordstrom also out of the lineup.

“When Coyle’s on like that, he’s got a bit of Krech in him, right? He’s got the puck, he’s drawing people to him, those two guys find a way to get open. We’re encouraged by Charlie, the way he’s going offensively. Trying to attack a little more, whether he dishes or shoots, that’s decision as he gets closer to the net,” said Bruce Cassidy following Saturday’s preseason finale win over Chicago. “[I’ve] liked his game [and] liked his camp. Obviously, he’s done a good job, the numbers back that up on the scoresheet, but also, just watching every day in practice, he’s dialed in, ready to go.

“Maybe being here now, from the beginning, it’ll give him more confidence. I think the playoffs gave him confidence last year, a big part of us, our team’s success, scored goals. Looks like he’s taking off from there than maybe when he first got here. He could just be that guy that needs a little time to settle in. We like him in the middle, we think he’ll make our third line stronger, no matter who he plays with. It’s nice to know we also have a guy that, if Krech or Bergy go down, that can go up [the lineup].”

Krejci was healthy all of last season with 20 goals and 73 points in 81 games played, but his potential absence at the start of the season is a reminder that the Bruins core group is getting awfully rickety with so many key players well into their 30’s and 40’s at this point.

Here's how the Bruins lined up at practice Monday morning: 

FORWARD LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk Par Lindholm Karson Kuhlman
Danton Heinen Charlie Coyle David Backes
Chris Wagner Sean Kuraly Brett Ritchie

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk Connor Clifton
Jakub Zboril Steven Kampfer

GOALTENDERS

Tuukka Rask Jaroslav Halak

Four Bruins ranked among NHL Network's Top 50 players>>>>>

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