|03.05.15 at 11:57 am ET|
The six-week period that the Bruins will be without Brett Connolly is step one of an undesirable two-step process through which the team will have to work. After that comes the other hard part.
No injuries are easy to return from, but it can take a long time for a player returning from a finger injury to feel right. The fact that Connolly will go through the re-acclimation process in the postseason is far from optimal.
“It sucks,” Torey Krug said Thursday, and he would know.
Krug suffered a broken left pinky finger suffered on a slash from Zach Parise Oct. 28.
Though he returned after four games out of the lineup, his time getting comfortable again far eclipsed the length of period he stayed out of game action. A player whose bread and butter is his slap shot, Krug was limited to wrist shots and landed three shots on goal in just one of his first 11 games back. He had only one point — a goal — in that span.
“For me, I was always thinking about my finger and wondering how it was going to feel,” Krug said of his return from the injury. “When I had the puck, I was wondering if somebody was going to try and slash my hand again, so it was just a lot of thinking. It took me a while to get to the point where I didn’t have to think about it anymore.”
How long? About two months, by Krug’s estimation. He’s now playing with a new glove he received that has an extra-thick block of padding around the left pinky, which gives Krug peace of mind more than anything.
The slap shot issue won’t be a major problem for Connolly given that he’s a forward and doesn’t need to take many slappers, but Krug feels bad that Connolly’s first games with the Bruins will be spent trying to forget about an injury.
“He’s looking for a fresh start and was very excited about the opportunity that he had here to have that,” Krug said. “We were equally excited to have him. Being a forward in that position, you’re playing with the puck maybe a little bit more and you’re shooting the puck and you’ve got to handle it quicker. I can definitely feel for him, for sure.”
Connolly, who will undergo surgery on his right index finger, becomes just another name on a lengthy list of Bruins who have missed stretches of time due to injury this season. He joins Krug, David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller and Gregory Campbell.
“I know it’s happened a lot this year, but it’s just of how things have gone,” Krug said with a laugh, almost in disbelief. “We were very excited about what he could bring to the team, but now we can’t sit here and dwell on it. We have guys in this room that are capable of stepping up and filling voids, and they’re going to do that.”
|03.05.15 at 11:19 am ET|
After losing a player they never actually had in their lineup, the Brett Connolly-less Bruins will piece together their forward lines without both the 22-year-old right wing as well as Gregory Campbell, who remains out with an upper-body injury.
Maxime Talbot will make his Bruins debut Thursday against the Flames. He is expected to skate on a fourth line with Brian Ferlin and Chris Kelly, though that could change if Claude Julien opts to play Kelly on the third line.
Daniel Paille figures to skate on the left wing of Carl Soderberg’s line, though Thursday’s optional morning skate made it difficult to tell.
Julien said in his Thursday morning press conference that Connolly will have surgery on his broken right index finger. He is out for six weeks after taking a Dennis Seidenberg shot off the hand in Wednesday’s practice.
|03.04.15 at 10:50 pm ET|
Maxime Talbot was having a weird season with the Avalanche. The team fell short of expectations and he wasn’t getting as many bounces as he’d like.
He’ll fit right in with the Bruins.
Talbot now joins a Boston team that knows a thing or two about underachieving. Everyone in the room has something to prove over the final 20 games of the season, Talbot included.
After winning the Central Division and finishing with the third-most points in the NHL last season, Colorado management put the pedal to the metal by signing Jarome Iginla and trading for Brad Stuart. The team’s performance took a mammoth step back, however, as the Avalanche sat 12th in the Western Conference entering Wednesday’s games.
In that sense, Talbot has gone from one underperforming team to another.
“They go from not making the playoffs to Patty Roy coming in and having an outstanding season and then you get to the season this year with the momentum and the rhythm of last year and you never lift off and then you’re like, ‘Ah,’ and you’re chasing your tail all season,” Talbot said.
“Winning comes with expectations, and I think we’d created expectations, which are a good thing, because it means you’re turning a corner and you’re becoming a winning team,” he added. “This year, I can’t pinpoint what happened.”
Talbot figures to serve as a fourth-liner for the Bruins. On Wednesday he skated on the right wing of the fourth line, which had Chris Kelly at center and Daniel Paille at left wing. That line will likely change now that Brett Connolly is out, as Kelly and Paille would appear to be the most likely candidates to move up to Carl Soderberg’s line to replace Connolly.
In 63 games with the Avs this season, Talbot scored five goals and added 10 assists for 15 points. His .23 point-per-game pace puts him behind the .35 clip at which he produced last season (25 points in 70 games).
As Talbot puts it, “offense is a bonus” in his game. He says he’ll do whatever he can — blocking shots, killing penalties, whatever Claude Julien asks of him — and hopes to make an impact.
“It’s more than personally, it’s about winning games,” he said. “It’s one thing when you don’t score and you win. It’s a different thing when you don’t score and you lose. It is refreshing to see new faces and have new teammates and try to get chemistry with different guys. I’m looking forward to it.”
|03.04.15 at 3:27 pm ET|
Bruins right wing Brett Connolly is out six weeks with a broken finger suffered in Wednesday’s practice, a league source has told WEEI.com.
Connolly was hit in the right hand with a Dennis Seidenberg shot in what was his second practice with the team since being acquired for two second-round picks Monday.
The Bruins confirmed the injury Wednesday afternoon, terming the injury a displaced fracture in Connolly’s right index finger.
Six weeks from Wednesday would be April 15, which would be the first round of the playoffs. As such, Connolly’s injury could end his regular season and, depending on how the Bruins perform down the stretch, his season altogether.
This is not the first right hand injury for Connolly, as he needed to have the hand reconstructed after jamming it in a metal gate as a five-year-old.
Connolly skated on Boston’s third line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson Wednesday. The 22-year-old had expressed excitement to help the Bruins in the stretch run after his trade from the Lightning this week.
“It’s a good situation,” Connolly said Tuesday. “It’s all up to me and the way I play. I just want to come in here and do the things that I’ve been doing in the last month. I feel like my game’s been taking off a little bit in the last month. [I’ve been] scoring a little bit. Obviously not playing as much as I would have liked in the last month, but playing physical and getting in on the forecheck and going to those dirty areas and chipping in a little bit offensively, scoring a few. Again, you just want to fit in as much as you can, so I’m excited.”
Connolly took to Twitter late Wednesday afternoon to express his disappointment with the situation.
Words can’t describe how disappointed I am. Not the start I envisioned but will be back out there playing with the guys as soon as possible.
‘ Brett Connolly (@bconnolly8) March 4, 2015
In 50 games this season, all with the Lightning, Connolly has 12 goals and three assists for 15 points. He will be a restricted free agent at season’s end.
|03.04.15 at 12:29 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Brett Connolly left Wednesday’s practice after getting hit in the right hand/wrist area by a shot from Dennis Seidenberg.
After getting hit with the puck, Connolly took off his right glove and examined where he was hit before eventually leaving the ice. He did not return to practice, with Claude Julien giving little information on the recently acquired right wing’s status.
“He got hit in the hand with a puck, so he’s gone to see our team doctor to be evaluated,” Julien said.
Connolly had been skating on the right wing of Carl Soderberg’s line in Wednesday’s practice. His presence on the right side moved usual right wing Loui Eriksson to the left side.
Gregory Campbell took contact Wednesday, though Claude Julien said he is “doubtful” for Thursday’s game and that the B’s may take their time with returning him to the lineup given the number of available forwards they have.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|03.04.15 at 10:55 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Max Talbot participated in his first practice as a Bruin on Wednesday, while Adam McQuaid returned to the ice after three days off.
With Talbot and McQuaid on the ice, all players were present. Talbot skated on the fourth line, where he could be part of a bottom-line rotation. Gregory Campbell, who as of Monday was not yet cleared for contact, served as the extra forward on Ryan Spooner’s line.
A day after skating on the fourth line, Brett Connolly skated as Carl Soderberg’s right wing, which moved Loui Eriksson to left wing on the line.
The lines and defensive parings in practice were as follows:
|03.03.15 at 7:12 pm ET|
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun wrote a story Tuesday that commended the Bruins for the hockey deal they made by getting Brett Connolly, but also revealed a couple of not-so-smart trade proposals the team sent out for a not-so-great player.
As had been reported throughout the season, the Bruins long had interest in then-Sabres forward Chris Stewart. LeBrun wrote that the Bruins offered at least two different packages involving good draft picks for the player but were rebuffed. The Sabres held out too long for a better deal and, after the Bruins got Connolly instead, Buffalo settled for a 2017 second-rounder from the Wild. The Sabres also had to retain half of Stewart’s salary.
A source told ESPN.com that on Saturday the Bruins offered the Sabres two second-round picks in exchange for Stewart, goalie Michal Neuvirth and depth forward Brian Flynn. Obviously that deal wasn’t accepted, the Sabres wanting a specific prospect that Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli just didn’t want to give up, feeling it was too high a price to pay.
Once Boston moved on Connolly overnight Sunday with the cost being two-second picks going to the Lightning, the bigger-package deal with the Sabres was off the table.
But even as far back as on the eve of the season, back in early October, the Bruins are believed to have offered Ryan Spooner and a second-round pick for Stewart. Murray decided to wait for a better offer. And again, the Sabres GM could very well have got that better offer in other years, it just didn’t play out that way this time.
Moving Spooner or a mid-round pick for Stewart wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Moving Spooner and a second-rounder would have been silly, especially considering Stewart’s difficulty staying motivated and the fact that he will be a free agent after the season. Chiarelli owes Tim Murray for turning those offers down, as they were both far better than what Buffalo ended up getting for Stewart.