|01.08.16 at 6:26 pm ET|
The family of Boston Pride forward Denna Laing, who suffered a serious spinal cord injury at the Outdoor Women’s Classic at Gillette Stadium last Thursday, has issued a statement on the status of the player.
Jerilyn and Dennis Laing revealed that the 24-year-old Marblehead native and Princeton product has limited use of her arms and no use of her legs.
“Denna was thrilled to be taking part in the inaugural season of the National Women’s Hockey League and was absolutely delighted to be one of the pioneers in a breakthrough moment for her sport — the Outdoor Women’s Classic. Tragically, Denna suffered a severe spinal cord injury playing the sport she loves,” Jerilyn and Dennis Laing said in a statement. “As of today, Denna has limited movement of her arms and no feeling in her legs. Our prayer going forward is that Denna can be moved from the Intensive Care Unit to a Rehabilitation Center and continue to fight everyday with her trademark grit and resolve.
“With respect to her long term prognosis, right now there are more questions than answers. We have received an incredible outpouring of love and support from countless friends and family members while we try to navigate this overwhelming situation. We are eternally grateful to everyone who continues to offer support as we take on this challenge together.”
The NHL also weighed in on the status of Laing as a number of statements were released simultaneously on Friday evening.
“Everyone at the National Hockey League, including the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, joins Denna Laing’s coaches, teammates, friends and fans in wishing Denna the very best as she confronts the challenges ahead,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “While we are certain Denna will be served well by the tenaciousness that is her trademark, we also will work with the Laing family to rally the support of the hockey family during Denna’s rehabilitation.
“We have withheld comment to this point out of respect for the wishes of the Laing family and will continue to honor those wishes going forward.”
Following are other statements on Laing that were released Friday:
NHL Commissioner Dani Rylan:
“The players, teams, coaches, management and staff of the National Women’s Hockey League are united in their support of Denna Laing and her family. To reflect our admiration for her as a player and our appreciation for her contribution to the NWHL’s first season, we are working with the Laings, our business partners and others to respond compassionately and appropriately to her injury. We will announce further details as soon as plans are formalized. Denna’s drive to excel has inspired teammates and coaches alike; in honor of that attribute, I have directed our teams to wear a helmet sticker bearing her uniform number, 24.’
“On behalf of the Jacobs family I would like to extend the full support of the Boston Bruins to Denna and the Laing family. The New England hockey community is an incredibly strong group, and we know the assistance that will be provided to Denna and her family will be unwavering both in the immediate future and throughout the various stages of treatment.”
The Kraft family:
“The Kraft family and entire Gillette Stadium community were deeply saddened to learn of the extent of Denna Laing’s injuries. Our prayers remain with Denna and her family in the hope that she will soon be able to transition to a rehabilitation center that will enable her to continue to improve. We will keep Denna and her family in our prayers throughout her rehabilitation process.”
|01.07.16 at 11:29 pm ET|
It looks like the Bruins are going to use David Pastrnak the right way.
After recalling the 19-year-old scorer from Providence, the Bruins skated Pastrnak on the right wing of Patrice Bergeron‘s line in Thursday’s practice. Loui Eriksson was at left wing, as Brad Marchand will serve the final game of his three-game suspension Friday night.
The line is extremely intriguing. Playing Pastrnak on Bergeron’s line has always seemed to make sense (see: Tyler Seguin‘s 29-goal 2011-12 season), but “the Bergeron line” usually means “the Bergeron and Marchand line.” Bergeron and Marchand have pretty much been a package deal since midway through the 2010-11 season, and for good reason. They’re among the best duos in the NHL.
Yet having Eriksson at left wing could have an interesting impact on Pastrnak. Both Eriksson and Marchand are scorers — they have 15 and 14 goals, respectively — but Marchand is more of an electric player with the puck on his stick than Eriksson. Bergeron, a very good scorer in his own right with 15 goals, can pretty much just dish to Marchand, count to three and be part of a scoring chance.
Eriksson does a lot of things, but he isn’t the skater or offensively ambitious player that Marchand is. With the exception of the 2011-12 season, when Seguin scored 29 goals, Marchand has always scored more goals than his line’s right wing.
Having Eriksson on the line could open up the door for the Bergeron line’s right wing to be more of a scorer.
“Brad creates a lot by having the puck and by me trying to send him with his speed,” Bergeron said. “I think Loui’s more territorial and possession and kind of slowing the play down a little bit more. They’re different in their own rights.
“Me being a righty, my tendency is to go to my left side a little bit more, so maybe my righties are not as happy with me, but we’re trying to use both sides. Brad’s got the puck a little bit more than Loui would. Loui likes to kind of send it and chip it and dump it a little bit more.”
Speaking after Thursday’s practice, Pastrnak seemed thrilled by the idea of playing with Bergeron. After not playing since Oct. 31 due to a foot injury and a lengthy rehab tour that took him to Finland for the World Junior Championships, he was probably just relieved to be back with the B’s.
Skating with both Eriksson and Bergeron will be a new experience for the young forward, but based on what Bergeron would want in a right wing on a line with Eriksson, Pastrnak sounds like a good fit.
“I think the righty needs to go a little bit more and use his speed more and try to [have] us find him,” Bergeron said.
Brett Connolly, who has spent a lot of time on the right wing of Bergeron’s line this season, has had both Marchand and Eriksson as his left wing.
“Obviously Marchy’s more gritty, in your face,” Connolly said. “Loui’s more [about] using his hockey sense to make some plays. He seems to always be in the right areas. Two good players. Two smart players.”
If Eriksson’s presence allows for more facilitating, Pastrnak could be beneficiary for at least a game. One would think Marchand and Bergeron would be reunited once Marchand’s suspension is up, but for now Claude Julien has an interesting line at his disposal.
|01.07.16 at 11:33 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins have placed Adam McQuaid on injured reserve with an upper-body injury and recalled David Pastrnak from Providence.
McQuaid, who suffered an apparent head injury on a hit from Zach Sill on Tuesday, will be eligible to return as soon as next Wednesday against the Flyers if he’s healthy.
Pastrnak has not played for the Bruins since Oct. 31 due to a foot injury. After a conditioning stint in Providence, he went to Finland to represent the Czech Republic in the World Junior Championships.
Pastrnak rotated in with Brett Connolly on the Bruins’ second power play unit.
|01.06.16 at 11:16 pm ET|
If and when Claude Julien writes a book on how to make still-developing defensemen good, Zdeno Chara will write the foreword, which will consist of “Play them with me,” and then the book will be over.
Chara has had some great partners over the years with the Bruins — Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton come to mind — but it’s no secret that Julien can take any player who is otherwise OK and make him very good by skating him with Chara. The reason, quite simply, is because Chara is such a dominant player that skating with him more than makes up for the difficult competition that comes with playing on a top pairing.
This has been the case for a number of players over the years. Among them: Zach Trotman, Torey Krug and Steven Kampfer.
Not Kevan Miller.
Miller, mysteriously, is the exception to this rule.
“But Deej!” you say. “That just means that Kevan Miller stinks!”
Not necessarily, and that’s rude. The 28-year-old Miller, who is still just 119 games into his NHL career, is an OK third-pairing defenseman, as some of the aforementioned names were when they were put on pairings with Chara. Yet instead of getting better when playing with Chara, this season has suggested that Miller gets worse when paired with the (somehow only) one-time Norris winner.
Miller’s most common partner this season has been Torey Krug, with whom he’s played 160:24 in 5-on-5. His next most-common partner has been Chara, with whom he’s played 120:22 of 5-on-5 time. Playing with Krug often draws so-so competition — Krug has had the fifth-toughest quality of competition among Bruins defensemen this season, using time on ice of competition as a barometer — whereas playing with Chara draws the other team’s best players, as evidenced by Chara having the hardest quality of competition.
Miller has been fine with Krug. The Bruins have outscored opponents when the two have played together — 2.62 goals for per 60; 1.12 goals against per 60 for a goals for percentage of 70. When Chara and Miller are together, the Bruins are outscored — 2.49 goals for per 60 and 4.49 goals against per 60, making for a rather horrifying 35.7 goals for percentage.
That’s the comparison of Miller with Chara versus Miller with Krug. The numbers of Miller simply with and without Chara are even more telling:
“But Deej!” you say. “Maybe Miller’s worse with Chara than players in seasons past because Chara has gotten worse! Chara just looks slower out there!”
No. Chara is still having the Chara effect on his partners. Including Kevan Miller, five defensemen have played at least 20 minutes of 5-on-5 with Chara this season. The four not named Kevan Miller all have better numbers with Chara than without him. All four — Adam McQuaid, Dennis Seidenberg, Colin Miller and Zach Trotman — have better goals for percentages with Chara, while Trotman’s minor bump in Corsi For percentage without Chara (48.8 with him, 49.0 without him) is the only trace of a player’s possession numbers not dipping when not with Chara.
Whether it’s the quality of competition that comes with skating as Chara’s partner or the fact that the duo lacks mobility, the Chara-Kevan Miller pairing has not been good. While that’s not reason enough to write off Miller altogether, it’s reason enough for Julien to separate the pairing, which he used to begin Tuesday night’s game against the Capitals.
If McQuaid is to miss any stretch of time, the numbers indicate that Julien would be wise to not play Miller to Chara’s right, where McQuaid has often played this season. The Bruins have other options — Trotman, Colin Miller — and Kevan Miller figures to be better off with Krug.
|01.06.16 at 7:22 pm ET|
The NHL has suspended Capitals forward Zach Sill two games for his hit on Adam McQuaid in Tuesday’s game against the Bruins.
The hit took place in the second period of the Capitals’ 3-2 victory, with Sill hitting McQuaid from behind in a play that saw McQuaid’s head hit the glass. McQuaid left the game and did not practice Wednesday. The Bruins have not shared any details regarding the defenseman’s status.
|01.06.16 at 12:51 pm ET|
This is the second consecutive and second overall All-Star nod for Patrice Bergeron. The silly event will take place Jan. 30-31 at Bridgestone Arena.
Bergeron leads the Bruins with 37 points. With 15 goals, he’s on pace for a career-high 32 goals. Bergeron has hit the 30-goal mark twice in his career, reaching the plateau in 2005-06 (31 goals) and 2014-15 (30).
Bergeron is the Bruins’ only representative in the tournament, meaning Zdeno Chara will not be able to participate in the Hardest Shot competition for the second-straight All-Star game. Chara holds the record for hardest recorded shot at 108.8 miles per hour, set in 2012.
|01.06.16 at 12:43 pm ET|
McQuaid suffered an apparent head injury in the second period of Tuesday’s loss to the Capitals. Wednesday marked the second time in three practices dating back to Sunday that Bergeron has not been on the ice.
Claude Julien did not offer an update on the status of McQuaid and termed Chara’s and Bergeron’s absences maintenance days. The lines in practice were as follows: