|10.26.10 at 1:36 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Marco Sturm hasn’t had the best of luck when it comes to health. Major injuries to each of his knees have cost him playing time over the last two seasons, the most recent of which has landed him on long-term injured reserve to open the 2010-11 campaign as he works his way back from a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee.
At face value, the Bruins received some positive news on Tuesday when Sturm did some light skating on his own prior to the team’s practice. Sturm took shots on an empty net by himself, saying that though he felt weak on the ice, he was encouraged by the session. Though Claude Julien said there is no timetable for Sturm’s return and the winger himself admitted it would be “tough” to return by late November, as initially expected, his captain noted that Sturm doesn’t need to be in the lineup for the B’s to feel his positive impact.
An upbeat Sturm could be seen around the Bruins throughout preseason and on the team’s season-opening trip to Europe, and despite not being able to take part in workouts or on-ice sessions with the team, he’s kept a grin on his face and the attitude of a guy who’s getting 20 minutes a night.
“[He’s been] absolutely tremendous and supportive,” Zdeno Chara said of Sturm. “You don’t even notice that a guy like that is being affected by injuries. He’s always in a good mood, always helpful to young players, to all of us. It’s just a huge boost for us to see a guy like that always having positive attitude and bringing that energy in the room.”
It’s only natural that a player spending an extended period of time off of the ice and out of the lineup could get the sense of not being quite involved with the team as he normally is. Given the team’s dynamic, however, Sturm said one would be hard-pressed to find that with this Bruins’ club.
“I think especially on this team, it’s never been an issue,” Sturm said. “For the last few years, the guys are always really happy when injured guys are around. Like today, guys were really happy because I was on the ice for the first time. We can tell. It’s a tight group and we’re one team and we just want to be the best.”
It’s no surprise that Chara agrees with Sturm’s assessment, whiling also noting that involvement that Sturm and the other players have made a point to maintain hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“We don’t have to do much,” Chara said. “Those guys are always a big part of our team, no matter what’s going on with them as far as injuries. They’re always included, they’re always a part of the programs that we all have to go through on a daily basis. To have a guy like [Sturm] coming back and see him skating, it’s awesome. It’s been a long road for him, and eventually it’s getting shorter and shorter for him. It’s nice.”
Sturm led the Bruins in goals last year, scoring 22 in 76 games last season. He is set to become a free agent at season’s end. Until then, and especially once he returns to the lineup, the Bruins can expect more positive things, both in production and in morale.
|10.26.10 at 11:18 am ET|
WILMINGTON — A smiling Marco Sturm chatted with reporters following his return to the ice on Tuesday, noting that he’s not taking any chances with his recovery and that he isn’t planning on returning to the lineup until he is at 100 percent health.
Sturm, who is recovering from a torn ACL and MCL suffered in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last year, skated very lightly for about half an hour prior to Bruins’ practice, taking laps and shooting on an empty net. He said that his sessions on the ice will be without teammates for at least the next two weeks as he gets a better feel.
“The knee’s going to let me know how things are going,” Sturm said. “Right now it’s just getting used to the ice again and getting stronger. I still know that I’m not that strong yet, so there’s still time to go, but I was really happy to be back on the ice today.”
The Bruins had initially anticipated a late-November return date for Sturm, but he noted that due to a couple of setbacks — fluid in his knee and the team’s European excursion — coming back at that point would be “tough.”
“I think all the traveling to Europe, I think all that didn’t really help.,” Sturm said. “But the whole team went, and I wanted to go too. It was good, but all the traveling, it didn’t help too much and that’s why I think [the rehab] has gone back a couple of weeks.”
|10.26.10 at 10:17 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Marco Sturm could be spotted doing some light skating and shooting around Ristuccia Arena as he works to return from a torn ACL and MCL suffered during last years’ playoff series. As teammates joined him on the ice, so too did Marc Savard.
Sturm, who led the Bruins in scoring last year, wasn’t getting in the hardest of workouts, doing more of this-and-that than anything substantial, but his return to the ice is undoubtedly a good sign for the Bruins as they look to overcome the injuries of Sturm, Savard, and Johnny Boychuk.
David Krejci was also on the ice as the first handful of players skated out. Krejci missed practice on Monday after getting his wisdom teeth removed. The rest of the team is set to take the ice at 11:00 am. After Sturm left the ice, the small group of Bruins consisted of Krejci, Savard, Brian McGrattan, Adam McQuaid, and Daniel Paille taking shots on Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask.
Here’s video of Sturm skating:
|10.25.10 at 11:14 pm ET|
According to a tweet from CTV’s Arpon Basu, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was in Montreal Monday night taking in the Canadiens’ 3-2 overtime victory over the Coyotes. Basu notes that in addition to Chiarelli, there were 21 scouts from around the league at the game.
The news that Chiarelli could be scouting the Coyotes is interesting, as it comes amidst reports from ESPN’s James Murphy that the Bruins are looking to move the likes of Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder, and Matt Hunwick as they try to get under the salary cap before the returns of Marco Sturm and Marc Savard.
|10.25.10 at 5:22 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins’ blue line was all the rage on Monday. Johnny Boychuk talked about the fractured forearm that will require a cast and keep him out four weeks, while Adam McQuaid spoke of his readiness to seize the opportunity that’s been put in front of him. With Boychuk out, McQuaid in and the Bruins’ defensive pairings shaken up, one veteran is confident that the team will get along just fine.
“He played on the top pair with [Zdeno Chara], so it’s going to be tough to replace a guy like Johnny, but I think McQuaid is going to do a good job,” Dennis Seidenberg said. “… I think we’re deep enough to replace a loss like Johnny, but I think we’ve just got to play our system and support each other well, and we’ll be fine.”
McQuaid said on Monday that he was going to do his best to fill the “big shoes” of Boychuk, but replacing a top-two defenseman is more than a one-man job. Each defenseman will have to make slightly bigger contributions, whether they be in the form of minutes or otherwise. Boychuk had averaged 20:23 of ice time through the Bruins’ first six games.
Seidenberg was correct in noting that while he expects his fellow blueliners to pick up some extra slack with Boychuk out, how much more each man can give depends on the player.
“Johnny was logging a lot of minutes, so everybody has to pick up a little bit,” Seidenberg said. “I don’t know if Z can pick up any more minutes than he played last game [31:48], but I think the other guys can definitely chip in a little bit more and help.”
Seidenberg remains on a pairing with Mark Stuart, though on Monday Andrew Ference made the jump to the top pairing with Chara, leaving McQuaid with Matt Hunwick on the third pairing. The team may continue to tinker with who plays with whom, and Seidenberg is open to anything.
“Playing with Z is always good. It makes stuff a lot easier, like I’ve said a lot of times before,” Seidenberg said. “But again, I think everybody’s going to play with everybody, and you just have to communicate out there.”
|10.25.10 at 1:41 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Here’s the video of Claude Julien speaking to the media following the Bruins’ practice on Monday at Ristuccia Arena. He talked about what losing Johnny Boychuk for four weeks means, and how the team has to respond to injuries.
“This is an opportunity to show that no matter what happens, we’re still a team and still a good team that’s going to stick together,” Julien said.
|10.25.10 at 1:37 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid has been a trooper for the Bruins, doing his work daily despite knowing that an injury to a teammate was likely the only thing that could get in him in the B’s lineup. McQuaid was a healthy scratch for the team’s first six games, but following the news that Johnny Boychuk will miss approximately a month with a fractured bone in his left forearm, the 24-year-old blueliner seems set to inherit quite a few games.
“I’m really excited. It’s not the way you want to get in, but I’m just trying to stay sharp in practice and injuries are part of the game,” McQuaid said after practice on Monday. “Chances were at some point in time, someone wasn’t going to be able to play, so I was just trying to stay prepared and be ready when I got the chance.”
McQuaid last played for the B’s in the preseason but has practiced with the team daily along with fellow healthy scratches Brian McGrattan and Daniel Paille, the latter of whom dressed in the season-opener in Prague.
So how does one keep themselves familiar with the speed of in-game scenarios when they’ve gone so long without seeing them? Much like Tuukka Rask said of his case during his recent start-less stretch, the name of the game is making the most of practice.
“Just [use] the game situation stuff in practice, that’s really all you can do,” McQuaid said. “Obviously it will be little bit different when I get out there, but I’ll just have to adjust.”
McQuaid skated in just 19 games last season and added nine more in the playoffs, something that he said was big for his development given the “intensity level.” He’s confident that he can make the most of this opportunity, and the Bruins believe he’s certainly capable of doing so.
“Every time he’s played for us, as far as I’m concerned, he’s never cost us,” Claude Julien said Monday. “It’s been simple and solid play, and we have confidence that he can step in and do the job.”
McQuaid, who had one assist over his 27 total games with the Bruins a season ago, knows that it’s only natural to expect a little rust when he takes the ice on Thursday against the Maple Leafs. He doesn’t expect it to last more than “one or two shifts,” as he feels he has managed to make the most of his time in practice.
The pairings in practice on Monday saw McQuaid teamed with Matt Hunwick on the third set of defensemen. Though he’s replacing Boychuk on the roster, he won’t let himself get too concerned with trying to replace a top-pairing defenseman.
“I’ve been itching to get in,” he said. “I haven’t gotten to play a regular-season game yet this year, so I’m looking forward to it. [Those are] big shoes to fill for Johnny, but hopefully I can just step in and fill somewhat of his shoes.”