Banged up Bruins talking about “unfinished business”
|05.18.09 at 2:05 pm ET|
The end of an NHL season is usually rife with announcements of assorted surgeries and full disclosure of injuries previously hidden to the media through the season and the ensuing playoffs.
It’s no different for the Bruins this morning as they conducted their break-up meetings for the season and announced that David Krejci (impingement in his right hip), Phil Kessel (torn left rotator cuff and labrum in his shoulder) and Andrew Ference (torn groin, hernia) are all scheduled to go under the knife for a bevy of hockey injuries.
In addition to the surgeries, Chuck Kobasew was playing with broken ribs, Zdeno Chara had shoulder, knee and groin woes, Mark Recchi had surgery to remove kidney stones between the Games 6 and 7 and Marc Savard had a sprained knee that will require a month of rest. Despite all of that, each of those players soldiered through and for that the Spoked B skaters certainly deserve credit.
The skating B’a were seriously banged up by the end of the seven-game series against the Hurricanes, and it’s going to spill over into next year’s hockey season. Krejci and Kessel will likely miss the beginning of next year with both young players perhaps missing as much as a month of the NHL regular season. Krejci will be spending most of his summer in Boston recovering from the hip surgery that will most likely be performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly — the same surgeon that performed hip surgery last fall on Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell’s torn labrum.
The 23-year-old indicated he was getting regular pain-killing shots in his injured hip to help play through the pain by the end of the hockey season.
“There wasn’t one day that it didn’t bother me this year,” said Krejci, who said he sustained the hip injury in training camp and played his whole 73-point season with it nagging at him. “Everyday I woke up and every move I did I knew there was something wrong. The only place that I really felt comfortable was on the ice because the trainers did such a good job. It was the only place that I felt comfortable.
“I’m going to be here all summer with John Whitesides, Scott (Waugh) and Donnie (DelNegro) working with me, and I hope I’ll be even better than I was this year. Because you got to the game and you know there’s something bothering you, it’s in your head. I just wanted to get through the games. Once (the surgery) is done, I’ll be ready to go and I won’t be thinking about any of the (hip) stuff. I wasn’t able to do any lower body work during the season because of it.”
B’s General Manager Peter Chiarelli said that the injury issues shouldn’t affect the club’s approach to both Krejci and Kessel this summer. Both talented young Bruins are restricted free agents starting now, and could begin receiving offer sheets from other clubs if they’re not signed, signed and delivered to the Bruins by July 1. Expect the Bruins to lock up Krejci — with Chiarelli hinting that perhaps the B’s have already laid some groundwork for that signing — in the next few weeks, and then Kessel to be addressed later this summer.
“There were a variety of injuries that we had over the course of the playoffs,” said Chiarelli. “Everybody has injuries, but perhaps we had a few more than other teams. I have to hand it to the players for playing through those injuries.
“We’ve got some players to sign and some decisions to make, and we expect to be better next year. (Krejci and Kessel) are questionable to start next season given their surgeries and their prognosis. As far as their contracts go, I don’t see anything difference despite probably not being ready (to play) when the team starts. I would expect to take the normal course with them in trying to get them signed.”
The injury situation hasn’t lessened the sense of bothersome “gnawing” at the back of Chiarelli’s mind. The B’s architect feels there was plenty of unfinished business this spring, and that the Bruins could still be playing if they were a little bit grittier, a little bit tougher to play against and a little more dialed in after a romp over the Canes in Game 1 of the semifinals.
“There’s a gnawing sensation in the back of my head that’s not normally there, and it’s about this last playoff series,” said Chiarelli. “It’s about this season and it’s about unfinished business. We’re still all collectively disappointed about the way it ended, and I think what’s important to note is that throughout the course of the year the level of expectation has risen and risen and risen.
“That’s a good thing. The fact that we’re disappointed — while it doesn’t feel good — it bodes well for the future. In going through my head, there are a variety of reasons why we didn’t win that series. But the fact of the matter is that we’ve put another solid 3,4 0r 5 foundation blocks in place, and whether it’s experience, whether its new players, whether its another year with the tremendous coaching staff; there’s unfinished business but we’re on the right track. I don’t know if this gnawing feeling will go away this summer…but we’re heading in the right direction.”