|Savard drops by the Garden||04.08.10 at 12:06 pm ET|
Bruins’ center Marc Savard dropped by TD Garden for the team’s morning skate on Thursday and spoke to the media to give an update on his condition after sustaining a Grade 2 concussion after a hit from Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke on March 7. Savard still looks a little pale and speaks like a person not used to being out of bed but said there has been progress.
“I am starting to feel better. I have been getting out a little bit and doing somethings, you know, getting out of the house. Starting to feel better, that’s for sure and hopefully it continues,” Savard said. “I am still not quite feeling 100 percent.”
Severe concussions are a tricky injury to come back from because there can be good days and bad days. Kind of a two steps forward, one step back type of ordeal. Savard reiterated multiple times that he is “starting to feel better” and that he has been able to get out of the house and do some walking around.
“I have made some steps this week, especially with the good weather I have been able to get outside, get some color and definitely this last week I have felt better,” Savard said.
Part of the recovery process is dealing with an irregular sleep cycle and Savard expressed that was one of the biggest problems that he has been having.
“Obviously I am on a little bit of medication to help me through that because my sleep has been a little bit all over the place. I have had some trouble sleeping through the night but the doctors gave me a prescription to get through that. Having some bad dreams and stuff like that but nothing I can’t get over,” Savard said.
Until Savard is symptom free, he said he is not even going to start to think about hockey related activities. Right now it is enough just to be able to watch the games and root for his teammates.
“There is still minor headaches and some other stuff that I am still cautious about and until that goes away I am not going to look at coming back. For now I am cheering the boys on and able to watch now,” Savard said.
|Recchi nominated for Masterton Trophy||04.07.10 at 1:21 pm ET|
Mark Recchi has been nominated by Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association for the 2010 Bill Masterton Trophy, presented to the player who exhibits “to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
“It is a great honor, obviously. I kept on plugging along here, and it also means I am old,” Recchi said. “There have been some great players who have been awarded this, and it is just a great honor to be able to play in the NHL still, and I love it and it is nice to be recognized.”
The 42-year-old Recchi has played in all 79 games for the Bruins this season, collecting 17 goals and 25 assists for 42 points. He has gradually moved up the NHL’s all-time scoring and games played lists. He is now ninth all time in games played (1,569), 22nd in goals scored (562), 17th in assists (922) and 13th in points (1,484).
With all his accomplishments, Recchi said that he is leaning toward playing next year as opposed to going into retirement.
“I definitely am leaning toward the other way than I am towards retirement,” Recchi said. “I am still having a lot of fun, and this time of year coming up here is what we ultimately play for and I am looking forward to it.”
Recchi has been a dressing room leader for the Bruins since being acquired at the trade deadline last season, and the young Bruins appreciate having him around. Milan Lucic, who is half Recchi’s age, knows how important it is to have a veteran like Recchi available to him.
“Yeah, there is no question that he should be up for that award,” Lucic said. “You know, he comes to the rink and works hard every day. There are not a lot of 42-year-olds who can move like him, but he is great and he is a great leader. Definitely as a young guy he is someone you can look up to and even if you have a question about anything just someone you can talk to and he is there for you all the time. Congrats to him, and he has a great chance to win.”
Lucic said that the shock of playing with a future Hall of Fame member has worn off a little bit since Recchi’s arrival, but it is still great to be around the elder forward as he climbs various all-time lists.
“It was more so [a sense of awe] when he first came here, but obviously this year when he is moving up the goal ladder, it is fun to see, it is cool to see,” Lucic said. “One day when I am done playing I can say that I played with Mark Recchi, so that will be something cool to say.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien has appreciated having Recchi around as a player as much for his play on the ice as well his ability to help the young players along, especially guys such as Lucic and Blake Wheeler, who should be able to make decent livings in the NHL camped out in front of the net, Recchi’s forte.
“Well, we have talked a lot about that this year and rightfully so,” Julien said. “He has led us on the ice without a doubt, and obviously his experience in different situations in the dressing room and with our captain and assistants, he has been a good player that way as well. It is hard for young guys to not want to follow when they see a guy that has been around that long lead by example. His work ethic and commitment, I can’t say enough about what he has brought to our team this year.”
|Big minutes coming for the blueliners||04.07.10 at 12:39 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — What happens when the core disintegrates?
You could take the movie version like in that terrible version of a modern B movie “The Core” in which there are a lot of mysterious lightning storms that happen to strike over Rome as an example. Or maybe in the new blockbuster “2012” in which the world tears itself to shreds and humanity’s elite are forced to take refuge in the digital age version of the ark. Either way, it was not that pretty.
Perhaps not quite as dramatic, but the Bruins have relied on steady defense and goaltending this year to put themselves in position to make the playoffs despite their league-worst offense. Yet, in the last week, the Bruins have had two of their top three defensemen need to have surgery and their best blueliner and captain break his nose. Mark Stuart will miss about two weeks after having surgery for cellulitis in his finger and Dennis Seidenberg is out for the rest of the season (barring some miraculous playoff run) after having surgery to fix a lacerated flexor carpi radialis tendon in his left forearm that he sustained in the first period against Toronto on Saturday.
The Seidenberg surgery came more out of the blue because it seemed that he was all right on Tuesday after he talked to the media, giving no indication that an operation was imminent.
“I think in the morning he felt pain and obviously before the game we tried something with him and in the warmup he still felt pain,” coach Claude Julien said. “In the short time I have known him I think it is pretty obvious that he is a tough individual, so for him not to go something was obviously wrong and the diagnosis we got from Toronto was not the same diagnosis we got here.”
Add to that the perpetual mystery that is Andrew Ference (out for the regular season but being evaluated every day) and Boston has all of a sudden become very light on the back end.
Practice at Ristuccia on Wednesday looked a little more like training camp than a team preparing for its final three games in a season in a playoff race. Adam McQuaid and Andrew Bodnarchuk have been recalled to the Bruins from Providence, and the ways things are going they are up for longer than just the usual “emergency basis.” On the offensive side, Trent Whitfield and Brad Marchand are not exactly the players one would expect to see on the roster in early April, but so it goes. (To be fair, Marchand and Whitfield have earned their extended cups of coffee.)
|Getting behind the Rask||04.06.10 at 1:54 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins had a light practice at Ristuccia Arena on Tuesday after returning from Washington the night before. Everything seems copacetic around the team in this final week of the season — the B’s are three points above the playoff demarcation line with three games to play and have a distinct advantage over the free-falling eighth-place Flyers — goaltending.
Tuukka Rask has been the most valuable player for the Bruins since the Olympic break (with apologies to Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci) and one of the best, if not the best, goaltenders in the NHL this season. There probably will be no Vezina Trophy for Rask considering how much time he has split with Tim Thomas this season, or even a Calder Trophy for the league’s best rookie. It does not seem to matter to Rask, who does not let the talk faze him or the pressure of his first playoff race affect him.
“Try not to let the pressure get on you and play the game,” Rask said. “Try not to let too many outside things get into my head. It has been my approach since day one and do my best out there.”
Rask leads the league in goals-against average at 1.99 and save percentage at .930, both ahead of Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, the goaltender who has garnered the most buzz this year especially after leading the U.S. Olympic team to a silver medal in Vancouver. A lot of professional athletes will say that they do not care about the statistics that fans and reporters pore over every day, but then you see them in the dressing room staring at the same stat sheet that everybody else is handed after the game. With Rask’s easygoing demeanor, when he says that he does not really pay attention to the stats, it is easy to believe him.
“It’s just stats. I think people like to look at them more than the players,” Rask said. “You know, it is funny when goalies play good and a lot of people talk about them and then suddenly you are the man and and then you don’t play so good and you are not the man anymore. I just try to do my job and have fun out there.”
When asked if how he felt about his progression through the season, Rask just shrugged as if his entire rookie season was not all that important. At least not until it is actually over.
“It has been a good year,” Rask said. “I have done the things that I wanted to do but I don’t think it is time to look back on the season right now. We’ve still got three games left in the regular season and the playoffs and we can talk about it after the season.”
Ference skates, no timetable for return
Defenseman Andrew Ference skated on Tuesday morning though he is still not quite sure when, or if, he will be able to get into a game before the season (including the playoffs) ends. He is struggling with an odd tango that comes with groin/hernia injuries because it is very much a “one step forward, one step back” type of process. Ference said that he is trying to get the swelling in the area down with treatment that includes alternating trips between the cold and hot tubs, massage and some light activity (including skating). The goal for Ference is to be able to come back and play more than a few games and be healthy enough to be a productive member of the team.
“When the guys were away we tried to get a lot of the swelling out,” Ference said. “It is kind of deja vu progress and try to get all the swelling and blood out of there so that I can skate properly and try to, obviously, get to a point where I can help somewhere down the line.”
Ference has come to accept the injury ward. As a veteran he understands that it is an inescapable part of the game and there is really no use being frustrated.
“It is part of the game. If I was 20 years old and hadn’t been around that long I would probably be more frustrated,” Ference said. “But, you get a little better mindset about it when you are older because it is not something that you can control. So you deal with it, suck it up and get better. I am not going to sit and pout about it.”
Spoken like a true veteran of countless hours of physical therapy.
|Bruins gain important two points in Toronto||04.03.10 at 9:50 pm ET|
Summary — The Bruins continue to look for ways to apply pressure in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, and they got a much-needed pair of points in Toronto on Saturday with a 2-1 overtime win against the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.
Miroslav Satan scored the game-winner in overtime with 1:35 left when he deflected a Zdeno Chara blast from the point into the net to light the lamp and end the game. Tuukka Rask got the win for the Bruins with 27 saves out dueling Jonas Gustavsson’s 28 stops in the process.
Toronto took the early lead when Colton Orr found a Dion Phaneuf rebound in the slot in front of Rask at 5:10 in the first period. He put it in the back of the net while getting pushed to the ice to give the Leafs the early 1-0 lead.
Boston came back after getting outshot 14-5 in the first period to tie the game in the second. David Krejci took an outlet pass down the left wing, took the puck to the top of the circle and torqued a backhand shot on Gustavsson. The puck slipped through the crease to where Satan was waiting on the other side to bang home the rebound for his seventh of the year to even the game at 8:01.
Miroslav Satan — Got his seventh and eighth goals as a Bruin which tied the game then won it in overtime.
Tuukka Rask — The man behind the mask has been the Bruins best stalwart of late and stood tall against the Leafs to earn the vital two points.
Zdeno Chara — The Bruins captain was had to dig deep with the Bruins very shorthanded on defense after Dennis Seidenberg left the game with a cut to his arm and Mark Stuart was shipped back to Boston with cellulitis in his hand. Chara logged 32:53 of ice time and led the team in blocked shots to help keep the puck out of the net.
Turning Point — Phil Kessel had a self pass off the wall at center ice in the that created a 2-on-1 with Tomas Kaberle midway through overtime. Kessel had space and tried to center the puck, but it was broken up in front of Rask to end the threat. Less than a minute later, the Bruins came back to score the game winner of Chara’s shot and Satan’s deflection.
Key Play — Chara set up from the point and delivered one of his patented slap shots that deflected off of Satan’s stick with enough power to flash passed Gustavsson to earn the vital two points.
|Second period summary: Bruins vs. Maple Leafs||04.03.10 at 8:45 pm ET|
Giving David Krejci some new wingmen has paid off, for a period at least.
Boston got back into the game with its first goal in 88:01 of game play. Captain Zdeno Chara started a break out when he hit the open Krejci in the neutral zone going down the left wing. Krejci broke through the zone and got to the top of the face off circle before torquing his body and throwing a backhand wrist shot on Gustavsson that rebounded through the crease to Miroslav Satan perfectly positioned on the other side for the bang back score.
An opportunity came for Boston via the power play when Christian Hansen took an interference call at 10:45. The Bruins had good puck control on the man-advantage (which has not always been the case this season) though the Leafs penalty kill blocked a series of shots including two by Rickard Wallin on consecutive Chara shots from the point to kill off the penalty.
Dennis Seidenberg did not return after cutting his arm in the first period and are now quite shorthanded on defense combined with the loss of Mark Stuart to cellulitis. Regardless, Boston played much better in the second period and outshot the Leafs nine to eight and trail the game in the category 22 to 14.
|First period summary: Bruins vs. Maple Leafs||04.03.10 at 7:51 pm ET|
If there was ever a must-win game, Saturday at Air Canada Centre in Toronto is that kind of game for the Bruins.
The results will be twofold. Foremost, the Bruins are only a point ahead of the Thrashers and tied with Flyers for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. Secondly, if Boston wants to get a top two pick in the NHL Entry Draft this summer, they have to beat the team whose pick they own to keep them down in the standings.
So, you would think that the Bruins would be motivated and jump on the division rival Leafs early, right?
Not so much.
Toronto took the early lead at 5:10 into the game when Colton Orr, much more known for his bruising than goal scoring, pushed a rebound off a Dion Phaneuf shot pased Tuukka Rask to open the scoring.
Four minutes later the Leafs would have a big chance to make it a two-goal advantage when Michael Ryder went to the penalty box for hooking at 9:15. He was followed there 23-seconds later by Dennis Seidenberg who took a boarding call to set up 1:37 of two-man advantage ice time for Toronto.
The Bruins registered the kill and came back down the ice to put pressure on Leafs’ goaltender Jonas Gustavsson but a shot hit the cross bar and bounced back out of the crease to end the threat.
During Seidenberg’s penalty he had to leave the box with a cut on his forearm that needed medical attention. Defenseman Mark Stuart is not with the team after getting sent back to Boston with cellulitis, a skin infection, in his hand. Andrew Bodnarchuk has been recalled from Providence on an emergency basis.
Toronto has been the better team through the first 20 minutes and lead the Bruins in shots by nine, 14 to five.