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Source: Brett Connolly out six weeks with broken finger 03.04.15 at 3:27 pm ET
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Brett Connolly

Brett Connolly

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.

“€œIt’€™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.

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.

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Brett Connolly leaves practice after getting hit with puck 03.04.15 at 12:29 pm ET
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Brett Connolly

Brett Connolly

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.

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Adam McQuaid practices, Max Talbot arrives as Bruins lineup takes shape 03.04.15 at 10:55 am ET
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Adam McQuaid

Adam McQuaid

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:

Marchand-Bergeron-Smith
Lucic-Spooner-Pastrnak (Campbell)
Connolly-Soderberg-Eriksson
Paille-Kelly-Talbot (Ferlin)

Chara-Hamilton
Bartkowski-Seidenberg
Krug-McQuaid

 

Report: Bruins offered second-round pick and Ryan Spooner for Chris Stewart 03.03.15 at 7:12 pm ET
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Ryan Spooner

Ryan Spooner

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.

From LeBrun:

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.

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Dennis Seidenberg on trade deadline rumors: ‘You can never feel safe no matter what’ 03.03.15 at 6:15 pm ET
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The Bruins might be wise to explore trading Dennis Seidenberg this offseason. By all indications, they didn’€™t try it at the trade deadline.

Nick Kypreos speculated on Sportsnet last month that the Bruins were trying to dump Seidenberg in order to shed cap space before the trade deadline, but that was likely untrue. The Bruins never approached Seidenberg about waiving his no-trade clause and the team was not going to sell this season.

Still, it got Seidenberg’€™s attention.

“When your name pops up, you always think, but I hadn’€™t heard anything from here, which is the most important thing,” Seidenberg said Tuesday. “[The media’€™s] job is to write stuff and get conversation going, and people jump on that.”

Seidenberg is in the first year of a four-year, $16 million deal. He has a no-trade clause that he has said in the past he’€™d waive if the Bruins asked him to. His goal, however, is for it to not come to that.

“You can never feel safe no matter what — if you have a no-trade clause or not,” the 33-year-old said. “That’€™s why you always want to play your guts out and try to do your best to make it as hard as possible for them to trade you.”

Even if a team in better playoff standing had traded for the veteran defenseman, Seidenberg said that he considers the Bruins to be in as good a shape for a deep run as anyone else.

“This is where I want to be,” Seidenberg said. “This is the team I want to be on. I never doubted that I was going to leave. We’€™re a very tight group, and we’€™re going to pick it up and we’€™re going to play solid hockey. We all want to and hopefully it will happen.”

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Brett Connolly thinks his best hockey is ahead of him 03.03.15 at 1:15 pm ET
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Brett Connolly looks forward to a change of scenery. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Brett Connolly looks forward to a change of scenery. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON –€” Brett Connolly knows he hasn’€™t reached his ceiling. He’€™d like to do that with the Bruins.

The 2010 sixth overall didn’€™t become one of the league’€™s better players like Tampa’€™s previous first-rounders in Steven Stamkos (2008) and Victor Hedman (2009). He became expendable with the Lightning due to a crowded group of right wing prospects and was flipped to the Bruins for a pair of second-rounders in the wee hours of Monday morning.

After his first practice with the Bruins, Connolly said he feels he hasn’€™t scratched the surface of his potential.

“Oh yeah, for sure. I knew it wasn’€™t going to be easy coming in. Everything wasn’€™t always going to be going my way. I’€™ve had some ups and downs,” Connolly said. “I’€™ve played some good hockey, I’€™ve played some not-so-good hockey. I’€™ve been up and down. I played my first year [in the NHL. [During] the lockout, played in the American League, had a good team in the American League, went to the finals there. Then last year, up and down and this year obviously stayed the whole year. It’€™s exciting. I’€™m looking to take that next step and hopefully it’€™s here in Boston.”

This is not the first time Peter Chiarelli has targeted a high pick of small-market team whose career wasn’€™t going perfectly. Though Nathan Horton had a 30-goal season with the Panthers, he wanted a change in 2010 and Chiarelli gave up Boston’€™s first-round pick and Dennis Wideman for him.

That trade was obviously very successful for the Bruins. Connolly would like to have the same impact.

“Absolutely,” he said. “It’€™s a good situation. 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 was not a rental. The 22-year-old will not put the Bruins over the top offensively right now, but he figures to be a key young part for them going forward.

With 12 goals this season, his first full NHL campaign, Connolly obviously arrives with expectations to perform, but he doesn’€™t need to live up to the top-10 pick billing that he had in Tampa. That might be a breath of fresh air for the young right wing.

“€œ[I’€™m] just another piece of the puzzle. Obviously, you want it to go upwards your whole career, but a lot of the time it doesn’€™t do that,” he said. “Maybe a change of scenery will be good for me. I’€™m excited, obviously. It’€™s going to take a little bit to get familiar with everything. Obviously everything’€™s different, so you want to get comfortable as fast as possible and get comfortable out there on the ice, too. It’€™s exciting.”

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Gregory Campbell not cleared for contact, eager to see what role is when he returns 03.03.15 at 12:33 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — It’s not clear when or where Gregory Campbell will next play in the Bruins’ lineup.

Campbell has yet to be cleared for contact, but he said he is “coming along” in his return from an upper-body injury. The veteran center, who said he got hurt in the first period of last Sunday’s game against the Blackhawks, practiced with the Bruins Tuesday. He said he feels “progressively better” but is not sure whether he will be ready to play Thursday.

When Campbell is ready to return, his spot in the lineup won’t be as clear as it was before. In addition to adding to the top nine with Brett Connolly, the Bruins picked up fourth-line center Max Talbot, who could potentially push Campbell out of the lineup.

“I think we added two good players to the team, so wherever they’re going to play, they’re going to help our team,” Campbell said. “They’re players that bring different things, but in Max, he’s won before and he’s a good role player. In Brett, he’s a skilled guy, so there’s a lot of potential.

“I don’t really know how it’s going to shake out, but I know they’re going to help us.”

Chris Kelly has been centering the fourth line while Campbell has been out, and the line has, perhaps not surprisingly, been better. There was talk of potentially moving to Campbell to wing this season, which never happened, but it could now given the many options that Claude Julien for his fourth line.

“Maybe, yeah. Maybe. Whatever [Julien] wants,” he said. “Whatever he decides is going to benefit the team the most. It’s good to have some options. It’s good to have some centermen that are able to take draws and some interchangeable parts. Whatever’s going to happen, I’m sure it’s going to be best for the team.”

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