|Peter Chiarelli: Post-concussion symptoms accompanied progress with Nathan Horton||04.11.12 at 12:53 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli met with the media towards the end of Wednesday’s practice to discuss the team’s decision to shut Nathan Horton down for the playoffs.
Horton, who suffered his concussion on a Jan. 22 hit from Flyers forward Tom Sestito, was having a rough time in his recovery. He tried skating days after the concussion, but was shut down after suffering a setback. Horton returned to the ice last week, but he continued to feel post-concussion symptoms and the B’s didn’t want him to put pressure on himself to rush back.
“We felt it just wasn’t in the long-term interest of Nathan to be having the specter hanging over him of trying to come back during this playoff season,” Chiarelli said. “He’s made one step forward, and then two steps back and we just made the determination, upon consultation with our doctors, with Nathan, that it would be prudent to shut him down for the playoffs and continue to rehab for next year.”
The one step forward/two steps back is what made the decision clear for the Bruins.
“He’d be improving and then he’d have some symptoms,” Chiarelli said. “They weren’t huge symptoms, but they’d always come up at some point after three, four, five or six days of positive stuff.
“It was a frustrating exercise for Nathan, it was a frustrating exercise for us because we’ve been through this rehab before with players and I’ve seen all kinds of rehab patterns now because usually you can see when the player has color, and when he’s animated, you think he’s turned the corner and then they have a bout of post-concussion symptoms and they manifest themselves in different ways. With Nathan, sometimes it’d be just a fogginess, sometimes he wouldn’t feel right and sometimes there’d be a big headache. But it was always after three, four or five days of positive progress.”
Chiarelli added that Horton, who had 17 goals and 15 assists for 32 points in 46 games this season, was “relieved” when the decision was finally made to shut him down. The GM said Horton will rehab in off-hours and “might take a couple weeks off.”
“I think with Nathan, he gets within the group and he looks back at his contributions this past year and last playoffs and he starts getting anxious and that probably compounds it, too,” Chiarelli said. “I think he felt a sense of relief, and again talking to Nathan over the course of the last couple of weeks, he doesn’t look bad ‘ he looks good actually. But he gets these bouts ‘ the fogginess doesn’t feel right and you have to be very careful.”
Chiarelli was asked whether he is confident that Horton will be ready for next season, but as the B’s have learned in the past, you never know with concussions.
“Yeah, I am but who knows? Who knows?” he said while shrugging. “IGoing into two weeks ago you had asked me [about[ him playing this playoffs, I [would say], ‘You know, there’s a chance.’ And then he had a couple of setbacks and then you have to take a step back and kind of look at the whole thing and that’s what we did.”
One thing that Chiarelli was adamant about was whether this concussion, which was initially termed “mild,” had anything to do with the concussion he suffered less than seven months earlier on a hit from Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals.
“Totally unconnected, totally unconnected and the symptoms were completely different,” Chiarelli said. ‘¦ “It was clear to me it was totally unconnected to the first concussion.”
WILMINGTON — The Bruins finally gave a little more news on Adam McQuaid.
McQuaid missed practice for the third straight day Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena. After the skate, B’s coach Claude Julien announced that McQuaid, who is dealing with an upper-body injury, will not be in the lineup for Game 1 against the Capitals Thursday.
|Adam McQuaid misses third straight practice||at 10:51 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The lines and attendees of Wednesday’s practice was unchanged for the Bruins, as Adam McQuaid remained the only absence. McQuaid is still out with what the team is calling an upper-body injury.
Here are the lines:
Milan Lucic ‘ David Krejci ‘ Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand ‘ Patrice Bergeron ‘ Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot ‘ Chris Kelly ‘ Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille/Jordan Caron ‘ Gregory Campbell ‘ Shawn Thornton
|Nathan Horton done for the season||at 10:43 am ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins announced Wednesday that right wing Nathan Horton will miss the 2012 postseason. The news comes as no major shock, as Horton has been out since late January with his latest concussion.
Horton suffered a concussion on Jan. 22 against the Flyers on a hit from Tom Sestito, his second concussion in less than seven months. He had previously been knocked out of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals after a hit from Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome left him concussed in Game 3.
In 46 games this season, Horton had 17 goals and 15 assists for 32 points. He had tried to resume skating in early February, but suffered a setback before eventually returning to the ice last week. Despite the fact that he was skating, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Sunday that Horton was a “long shot” to return during the postseason given the two weeks he would need to return after eventually being medically cleared.
It was on April 28 that year when Hunter laid out Pierre Turgeon, after Turgeon had just scored the clinching goal for the Islanders late in the third period of the decisive Game 6 of their opening playoff round against Hunter’s Capitals.
Hunter was understandably ticked. But he inexplicably checked Turgeon from behind and into the side boards, separating his shoulder and knocking him out of the next round against the defending champion Penguins.
Hunter received a then-record 21 game suspension for the hit. Turgeon returned for the semi-finals against the eventual champion Canadiens after missing seven games.
Fast forward 19 years and Hunter is now coaching the Capitals in the first-round series against the defending champion Bruins. The Capitals – who finished with the best record in the NHL two seasons ago – were 42-32-8 but had to struggle to get into the playoffs this season in the final week, finishing as the No. 7 seed. That’s quite a change for a team that fired Bruce Boudreau early on this year because they were 12-9-1 and underachieving with names like Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin.
“You can say the Capitals have probably underachieved a bit this year,” Lucic said of the Capitals, who actually won the season series against the Bruins this year, 3-1. “They have a lot of great players over there that can definitely do some damage. They’ve had some success against us this year. Season success and playoff success are two different things, which we’ve found out in the past. We know that they’re a great team and have a lot of great weapons and a lot of great players who can step up and be an impact in this series and I think that’s what’s going to make this a real challenging and hard-fought series for us.”
Hunter instilled a new dedication to physical play and no doubt realizes his finesse-laiden Capitals need to channel at least some of his toughness against the new Big Bad Bruins in order to have a chance.
“Especially playing under Dale Hunter, I’m sure they’re going to be real physical,” Lucic said. “They have some forwards that definitely will get in there and get dirty. Even a guy like Ovechkin is not afraid of the physical play and likes to use his body. It’s a way that they have success. For us, we have to do whatever we can to be physical and I think that’s what’s going to make it even a better series because both teams are going to go after each other.
“Part of our identity and part of our success is being physical, regardless of who we play so we have a game plan and we have a type of way we’re going to play and playing physical is one of the ways. We’re going to do everything we can to establish a forecheck and finish our checks and it’s important for us to do that.”
Lucic insisted the Bruins aren’t about to take the Capitals lightly and certainly place no significance on their No. 7 position in the conference.
“I think you definitely learn a lot,” Lucic said. “You can take from what you’ve done in the past and kind of use that experience, hopefully to your advantage. One thing that we did [this season] was that we never took anyone or any opponent for granted. Just because we’re second and they’re seventh doesn’t mean a thing right now. What happened last year is last year. This is a new year, new playoff. Everyone starts off at 0-0. It’s important for us to have a good start, come out strong and hopefully have a good game in Game 1.”
|Tim Thomas: ‘We just need everybody to be as good as they can be’||04.10.12 at 6:17 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Tim Thomas won the Conn Smythe Award for the most outstanding player of the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup title run. He was the man between the pipes as Boston became the first team ever to win three Game 7s en route to a Stanley Cup championship.
The man knows the pressure that comes with playoff hockey.
So, what’s the key to handling it?
For the answer, Thomas looked back to the 25th and final game of the team’s memorable run last spring in Vancouver.
“Before Game 7, when we were talking in the locker room, one of things we were saying as a team was, everybody was tired by that point,” Thomas recalled Tuesday, two days before he opens defense in Game 1 against the Capitals. “It’s a long playoffs. Everyone’s got bumps and bruises and more than bumps and bruises, and they’re tired.
“Instead of putting pressure on ourselves to come out and think we needed in Game 7 the best game of our lives, as a group we made a decision that we don’t need everybody to be better than they’ve ever been in lives before. We just need everybody to be as good as they can be and that will be enough to make us come out on top. So, that’s probably the same type of attitude we need to take this year.”
He thinks this team is talented enough to make a legitimate run at it again.”
WILMINGTON — What is the key to Claude Julien‘s power play finding success this postseason?
“Not waiting till the finals, that would be one key,” Julien said Tuesday.
Julien was, of course, referring to last season’s power-play struggles. The 2010-11 Bruins were many things, including the team that got to the Stanley Cup finals without a functioning power play.
They didn’t score a single power-play goal in the first round (0-for-21 over seven games), and the B’s went 5-for-61 on the man advantage in the playoffs before waking up with a 5-for-27 showing against the Canucks.
This season, the Bruins finished the regular 15th in the league on the man advantage, converting 17.1 percent of the time. However, the man advantage crawled to the finish line, going converting on just two of 21 power plays in the last 10 regular-season games.
On Tuesday, the Bruins worked on their power play, with the first unit consisting of Zdeno Chara, Joe Corvo, David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Brian Rolston, while the second unit featured Dennis Seidenberg, Rich Peverley, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin.
“This is a little bit of I guess touchy subject for everybody for quite a while now,” Julien said. “I think we finished 15th so we finished in the middle of the pack this year, but again, when you look at our team and you say well we’ve got one guy with 29, 27 goals our scoring is spread we don’t have those [Steven] Stamkoses. We don’t have those kind of guys.”
Regardless of where the Bruins’ man advantage finished in the regular season, the B’s know that it’s all about the playoffs now. Just as the Canucks, who finished the 2010-11 regular season with the best power play in the league (24.3 percent) but went 2-for-33 in the Stanley Cup finals against the Bruins.
“Back in the finals, we played a team that had the number one power play but then they ran into a gritty group of penalty killers and at the end of the day we were able to win that match up,” Julien said. “It goes hand and hand, and we keep working on it everyday because we know that’s an area becomes a challenge for us.”
The Bruins could exceed last season’s first-round power-play performance with a tally on the man advantage Thursday.