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Brett Connolly will be in Bruins lineup once he’s ready 03.31.15 at 12:57 pm ET
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Brett Connolly

Brett Connolly

Brett Connolly is not yet ready to play. Once he is, he will play, Claude Julien said Tuesday.

Connolly, who continues to skate with the Bruins, traveled with the team for Sunday’€™s game against the Hurricanes, marking the first trip he’€™s made with the team. He is getting more confident in his puck-handling and shooting as his surgically repaired right index finger. He hopes to begin taking contact soon, which is the biggest remaining hurdle.

Wednesday will mark four weeks since the injury, which the team said at the time would keep him out six weeks.

“I know they said six weeks, but four-to-six weeks I think is kind of where I’€™m aiming for,” Connolly said Tuesday. “I’€™m really excited, obviously. It’€™s getting better every day. Some days it feels a lot better, so that’€™s encouraging.”

The Bruins are currently playing David Krejci at right wing on Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand‘€™s line. Once Connolly is ready, however, the team could move Krejci back to center and build a line around Krejci and Connolly.

When Connolly broke his finger in his second practice with the B’€™s, he was skating on a line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson. Julien said it’€™s too soon to say where Connolly will slot into the lineup, but he clarified that it’€™s their intention to get put him in as soon as he’€™s ready.

“I think when the time comes, we’€™ll definitely put him in,” Julien said. “He’€™s a good player. In my mind, there’€™s no doubt we missed him through this stretch. When the time comes I’€™ll make that decision but certainly not open to talking about it right now.”

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Brett Connolly progressing, hopes to return before end of regular season 03.26.15 at 12:15 pm ET
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Brett Connolly

Brett Connolly

Bruins right wing Brett Connolly was initially expected to miss six weeks after a Dennis Seidenberg wrist shot left him with a broken finger in his second practice as a member of the Bruins earlier this month. On Thursday, Connolly skated with his teammates for the first time since the injury, following one order.

“Stay away from Seids,” Connolly recalled his teammates warning him.

Now that the initial despair from Connolly’€™s bad luck has turned into something he can joke about, his attention has been turned to an eventual return — or debut, rather — that could come sooner than initially thought.

After getting back on the ice last Monday and working extensively with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides, Connolly’€™s progress from his surgically-repaired finger is apparent. Though he hasn’t taken contact, he’€™s handling the puck and shooting. Connolly is not yet taking slap shots, but slappers aren’€™t a priority for the right wing. Once he feels he can properly grip the stick (he says his comfort level there is at 60 percent), be able to fire wristers and snap shots to the best of his abilities and participate in battle drills, he wants to play.

Ideally, Connolly said he would be back able to play again in the final week of the regular season.

“I hope so,” he said of a regular-season return. “I’€™m not too sure yet. My timetable, I know I’€™m getting closer, so I’€™m expecting to be back a few games before this regular season [ends], but we’€™ll see.”

Claude Julien wasn’€™t overly forthright regarding Connolly’€™s timetable and whether he’€™s ahead of schedule. He did say the Bruins have been encouraged with what they’€™ve seen from the 22-year-old and that they’€™re eager to see him play.

The acquisition of Connolly at the trade deadline was an intriguing one for the Bruins. Though trading for the former sixth overall pick (and restricted free agent to-be) was more of a hockey deal for future seasons than a typical deadline acquisition, he was expected to slot into the lineup as a potential top-six right for the B’€™s down the stretch.

That obviously hasn’€™t happened, and Connolly has instead experienced a slow acclimation process to the team and the city. The Bruins are not yet bringing him on road trips, but Connolly said he’€™s established good relationships with his teammates, even if he’€™s spent more time with Whitesides than with any actual players.

“I’€™ve been here for almost a month, so the guys have been great,” Connolly said. “I’€™ve gotten comfortable with not only guys, but the city and knowing your way around, knowing your way to the practice facility and things like that. Just little things that make you a little bit more comfortable. It’€™s obviously not been the three weeks I would have envisioned, but I’€™ve gotten to know the city a little bit, get to know my teammates a little bit better.

“I’€™m excited to play that first game. Obviously we’€™re in a playoff hunt, so I’€™m looking to get back out there as soon as I can.”

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David Krejci could return to Bruins this weekend, Brett Connolly skating 03.17.15 at 11:50 am ET
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The Bruins got a couple of encouraging signs Tuesday morning, as Brett Connolly skated for the second straight day and David Krejci took another step forward in his return from a partially torn MCL.

Connolly (broken finger) skated by himself prior to Tuesday’€™s morning skate, with the Boston Herald noting he is doing doing minimal work with the puck and not shooting. Krejci, meanwhile, took part in morning skate and could return to the Bruins’€™ lineup this weekend, according to Claude Julien.

Connolly has been out with a displaced fracture in his right index finger since getting hit in the hand with a Dennis Seidenberg wrist shot in his second practice with the team on March 4.

The Bruins had traded for his services just two days prior, sending second-round picks in the next two seasons to the Lightning for the 2010 sixth overall pick.

Though his injury didn’€™t impact his skating, the Bruins wanted to wait until after the player’€™s surgery before he started skating. He is not expected to return until late in the regular season at the earliest.

Krejci has been skating since last Monday. He called Tuesday ‘€œanother step forward’€ but said that he isn’€™t ready to pinpoint a return date.

“I don’€™t really have a timeline,” Krejci said. “I’€™ll just take it day-by-day. Whenever it feels 100 percent, I’€™ll be back.”

Krejci has not played since suffering the knee injury on Feb. 20. He has missed a total of 31 games this season due to various injuries.

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Brett Connolly hopes to play for Bruins before playoffs 03.08.15 at 11:45 am ET
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Brett Connolly

Brett Connolly

Bruins right wing Brett Connolly met with reporters prior to Sunday’€™s game, doing so for the first time since breaking the index finger in his right hand in his second practice with the team.

Connolly is expected to miss six weeks, but he hopes he can return before then and get into a regular-season game or two. He underwent surgery Thursday and will have an appointment Monday to see how the finger, which had a plate put over it, is healing.

The trade deadline acquisition said that he knew something was wrong when Dennis Seidenberg‘€™s wrist shot hit him in Wednesday’€™s practice. He didn’€™t react as such, however, as he skated and chatted with the defenseman immediately after.

“Obviously he came to see if I was OK, and you want to lie to him and tell him that you’€™re OK, but when your finger looks broken, it’€™s [obvious],” Connolly said. “For me, I felt bad for him because it was just such a harmless shot. It was just a wrister that was just in a spot that I couldn’€™t get out of the way. It just hit me in a weird spot.”

Connolly had his right hand surgically reconstructed after breaking it in an accident as a five-year-old. He said Sunday that his current injury is unrelated and that he’€™s happy with his latest surgery.

Julien said that Connolly will not travel with the Bruins for the time being. Connolly hopes to begin skating soon and adding more drills and eventual puck work as his finger heals. For now, Julien said the team wants him to focus on feeling better.

“I think right now it’€™s more about his recovery for the first few weeks, at least,” Julien said. “We’€™ve been talking to him. We’€™ve already shown him a lot of stuff about our team, about our system that he’€™s very well aware of before the injury actually, so I’€™m sure that watching us play is going to help him a lot in regards to that. If he’€™s got some questions, we’€™re always there to answer those things, but he’€™ll be fine. He’€™ll have a good idea of what to do when he’€™s ready to come back.”

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Pierre McGuire, on MFB, respects Peter Chiarelli: ‘I think the price points were a little excessive on trade deadline day’ 03.05.15 at 1:41 pm ET
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Pierre McGuire

Pierre McGuire

NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to look back at what the Bruins did at the trade deadline and to discuss other NHL matters. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Bruins didn’t add any defensemen at the deadline, rather trading for forwards Brett Connolly and Max Talbot. Many have said the asking price for some of the defensemen available was just too high, and McGuire agreed.

“I respect Peter [Chiarelli] because I think the price points were a little excessive on trade deadline day, I can tell you that,” said McGuire.

One of the players the Bruins did add in Connolly suffered a broken finger in practice and is now out for six weeks. McGuire said the former Tampa Bay forward has had some questions in the past.

“There were questions about his ability to be a complete player and then you compound that with the hip flexor and the abdominal stuff and there were more questions about him,” said McGuire. “All that being said, I know in Tampa they had high hopes for him, but I think if they had a mulligan and they could do it all over again in that draft, they would have taken Cam Fowler instead of Brett Connolly.”

Even with all the injuries the Bruins have had to deal with this season, McGuire still expects them to make the playoffs. He also referenced the 1992 Bruins when they used 55 players during the season because of injuries. He still has a lot of faith in the Bruins’ organization.

“I still think this coaching staff is amazingly good,” said McGuire. “I think the management group is outstanding. The future for the team is extremely bright, they have some very good young players coming. Everybody is kind of panicking now, I understand that if you’re a fan of the team, I don’t bet on any of the horses in the race, but I can tell you the Bruins are a very respected franchise in the league.”

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Brett Connolly, Max Talbot, Peter Chiarelli, Pierre McGuire
Torey Krug knows Brett Connolly’s return from broken finger will last longer than missed games at 11:57 am ET
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Torey Krug

Torey Krug

The six-week period that the Bruins will be without Brett Connolly is step one of an undesirable two-step process through which the team will have to work. After that comes the other hard part.

No injuries are easy to return from, but it can take a long time for a player returning from a finger injury to feel right. The fact that Connolly will go through the re-acclimation process in the postseason is far from optimal.

“It sucks,” Torey Krug said Thursday, and he would know.

Krug suffered a broken left pinky finger suffered on a slash from Zach Parise Oct. 28.

Though he returned after four games out of the lineup, his time getting comfortable again far eclipsed the length of period he stayed out of game action. A player whose bread and butter is his slap shot, Krug was limited to wrist shots and landed three shots on goal in just one of his first 11 games back. He had only one point — a goal — in that span.

“For me, I was always thinking about my finger and wondering how it was going to feel,” Krug said of his return from the injury. “When I had the puck, I was wondering if somebody was going to try and slash my hand again, so it was just a lot of thinking. It took me a while to get to the point where I didn’€™t have to think about it anymore.”

How long? About two months, by Krug’€™s estimation. He’€™s now playing with a new glove he received that has an extra-thick block of padding around the left pinky, which gives Krug peace of mind more than anything.

The slap shot issue won’€™t be a major problem for Connolly given that he’€™s a forward and doesn’t need to take many slappers, but Krug feels bad that Connolly’€™s first games with the Bruins will be spent trying to forget about an injury.

“He’€™s looking for a fresh start and was very excited about the opportunity that he had here to have that,” Krug said. “We were equally excited to have him. Being a forward in that position, you’€™re playing with the puck maybe a little bit more and you’€™re shooting the puck and you’€™ve got to handle it quicker. I can definitely feel for him, for sure.”

Connolly, who will undergo surgery on his right index finger, becomes just another name on a lengthy list of Bruins who have missed stretches of time due to injury this season. He joins Krug, David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller and Gregory Campbell.

“I know it’€™s happened a lot this year, but it’€™s just of how things have gone,” Krug said with a laugh, almost in disbelief. “We were very excited about what he could bring to the team, but now we can’€™t sit here and dwell on it. We have guys in this room that are capable of stepping up and filling voids, and they’€™re going to do that.”

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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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