|Notable progress made for David Krejci, Johnny Boychuk||11.13.10 at 1:09 pm ET|
It was easy to see on Saturday morning that David Krejci and Johnny Boychuk are improving, simply because one could actually see them. Krejci, out with a concussion suffered last Saturday took the ice for the first time prior to the B’s morning skate, while Boychuk, who has been skating, joined his teammates for the first time on Saturday.
“Both are progressing well,” Claude Julien said following the skate. “David started his exertion tests yesterday, got on the bike and felt good enough today so that he moved on to getting on the ice and skating a little bit today. I guess that result, we’ll get later on as the day progresses and how he feels, and whether he still feels good tomorrow. Those are things that he’s going through. So far, everything is going in the right direction with him.
“Johnny is the same thing. He started skating with us today, and got some shots — he’s capable of shooting now a little bit and everything else, so he’s progressing well. I guess these next few days will determine how close he is to starting to play again.”
Krejci still has a bit to go before he’ll be suiting up for games, as the B’s anticipated him missing at least a week. Boychuk, who is still wearing a cast, hopes to be back by next weekend. For now, the Bruins are focused on winning with the guys they have.
“You have to deal with things, and if you don’t deal with them well, you’re not going to be successful,” Mark Recchi said Saturday. “I think we handled things very well last year when we went through a lot of it. This year, we see the light at the end of the tunnel with some of the guys coming back, so it’s good, but at the same time, we have jobs to do. We have to go out there and everybody has to elevate when you looser people, and take on more responsibility.”
|David Krejci skates for first time following concussion||at 10:18 am ET|
Bruins center David Krejci, out since suffering a moderate concussion last Saturday against the Blues, skated with recovering teammate Marco Sturm on Saturday morning, according to the Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa.
Claude Julien said on Friday that Krejci had ridden the stationary bike, which at the time was the most energy-intensive activity he had done following the concussion.
‘He’s progressing nicely, I would say,’ Julien said Friday. ‘Right now he’s at the stage where he’s on the bike. If things go well then he continues to move forward if things don’t go well, then we pull him back.’
After the diagnosis, the Bruins anticipated being without Krejci, who had been centering the first line with Marc Savard out, for at least a week. In 11 games this season, Krejci has two goals and eight assists.
|Bruins see progress in recoveries of David Krejci, Marc Savard||11.12.10 at 5:08 pm ET|
The Bruins have gotten used to playing without their top center, but having their top two pivots has been a challenge. With Marc Savard continuing to work his way back from post-concussion syndrome and David Krejci out with a concussion, the Bruins have had to move Patrice Bergeron up to the top line and Blake Wheeler back to center for the first time since his college days.
TSN reported during Thursday night’s game that Savard could be back by the end of the month, but Claude Julien and the B’s aren’t crossing their fingers for a set date.
“I don’t think anybody knows exactly the date,” Julien said on Friday. “I think we know that he’s doing well, and right know he’s progressing to the pot where he’s at least close to joining us for practice. He hasn’t been cleared to do that yet, and even less for contact. There’s a lot of speculation right now, and as far we’re concerned we’re still taking it day by day and seeing a guy progress in a positive way, which is encouraging. That’s basically all we can do right now, like everybody else, is speculate.”
Krejci, meanwhile, has been out since last Saturday’s game against the Blues, when he went headfirst into the boards after a collision with T.J. Oshie. He was diagnosed with a moderate concussion because he suffered amnesia, and the Bruins expected to be without his services for at least a week.
An encouraging sign came for Krejci on Friday, as he rode a stationary bike, the most physically demanding exercise he’s been put through following the concussion.
“He’s progressing nicely, I would say,” Julien said. “Right now he’s at the stage where he’s on the bike. If things go well then he continues to move forward if things don’t go well, then we pull him back.”
After falling to the Canadiens at home on Thursday, the Bruins will return to action with a tilt against the Senators at TD Garden on Saturday.
|Mike Milbury on D&H: Forget about Matt Cooke, B’s have ‘other things to worry about’||11.10.10 at 12:39 pm ET|
NESN and NBC Sports hockey analyst Mike Milbury made his weekly appearance with the Dale & Holley show Wednesday and talked about the Bruins’ game on Wednesday night vs. the Penguins and instigator Matt Cooke. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Milbury said the Bruins aren’t likely to spend much time focusing on Cooke. “No, they’ve got other things to worry about right now,” Milbury said, although he added that the Bruins will be “much more willing to answer the bell if he rings it.”
Added Milbury: “I’m not big on the staged thing or the planned vengeance. I mean, it’s a hockey game, after all. They got their pound of flesh, or at least some of it, maybe a half-pound with [Shawn] Thornton last year. Get over it, play the game. They’ve got a couple of injuries, they’ve got other things to worry about right now. They’re playing two tough teams back to back. They’ve got to get some points on the board while they’re waiting for people to get back in the lineup.”
Asked his opinion of Cooke as a player, Milbury said: “He’s not a bad player. He’ll get his share of goals. He clearly is a guy that will mix it up, will look for a good hit. And I have no trouble with that. It’s when he crosses the line that you start to get agitated. The Bruins probably were slow to react to some of the things he did, but I don’t think he’s Darth Vader or anything. I just think he’s one of those guys that likes to toe the line, and sometimes he crosses it.”
Andrew Ference stood up for teammate Mark Recchi on Saturady night, jumping in to fight St. Louis’ David Backes after Backes had drilled Recchi with a clean hit. “Somebody’s got to do it for grandpa. You’ve got to step in,” Milbury said, although he noted: “Recchi’s no angel either on the ice. Even at his age he can be frisky.”
With the injured David Krejci joining Marc Savard on the sideline, Milbury said the Bruins can only do so much to fill the holes vacated by their top two centers. “When you take two of your better players out of the lineup, you’re not going to replace them,” Milbury said. “Not in the salary cap era. You just can’t do it.”
|What to expect without David Krejci in the Bruins lineup Wednesday||11.09.10 at 2:50 pm ET|
WILMINGTON ‘ With David Krejci still out because of a concussion that was suffered in overtime of the Bruins 2-1 shootout loss to the Blues on Saturday, the Bruins did some work with their power-play prior to the official start of practice Tuesday morning. They plan to have Nathan Horton fill in for the injured Krejci on the No. 1 power-play unit, assuming the left-side half-wall position.
‘I think he’s one of those guys that can take that step on the half wall and then shoot the puck very well,’ coach Claude Julien said about the switch after practice. Julien also said he’s been impressed with the improvements Blake Wheeler has made on the goal line position.
‘So we thought that was for now the best way to kind of stabilize our power-play and hopefully keep it going in the right direction,’ Julien said.
Mark Recchi-Blake Wheeler-Jordan Caron
Daniel Paille-Tyler Seguin-Michael Ryder
Brad Marchand-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Julien says he feels confident with the line decisions that have been made for the game against the Penguins on Wednesday, but that he also won’t be afraid to shuffle it up some more if it doesn’t work. ‘That’s part of the situation that you’re in at times,’ Julien said. ‘You have to be open minded about maybe moving some guys around.’
|Daniel Paille glad to be back in Bruins lineup||11.08.10 at 4:13 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When David Krejci needed the assistance of teammates to get off the ice after crashing into the boards head-first on Saturday, minds throughout New England began retooling the Bruins’ lineup while running into plenty of questions. Would Patrice Bergeron move up to the first line? [Yes.] Would Tyler Seguin see his role changed? [No.] Would this mean the end of Daniel Paille‘s 10-game healthy scratch streak?
It seems that the answer to that question is also yes. The Bruins considered dipping into the Providence supply when figuring out who would get ice time in the week or so that Krejci is out, but in the end, it appears Paille will get his second chance when the B’s take on the Penguins on Wednesday.
“We talked about [recalling a player from Providence],” Peter Chiarelli said on Monday. “There’s a couple of players down there that are playing well, but right now, Danny’s been champing at the bit, he’s been practicing very well, and he actually had a strong camp.”
Paille was among a number of Bruins who played especially poorly in the team’s season-opener, causing a turnover that led to a Coyotes goal and posting a minus-one in the 5-2 loss to the Coyotes in Prague. The next night, Paille was replaced on the third line by Mark Recchi and Jordan Caron made his NHL debut. With Paille a healthy scratch, the team won a 3-0 contest, and they stuck with the same forwards in the following 10 games, going 7-2-1 in that stretch.
“We’ve got a number of guys here that can play, and in the first 10 games, we hit a huge roll,” Paille said. “That’s something that’s understandable, and I’ve just had to wait for a time to come into the lineup and try to get back into the position.”
Paille was skating on the third line with Seguin and Michael Ryder on Monday. He has practiced with the third-liners throughout the season, so he does have a sense of familiarity with his two linemates, something he feels will be a positive as he looks to avoid encountering rust in his first game back on the ice.
In his quest to not look like a guy who’s hasn’t played in a game in over a month, Paille also hopes that the positive mindset he’s kept will bring good things. The 26-year-old has focused on staying sharp in practices despite the uncertainty of playing time.
“I find that I’ve been battling pretty hard in practices and in the game-day skates, I tend to give that extra effort, so I’m hoping that it pans out for the first game Wednesday, and hopefully it really pays off.”
|Meet the Bruins’ new second-line center: Blake Wheeler||at 1:44 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Blake Wheeler left the Ristuccia ice on Monday and walked to his locker, intent on delivering a message.
“Hey guys, I’m playing center!”
The news wasn’t exactly news given that he had served as the second-line center during practice, but even Wheeler could understand that it was a notable topic as the Bruins prepare for the next week or so without the services of David Krejci.
Krejci was diagnosed with a moderate concussion after crashing head-first into the boards following a collision with Blues forward T.J. Oshie early on in overtime during the Bruins’ 2-1 shootout loss on Saturday. He is expected to miss at least a week. When the team returned to practice on Monday, second-line center Patrice Bergeron had jumped onto the first line, with Wheeler sliding in between Jordan Caron and Mark Recchi on the second line.
The Bruins had briefly experimented with the idea of playing Wheeler at center during training camp when it became clear that they’d be without Marc Savard, but ultimately it was Tyler Seguin who stuck as a pivot, playing on the third line. Wheeler, who played center his final two years at the University of Minnesota, is excited for both the opportunity to return to his old position and challenge of regaining the familiarity.
“Today was a bit of the shock to the system, with all the skating and stuff,” Wheeler said. “It’s always nice. I find that it really gets you into the game, gets you involved a lot faster than wing does sometimes because you’re up and down the ice and you’ve got to be really focused defensively. I’ve always liked playing center, so it should be a good challenge.”
Before the team left for its European excursion in late September, it became rather clear that Wheeler would remain a winger, either on the second line or third line. He played a large portion of the preseason with Seguin as his center, but feels that the little time he was exposed to center in camp should be beneficial to what he does going forward.
“It was kind of a crash-course refresher with all the little nuances of playing center,” Wheeler said. “That was huge. It gave me the confidence to know that I could still do that at this level and be effective. For me, that was the biggest thing, just knowing you can do it, and I guess we’ll see how it goes.”
Though familiarity with the center position is something that will come with time, one advantage Wheeler has with this line is that he knows his wingers well. He’s played on lines with both Recchi and Caron this season, and hopes to continue to build chemistry with the two as he adjusts over the next week or two.
“That definitely helps, to have familiarity with guys. Rex always makes it easier on you no matter where you are. That’s always nice, and Jordan’s really strong on the puck, too, so it won’t be any problem for us,” Wheeler said. “We’re going to have to help each other out and pick each other up. It should be no different.”
Wheeler has taken only three faceoffs this season, but has won two of them. He pointed to faceoffs as the biggest burden as he accepts his cameo as a center, and admitted that he hasn’t been practicing them since training camp. As long as he doesn’t lose them clean, Wheeler feels he and his line will be alright.
“That will be the biggest challenge, is the faceoffs. That’s always the toughest part, when you haven’t taken them in a while. I’ll just try to do my best and battle,” Wheeler said. “I know those two guys will be in there helping me out, and trying to get some good wins for me. I guess the job for me is not to lose them clean. As long as you’re in a battle and creating sort of a scrum, that’s half the battle.”
Through 11 games, Wheeler has one goal and two assists.