|Claude Julien: Loui Eriksson ‘feeling better’||12.22.13 at 1:18 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The updates on concussed Bruins forward Loui Eriksson have been minimal, but the 28-year-old was at Ristuccia Arena again Sunday as the Bruins practiced.
Eriksson has not been skating, and though Claude Julien didn’t share too much regarding what type of activity (if any) Eriksson can endure, the B’s coach did say that Eriksson is feeling better.
“I don’t know exactly what he’s doing. I think the fact is he’s feeling better,” Julien said. “He doesn’t mind being around right now. That’s a step in the right direction. At one point, he just couldn’t tolerate too much noise or too much activity around him. It’s a step in right direction here. I don’t know exactly where he is in rehab, but it’s a good sign to see him here.”
Eriksson has missed the last seven games after suffering a concussion on a hit from Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7. It’s the second concussion of the season for Eriksson, as he missed five games earlier in the season following a hit from John Scott on Oct. 30 in Buffalo.
The two concussions Eriksson has suffered this season are the first two of his career.
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|Bruins injuries: Daniel Paille has concussion symptoms, Loui Eriksson not progressing well, Jarome Iginla being evaluated||12.16.13 at 12:53 pm ET|
The Bruins coach said that Paille told the team prior to last Tuesday’s game against the Flames that he wasn’t feeling well, at which point he was sent back to Boston to be evaluated. Paille remains off the ice, as he did not practice Monday.
The news isn’t good for Loui Eriksson, who is also out with a concussion. Julien said that Eriksson has not been progressing well since suffering a concussion on a hit from Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik on Dec. 7.
“He hasn’t even come to the rink,” Julien said. “I guess that’s probably the only thing I can give you right now, which is not a good sign.”
Jarome Iginla, who did not practice Monday, is getting evaluated after suffering a hand injury in a fight against Ryan Kesler Saturday. Iginla had finished the game Saturday, but the team recalled forward Craig Cunningham from Providence Monday with Iginla’s status uncertain.
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|Andy Brickley on M&M: NHL will ‘make an example’ of Shawn Thornton with lengthy suspension, but Brooks Orpik should have answered call to fight earlier||12.12.13 at 12:17 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni via phone from Edmonton, where the B’s play Thursday night, for his weekly discussion about the team.
“No question he crossed the line, he’s aware of that, and the league will obviously discipline him, use him as an example,” Brickley said. “This is the type of stuff that’s a hot-button issue in the National Hockey League — injuries, concussions, bad decisions, bad hits in the game. That’s what they’re trying to clean up, and it’s an opportunity for the league to really make an example of him, which they probably will do.
“Certainly in the moment, when we were doing the broadcast, when the initial hit [by Orpik on Loui Eriksson] was made and then Eriksson was concussed, obviously, no penalty on the play, I thought it was a borderline hit, could have been a penalty, could not have been a penalty. I have a hard time even with my experience knowing what’s a penalty and what’s not a penalty anymore. …
“When the first hit by Orpik was made on Eriksson, then he was challenged initially, if you remember, by Dougie Hamilton — no response. Then Shawn Thornton had the opportunity to challenge Orpik — no response. That’s when you know, because you’ve been there, that this is going to get ugly. Because if you’re not going to handle it the way the Bruins feel it should be handled, then people were going to start crossing lines and the game was going to get ugly. You knew it was going to happen, and I think that’s where it started to break down.”
Brickley said Orpik, who is known as a hard hitter but someone who does not fight, could have handled the situation better.
“This kid, he’s a good player, he’s a good hitter, he likes to hit in open ice,” Brickley said. “But he’s also got a reputation for a guy that hits the Loui Erikssons, the Jeff Skinners. He broke Erik Cole‘s neck from hitting him from behind. … When you have a reputation like that, you have to answer for those types of hits if you’re going to play that way. It’s plain and simple. That’s code. If you want to talk code, that’s code.”
Added Brickley: “Just flip it around if you want to have this kind of conversation. If Johnny Boychuck stands up and knocks Chris Kunitz on a borderline hit, interference, on-the-puck play, if you want to call it that, and Deryk Engelland comes over and challenges Boychuck, what does Boychuck do? … That’s how those plays get defused and you don’t get into the nasty anymore.”
|Bruins recall Nick Johnson on emergency basis||12.10.13 at 2:00 pm ET|
The Bruins announced a pair of roster moves Tuesday, placing Loui Eriksson on injured reserve and recalling forward Nick Johnson from Providence on an emergency basis.
Eriksson suffered a concussion in Saturday’s win over the Penguins. Placing a player on injured reserve means they can’t play for the seven days following the injury, meaning Eriksson won’t be eligible to return to the Bruins’ lineup until next Tuesday against the Flames at the earliest.
Johnson’s call-up comes with a number of Bruins battling the flu. Johnson, 27, has 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points this season with a plus-seven rating.
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|Loui Eriksson has concussion from Brooks Orpik hit, Chris Kelly also out for Bruins||12.07.13 at 10:38 pm ET|
The Bruins will be without three forwards for at least Sunday’s game against the Maple Leafs, as Loui Eriksson has a concussion, Shawn Thornton will not travel as he awaits his suspension and Chris Kelly is out with a lower-body injury.
Eriksson suffered his second concussion of the season in the first period Saturday on a hit from Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik. Thornton was later given a match penalty for attacking Orpik on the ice on a play after the whistle in which he threw Orpik to the ice and knocked him out with two punches to the head.
Kelly suffered a lower-body injury on a slash in the third period. Orpik, as you could probably guess, has a concussion.
“It’s just an unfortunate situation,” Claude Julien said. “As you know, Shawn’s got a hearing with [Brendan] Shanahan now, so he won’t travel with us to Toronto tomorrow and I don’t know what’s going to happen from there. At the same time, Loui’s not traveling with us either. He’s got a concussion, and the other guy we just found out at the end of the game, Kelly has suffered an injury from a slash and he won’t be traveling with us either.”
Julien was clearly upset with the actions of both teams, including Orpik’s hit on Eriksson.
“Those are unfortunate incidents when you see guys getting injured,” Julien said. “That’s called Eriksson. It’s also called Orpik.”
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma thought rather differently.
“Well I think the hit by Orpik is a good hockey hit. Eriksson touches the puck, the puck’s coming around the wall there, it does take a strange bounce, he does touch the puck, and it’s a good hit,” Bylsma said. “Clearly they took exception to it. They put people on the ice to take exception to it, and the events that ensued, you saw Thornton.”
In addition to inserting Jordan Caron into the lineup, the Bruins will have to recall two players from Providence. Mark Divver of the Providence Journal reported Saturday night that those players are Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser.
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘I think everybody wants [fighting] in the game’||12.04.13 at 9:49 am ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday for his weekly discussion, as the B’s prepare for a Thursday night game in Montreal against the Canadiens.
Thornton said players who join the Bruins should know how heated this rivalry can be before stepping onto the ice.
“You are expected to, but it probably took a game or three for me to actually really understand it,” he said. “Now I fully embrace it.”
Added Thornton: “You just get an appreciation for the deep-rooted history of hatred for each other. Being in that building and then coming into our building, there’s an energy level that you don’t really know about until you’re involved in it. I’m excited for our new guys to actually get a taste of it here.”
Despite the nastiness that sometimes has surrounded the rivalry, Thornton said he feels comfortable mingling with the locals while in the city.
“They’re very knowledgeable fans up there. They’re very passionate, obviously,” he said. “For the most part, they’re hockey fans. Even if they don’t like us, there might be some chirping and stuff, but no [more than that].”
There has been a movement to curtail fighting in hockey, but Thornton said he does not believe it will be banned from the game while he is playing.
“I think they want it in the game. I think everybody wants it in the game,” Thornton said. “But they’re kind of at a stage now with all the [concussion] stuff going on that the league’s been put in a position that they have to cover their own [butts] about it. I think that’s the biggest reason that you feel this sort of push towards I guess it being phased out a little. But I think it’s more about covering their own [butts] than anything else.”
|Reilly Smith is just trying to ‘keep the ball rolling’||11.23.13 at 8:22 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien looks on the ice and sees the skill of Reilly Smith. Then he has to remind himself and others that he is just 22 years of age.
On Saturday, he saw a sure-fire sign that Smith is fully capable of handling the load at the NHL level. With 6:29 left in the second period of a 1-1 game, Smith broke in on Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward and had the puck on his backhand. Earlier in the season, Smith’s eyes might have gotten too big and he might have felt the pressure to rush the shot. But not Saturday. He waited.
Smith took a pass from Carl Soderberg in the low slot between the circles, skated across the crease and flipped the puck just hard enough that Ward couldn’t control it, providing the go-ahead goal, already the fourth of the season with his new team.
“Kells [Chris Kelly] was tied up in front so he kind of set up a good pick, I didn’t want to force it right through and I thought I might have a little more net going to my backhand,” Smith explained. “Cam [Ward] still almost had it so I was kind of lucky that it snuck through.”
Does Saturday’s patience on the goal show he’s getting more comfortable?
“Absolutely, just little things like that where probably a few weeks or a month ago I probably wouldn’t have done that, I probably would have tried to get it on net right away,” Smith said. “With every day, you build confidence.
“Every day gets a little bit easier. When you stay with the same linemates, for a few weeks or a month, everyday gets easier, chemistry builds every day so just take it day by day but I think everything is going pretty well right now, just try to keep the ball rolling.”
With Kelly and Carl Soderberg on the third line, the young winger acquired along with Loui Eriksson from Dallas for Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley is looking more and more ready to fit in on a regular basis.
“They just feel better more and more about playing together,” Julien said. “They’re reading off of each other extremely well; I said that earlier in an interview about how they’re just reading off each other, they’re anticipating, so they’re always on top of the puck. We still have some lines right now that are kind of waiting to see what the puck carrier is going to do with it and you hope that with time we can get that same level as that third line is right now of anticipating well. They know exactly where they want to go and where they’re going to put the puck so they’re on top of it all the time and the last few games they’ve had a lot of chances and a lot of offensive zone time.
“Again, we’re talking about a young player here. I keep saying it all the time, we always seem to overlook his age and he’s a young player. And the way I think he’s handled himself in pressure situations and handling the puck a little bit better and holding onto it. And at the same time, I thought tonight he shot the puck a little bit more; he had a little bit better of a nose for the net and before, looking to make plays versus shooting the puck. So he’s really turned a corner and is really coming along well for a young player.”
It’s not just Julien either. Smith is winning over veteran teammates at the same time.
“I didn’t know much about him before he got traded,” David Krejci said. “I know he’s a great player, he’s still young, but he’s playing like a ten year vet [veteran]. It’s good to see him doing well; hopefully he can keep it up.”