EL SEGUNDO, CA - It's been a steady, patient process for Loui Eriksson, coming back from his second concussion sustained on December 7, but the Bruins winger has been cleared for contact.
"He's feeling good, he's been cleared for contact, now it's just a matter of time of him working through that and getting himself back in the lineup," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's practice at Toyota Sports Center outside Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon.
Eriksson hit the ice in a gray jersey, shedding the green no-contact jersey. It marked eight days since he first started skating with the team on December 31.
It's now been a month since he suffered his second concussion in 45 days. He first came back on October 23. He missed just under two weeks out of the lineup then. This time, he's missed 14 games out of the lineup, and won't be ready to return to game action just yet.
"I'd say probably doubtful for [Thursday against LA]," said Julien. "It's his first day with contact, and having been through what he's been through, I don't think you want to rush him too much."
ANAHEIM, CA - The Bruins came out the way the wanted to in Anaheim on Tuesday night, the way they needed to. It was the type of effort that showed they could be the team to stop the Ducks' home streak and hand them their first loss in regulation at the Honda Center this season.
Despite the start, outshooting Anaheim 16-3 in the first period, and the comeback, falling down 3-0 before pulling within one in the third period, Boston's bid came up short.
The end result was a 5-2 loss to start their three-game California road trip.
"Yeah, I thought we played a great game. When you look at the scoreboard, it's 5-2 - you wouldn't think so," said Tuukka Rask, who only faced 20 shots on the night, with the Bruins owning a 32-20 advantage.
"But they didn't get a lot of chances and when they got them, they somehow put the puck in the net."
"Look at the first period, we totally outshot them, outchanced them, and then we continued in the second, we took a couple penalties that ended up costing us, then we got that goal late and still battled."
ANAHEIM, CA - The Bruins face the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night at Honda Center at 10 p.m. ET, with Boston looking to start off their three-game road trip on a winning note, while hopefully putting a dagger in the Ducks' 17-0-2 home record.
"It's a big challenge for us; we obviously have to focus on Anaheim first - we've got to go out there and play a real solid road game and take it a period at a time," said Alternate Captain Patrice Bergeron.
"They seem to have the same pack mentality that we do, when it comes to playing hard and supporting each other," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, of the Ducks, who owned the top spot with Chicago in the Western Conference entering Tuesday night.
"So there's no doubt that's one of the reasons they're doing so well."
Anaheim has certainly established a comfortable, confident identity at home - and every opponent coming into their building knows it.
"Obviously we know what's going on with this team at home, so we're going to go out there and do our best and try to get a win, and get a win in regulation," said Alternate Captain David Krejci.
ANAHEIM, CA - On Monday, the Czech Republic's Olympic hockey squad was announced in Prague, with Bruins center David Krejci getting the official nod to suit up for his native country in his second straight Olympics.
Krejci made his first appearance in 2010 at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, and will be heading to Sochi, Russia with that experience in tow.
"I actually knew it before, the coach called me and told me he wanted me to be on the team, so I kind of knew it before, but nothing was official until today, so obviously my friends and family start texting me," Krejci said following the Bruins' practice at Honda Center in Anaheim on Monday.
"So it's pretty cool and it's an honor to play for my country."
Krejci is no stranger to the international stage, having played in the World Juniors, World Under-18 Championship and World Championship, before getting his first Olympic nod as a 23-year-old.
In 2010, the centerman finished the tournament with two goals, an assist and a plus-2 rating. He was at the top of his game, playing with confidence.
BostonBruins.com - There was a mantra repeated in the Bruins' locker room on Saturday, following their 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
"Six" was the number of choice, representing the combined number of regulation losses at home for Boston's next three opponents - the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks.
|Tuukka Rask's equipment bag & the Bruins' gear being loaded onto the plane before the team jetted off to California.
That was before Monday morning came around, and that number still stuck on January 6, as the Bruins jetted off on a day's worth of travel to the West Coast.
On Sunday, Corey Perry scored with just 0.6 left in overtime to lift Anaheim to a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks that gave them their seventh straight win at Honda Center. At 17-0-2, the Ducks have picked up 36 points at home so far this season, and the Bruins will aim to thwart that on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, the Kings (Boston's opponent on Thursday) started a five-game homestand with a 3-1 win over the Canucks on Saturday, snapping a four-game losing streak, and putting them at 14-5-2 on the season in STAPLES Center. They also have goaltender Jonathan Quick back, after he missed 24 games with a groin strain.
BostonBruins.com - On Monday morning, the Bruins recalled forward Justin Florek on an emergency basis from the Providence Bruins. He joined the team on their trip out West, which begins with a tilt against the Ducks in Anaheim on Tuesday night.
Florek is fresh off his NHL debut on Saturday, in the Bruins' 4-1 win over Winnipeg at TD Garden.
The winger filled in alongside Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, with Jordan Caron sidelined by a stiff back. He logged 10:14 in ice time, including time on the penalty kill, while recording two hits and a shot on goal.
His net-front presence helped provide the screen on Torey Krug's game-winner. That same 6-foot-4, 199-pound presence nearly earned him his first NHL goal.
"That’s a huge part of my game, you know, big body, so getting in front is really important," Florek said following the debut. "You don’t always get the glory, but a goal is a goal and helping out the team. It’s awesome being out there and trying to contribute."
With the puck sliding right past the goal, his speed catapulted him right into the Jets' goaltender - his net-drive on full display.
He would head to the box for two minutes, but only to get out and score the equalizer later in the first period, en route to the Bruins' 4-1 win over the Jets.
While the first bid showcased his speed, the goal showcased his battling. After a strong forecheck and cycle, Paille centered a pass while falling to the ice next to the goal mouth. As the puck ended up on Torey Krug's stick, the winger popped up above the crease, just in time to receive the puck back and make no mistake firing it into the back of the net.
Early in the second period, he reciprocated, feeding Krug for the game-winner.
Paille has been back in the Bruins lineup for five games. In his past four games, he has three goals and four points, including the goal and assist in the victory over Winnipeg on January 4. It set the team up with a strong outing before heading out on their three-game road trip through California.
BOSTON, MA - The last time Torey Krug had scored, he was firing off the goal horn in overtime, playing hero in a win over Pittsburgh back on November 25.
Twelve games later, on a Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, the defenseman fired in two goals and put up an assist for the first three-point game of his NHL career.
His No. 1 Star effort helped the Bruins take a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets, and set them up well for their upcoming road trip through California, facing three of the West's toughest teams.
"He was terrible…two goals, one assist," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien jested to media following the win, when asked about Krug's play.
"No, he played well," the bench boss went on. "When he’s on top of his game offensively, he makes things happen."
Krug is now tied for the league lead in goals by defensemen (for yet another time this season) with 10, up with Ottawa's Erik Karlsson and Nashville's Shea Weber. Zdeno Chara comes in just behind him with nine goals.
WILMINGTON, MA - When the Bruins hit the ice for practice on Friday afternoon at Ristuccia Arena, Torey Krug was the only player absent from skate.
Head Coach Claude Julien attributed it to a "maintenance day" for the defenseman. As for his availability for Saturday's 1:00 p.m. matinee against the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden, Julien said, "we'll see how he is tomorrow, and if he's good to go, he'll go."
If Krug is not able to go, Kevan Miller (who was the healthy scratch on Thursday night against Nashville) will likely slot in.
Loui Eriksson continued skating with the team for the fourth straight day, and remained the only player in a green jersey, as he hasn't yet been cleared for contact. He did take part in battling drills, though, to an extent.
"He's just skating so he's a way's away still," Julien said two days prior, on January 1. "He's not close to doing any contact and we're just putting him in for practice just so that he can be around players."
BostonBruins.com - Dougie Hamilton just turned the page on his first calendar year in the NHL. The year brought many new experiences for the 20-year-old - his NHL debut, his first goal, his first postseason, and, his first injury bout.
It was a short-term injury battle that caused him to miss 10 games, after he first sustained the lower-body injury in Toronto on December 8. He was set to make his return to the lineup against Nashville on Thursday night (January 2).
Hamilton had experienced time as a healthy scratch during the 2013 playoffs. And when he was with the Ontario Hockey League's Niagara Ice Dogs, he spent 10 games out of the lineup due to suspension.
But this was the first time he was ever forced out of the lineup due to inability. Sidelined for the past three and a half weeks, it was a new progression for the defenseman, who had to leave the team on their Canada road trip.