BOSTON - Captain Zdeno Chara has missed four games to injury, and will miss his fifth on Tuesday night, as the Bruins host the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.
He suffered a tear in the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) of his left knee 12 days ago on October 23 when landing a hit on the New York Islanders' John Tavares.
Players are not usually made available to reporters during injury recovery, but Chara took the time to speak with reporters on Tuesday morning in the Bruins' locker room for the first time since his injury.
"I feel alright," Chara said, sporting a grizzled beard that he'd grown since the last time he spoke with media. He didn't admit to feeling any pain or soreness.
Wearing a brace on his left knee, he has to keep the leg immobile for a period of time. He's been able to do upper body workouts in the meantime.
"There is not a timeline right now. I wish I could tell you guys exactly when I'm going to return," said Chara. "But as this point, it's really such a slow process, that who knows when the day is going to be."
The conservative time frame General Manager Peter Chiarelli originally gave on October 24 was four to six weeks. The good news was that the tear was exclusive to the PCL, and no other ligaments were affected.
BostonBruins.com - In his eighth season, Head Coach Claude Julien has been at the helm of the Boston Bruins for 650 games.
Out of those games, 553 have come during the regular season, as he gets set to coach Game No. 554 on Tuesday night at TD Garden, and 97 have come in the postseason.
There should be plenty more nights behind the Spoked-B's bench moving forward.
On Sunday, General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that Julien had been signed to a multi-year contract extension.
"I'm happy to be here," Julien said following his club's practice on Monday at TD Garden. "Because as far as I'm concerned, this is a great team here, we have an opportunity every year to at least be contenders for the Stanley Cup, and I feel just as hungry this time around as I was before we won the first one."
"So I'm excited to have an opportunity to have a team that can compete for that, and be part of it."
Since Julien was hired as the 27th coach in team history on June 21, 2007, the Bruins haven't missed the playoffs.
They are the only team to have advanced to at least second-round play in five of the past six postseasons. Their 53 postseason wins during that span are the second most among all NHL teams.
BOSTON - David Krejci was absent from practice when the Bruins hit the ice on Monday morning at TD Garden.
The center was a late scratch for Saturday night's game against Ottawa after taking part in the morning skate.
"Day to day, according to our trainers - that's what I'm getting from them," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following Monday's practice, on Krejci's status.
Saturday marked the fourth game Krejci has missed out of the Bruins' 13 games played heading into Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers. He was sidelined for the first three games of the season with an undisclosed injury.
There are no further details on Krejci's situation expected. "I said after last game, I'm not going to comment on his injury," Julien said, when he was pressed for more information.
BOSTON - For the past five games, when the Bruins hit the ice in the Spoked-B in front of an arena of fans, Matt Fraser has been back near the locker room pumping away on the stationary bike.
That's the nature of being the odd man out.
While the team sweats it out on the ice and the crowd's cheers filter down from the stands, you sweat it out on the bike during the first period, slide your suit back on and watch the final two periods of action from the press box.
Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden was trending that way for Fraser, until David Krejci was a late scratch after taking warmups.
"I thought he was going to play," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said of Krejci. "And he came in and [we] decided that, as a group, that he wasn’t well enough to go."
Cue Fraser getting into his first game in two weeks, having last suited up in 4-0 win in Buffalo in which he played 6:45 as the fourth line right wing.
WILMINGTON, Mass. - The Bruins were back on the ice Friday morning at Ristuccia Arena following their 3-2 overtime win in Buffalo on Thursday night.
David Krejci was absent from practice, but Head Coach Claude Julien said following the skate that he would be back in the fold on Saturday, when the Black and Gold host the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden.
In light of Halloween, Julien was actually asked if Krejci was a “ghost” on Friday. “Yes he is, but he won’t be a ghost tomorrow, if that’s what you want to know,” the bench boss quipped.
Without Krejci, Chris Kelly slotted in at center alongside Milan Lucic and Seth Griffith for practice and Matt Fraser filled in for Kelly with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson. Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Simon Gagne formed the fourth line.
Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith skated together as a line. The trio had been separated to start Thursday night’s game in Buffalo, but their reunion helped produce the overtime winner, with Smith setting up Marchand in the slot.
“Well they were together today in practice, so again, we started with certain lines together yesterday, we didn’t end with them, so we could start with those guys tomorrow but not end with them,” Julien said on Friday. “I think it’s, right now, with the situation we’re in, it’s almost like a daily thing and almost a game to game, period to period, kind of thing.”
BostonBruins.com - As the Bruins hit the ice in their Spoked-B practice jerseys on Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass., there were different faces in different color schemes.
With the team at 5-6-0 on the season and struggling with inconsistency, Head Coach Claude Julien decided to mix it up.
“You know what, guys? Every coach, every team does that, so obviously there’s some guys that aren’t quite playing at their level and they’re struggling to find their game; some are just line combinations,” Julien told reporters following practice, before the team traveled to Buffalo to face the Sabres on Thursday night.
“So, we make changes.”
Brad Marchand wore a gray jersey, with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson. Matt Fraser filled in for Marchand, when he left practice early after “tweaking something,” according to Julien, who hoped he would be in Thursday’s lineup.
“You switch up the lines to try and spark some energy, create some new chemistry,” said Smith. “So it’s to be expected. Me, March and Berg haven’t had the same chemistry we had last year, so you mix things up and hope that something new will create and we’ll see next game, how it works out.”
On Wednesday morning, General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced that Torey Krug will miss two to three weeks with a broken finger.
Krug sustained the injury in Tuesday night’s game against Minnesota on his final shift, after taking a slash.
For reinforcements, the Bruins called up David Warsofsky and Joe Morrow from Providence to travel with the team to Buffalo in advance of Thursday’s matchup with the Sabres. Zach Trotman also remains with the team.
“I mean, if we sat here in August and said this is what was going to happen to the D corps here, I think we would have all been shaking our heads,” Warsofsky said before flying to Buffalo with the team. “So it’s a little bit different, but for me, it’s an opportunity and that’s how I’m looking at it, just to take advantage of it.”
Once again, the Bruins will need to rely on their defensive structure, operating as one unit with support all over the ice. This won’t just fall on the defense.
“For us, with our system, it’s about not just about the defensmen, but really the whole aspect of all the guys on the ice and playing a good system,” Patrice Bergeron said following Wednesday’s practice. “And that’s what we need to have.”
BOSTON - The Bruins had taken a step forward.
They were one victory away from a winning record entering Tuesday night's game against the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden.
The Wild was the tired team. It had suffered a crushing blow the night before, allowing five third period goals in a 5-4 loss to the Rangers in New York City.
Instead, the Bruins let a 3-1 lead get away from them, allowing three goals in the final 20 minutes for a 4-3 loss to the Wild, and a 5-6-0 record.
"We should have been the fresher team," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "We knew they were going to compete hard, that's the way that team plays all the time."
"So it was up to us to push the pace all night long, and we didn't do that."
"Well, that's probably the brightest thing of the night for us, was the fact that Seth really played a strong game," said Julien. "If there's anybody that should be walking out of there with his head up high, it's him."
"It's kind of hard to be happy about the two goals," said Griffith. "Obviously the win's more important, so it's too bad we didn't have a very good third."
BOSTON - The Bruins have been pushing to get a winning record, something they have yet to achieve since opening the season on October 8 with a win over Philadelphia.
Sitting at 5-5-0 on the season, the Black and Gold have an opportunity to do just that as they host the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
"We don't want to take any steps backwards," alternate captain Chris Kelly said on Tuesday morning following the team's pregame skate. "I thought that we played a really good team game in Toronto. The 6 D back there played unbelievable, I thought our four lines played well, played the exact same way - worked hard, skated, defended well and capitalized on some offensive opportunities - so that's got to be the effort."
"We need to play that way in order to have success - that's been our bread and butter for a lot of years."
The Bruins' 4-1 win over Toronto on Saturday proved that if they operate as one unit, and support each other with defensive layers all over the ice, they'll find the success they've been accustomed to.
BOSTON - Halloween came a few days early for the patients at Boston Children's Hospital.
On Monday, the Bruins made their annual visit to Boston Children's, reverse trick-or-treating and surprising the children with Bruins' goodies and signing autographs.
This time around, the Bruins took it to another level, dressing up as the cast of the hit Disney movie, "Frozen."