CALGARY, AB - When the Bruins touched down in Calgary on Monday afternoon, Johnny Boychuk joined the team for practice, skating for the first time since suffering a back sprain in Montreal on December 5.
The defenseman's back had locked up after going awkwardly into the boards in the game against the Habs. As a precaution, he ended up being wheeled off the ice on a stretcher at the Bell Centre.
There were no fractures found in his back, and the diagnosis was approximately 3-7 days. But it was concerning watching the events that took place on the ice, with everyone anticipating the worst.
"I think we dodged a pretty good bullet there, personally," Head Coach Claude Julien said following the diagnosis. "Those kind of injuries could have serious consequences. We feared the worst and I think we got as good of news as we could get."
After Boychuk skated with the team for their half hour practice at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday, he said he still felt "pretty stiff," but he didn't seem to face any major issues during the skate.
TORONTO, ON - Heading into Sunday night's game in Toronto, the Bruins were missing key players.
As a result, they pulled off a team effort in stepping up to fill the void, topping the Maple Leafs 5-2 at Air Canada Centre.
Third line center Chris Kelly was placed on long-term injured reserve Sunday afternoon, with a fractured right fibula suffered in Saturday night's 3-2 win over Pittsburgh.
"You have to fill it from within. I think we have enough players that can step up," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said prior to the matchup. "Those are parts of the game that you face every year, every team."
TORONTO, ON - For the fifth game this season, and the second time in three games, the Bruins were down a defenseman.
Dougie Hamilton went down the tunnel towards the end of the first period against the Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre, after a Bruins' power play, and did not return. The defenseman has a lower-body injury.
"He's going to fly back home tomorrow and he'll be evaluated by our doctors; lower-body injury," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following the Bruins' 5-2 win over the Leafs on Saturday night.
"We'll see what the outcome is there but, right now, it doesn't seem like he's going to be playing with us probably this coming week. It doesn't look good as far as - the diagnosis on him was he's probably done for at least a week."
Playing with five defensemen has unfortunately become a somewhat common occurrence for the Bruins' injured back end this season.
Eriksson sustained a concussion in Saturday night's game against Pittsburgh at TD Garden, and did not travel with the team to Toronto, as the Bruins begin a four-game road trip through Canada.
Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced on Sunday afternoon that Kelly sustained a fractured right fibula in the second period of Bruins/Penguins game and has been placed on long-term injured reserve. The centerman is expected to miss four to six weeks.
Kelly played the entire game on Saturday night, with his final shift ending with 2:10 left in the third period of the Bruins' eventual 3-2 comeback win. His injury occurred on a slash.
The alternate captain also spent a lengthy time out of the lineup in the shortened 2012-13 campaign, when he suffered a broken left tibia in March that kept him sidelined for a month.
BOSTON, MA - Shawn Thornton spoke with reporters in the Bruins’ locker room at TD Garden, following the game against the Penguins. Choked up and trying to get out his words, Shawn answered a few questions from the media.
"Listen, I feel awful. It wasn’t my intention," said Shawn. "I know Brooksy, I’ve gotten to know him over the last 7 years here, I skate with him in the summer, and did during the lockout. I’ve texted him a couple of times. I definitely feel awful. It was not what I wanted to see or what anyone wanted to see."
A reporter then asked Shawn, ‘What caused you to lose your composure?’
"Obviously, I made a mistake. I’m aware of it," he said. "I’ve been told that I’ll be having a hearing and it’s hard for me to say much more other than that was not my intention. I feel awful and felt sick all game."
"I’ve prided myself for a long time to stay within the lines, and like I said, it’s hard for me to talk about right now. I can’t say I’m sorry enough, and I’m sure I’ll be criticized for saying it, but it’s true. I, I just hope he’s doing alright. I heard that he’s conscious and talking, and I’m happy to hear that."
BOSTON, MA - It's not too often that an injury update ends up being "good news," but such was the case on Saturday morning, when Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli issued an update on Johnny Boychuk.
"Johnny has been diagnosed with a back sprain and will be out for approximately three to seven days," Chiarelli said in the statement.
For anyone who saw the defenseman go awkwardly into the boards after a hit in Montreal on Thursday night, the time frame was a good sign.
"Johnny's doing better," Head Coach Claude Julien told media following the Bruins' pregame skate at TD Garden on Saturday, before hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins. "I think we dodged a pretty good bullet there, personally."
Julien said that the team planned to bring Boychuk on the road, for their four-game swing through Canada, starting in Toronto on Sunday.
"Those kind of injuries could have serious consequences. We feared the worst and I think we got as good of news as we could get," said Julien.
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins host the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at TD Garden in the third and find matchup between the two Eastern Conference rivals this season.
The series is tied, with the Pens picking up a 3-2 win at home in October. The Bruins earned a 4-3 overtime win on November 25 at TD Garden, thanks to Torey Krug's game-winner after Sidney Crosby had scored with just 0.3 left in regulation to tie it up.
The Bruins are looking for a bounceback performance tonight, following their 2-1 loss to Montreal on Thursday. The Pens, meanwhile, are looking to continue a five-game winning streak that started after the loss to Boston.
"They’re going to be playing on a lot of confidence," said Captain Zdeno Chara. "They won five games in a row so, we've just got to be ready for them. We’ve got to bring our best game, and finish on a good note before we head on our long road trip."
After tonight, the Bruins hit the road for a four-game trip starting in Toronto Sunday night. The matchup with the Pens presents an opportunity to play a more consistent game than what they showed in Montreal.
BostonBruins.com - Not playing the full 60 turned against the Bruins on Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
Gregory Campbell gave Boston a 1-0 lead over the Canadiens at the end of the first period, in which the Bruins outshot Montreal 10-3. In the third, trailing 2-1 and searching for the equalizer, the Bruins again tipped the scale with 16 to the Habs' 6.
It was the middle 20 minutes, in which the Canadiens put up two goals and outshot the Bruins 18-7, that led to the defeat.
"We didn’t play good enough in the second and that was the difference in the game," said Captain Zdeno Chara.
It's as simple as that.
And it's why the Bruins spent a good portion of their Friday morning at the practice facility, going over video, and hitting the ice for a determined practice.
"I thought our first period was still good; we had no issues there. Our second period, as I said in French, was atrocious and embarrassing," Head Coach Claude Julien had said in Montreal following the loss.
WILMINGTON, MA - When Head Coach Claude Julien addressed media following the Bruins' Friday practice at Ristuccia Arena, he gave an update on defenseman Johnny Boychuk.
"Johnny’s getting an MRI today for his lower back and we’ll probably have some details for you guys tomorrow [Saturday] on that," he said.
The extent of the injury is not yet known, beyond that.
"We don’t know yet. You have to be very cautious making any comments because you never know when it comes to backs."
Julien will next speak with media following Boston's 10:30 a.m. pregame skate on Saturday, before hosting Pittsburgh.
While the severity is unknown, it was still a great sign that Johnny Boychuk was able to fly back with the team Thursday night from Montreal.
The Bruins defenseman had been taken to Montreal General Hospital after colliding with the boards in the first period against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
MONTREAL, QC - For the fourth time this season, the Bruins had to play with a defenseman down.
Johnny Boychuk left the game 4:28 into the first period on Thursday night at the Bell Centre, with the Bruins taking on the Canadiens.
Boston was defeated, 2-1, by the Habs, but that wasn't the biggest loss of the night.
After a collision into the boards behind the Montreal goal following a hit by Max Pacioretty, Boychuk was slow to get his bearings.
It wasn't so much the hit, on which Pacioretty was assessed a minor penalty for boarding, as it was the way Boychuk went awkwardly into the boards.
Hunched over on both knees, the defenseman was first tended to by Bruins Head Athletic Trainer Don DelNegro. Bruins trainer Derek Repucci, along with Montreal's trainers and EMT, soon went over.