BOSTON — Captain Zdeno Chara will not be in the Bruins’ opening night lineup on Thursday, when they host the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden at 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
“He’s out,” Head Coach Claude Julien confirmed following Boston’s morning skate.
All signs are still positive, though, in Chara’s recovery from an upper-body sustained during the preseason on Sept. 24.
“It’s getting better every day,” said Julien. “It is. There’s no doubt today [Thursday] he felt better than yesterday [Wednesday], so we’re hoping that it’s going to be sooner than later and that could be next game for all we know.”
Boston will next host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. But first, the Jets are on tap for Thursday’s opener, and the Bruins will make do without their Captain.
BOSTON — From the start of training camp, the Bruins made it clear that their team would be a hard working one.
“That’s what kind of team we’ve got, we’ve got a hard working team, trying to play physical, in-your-face style of hockey, that’s going to be a trademark of our squad this year,” Jimmy Hayes said Wednesday from TD Garden, on the eve of the Bruins’ home opener.
“As you see in preseason, the team’s a close-knit group that’s come together pretty quickly.”
As the team held their final full practice on Wednesday before Thursday night’s season opener at TD Garden against Winnipeg, every Bruin was impatiently awaiting the drop of the puck on 2015-16.
“That first shift [Thursday] night, it’s going to be a whole nother level from preseason,” said Matt Beleskey, who can hardly be considered a new face anymore, having been inbred with his teammates now for a month and a half. “So I’m excited for that, [let’s] get back to NHL hockey.”
BOSTON — The Bruins were back to work on Sunday morning for practice at TD Garden after a day off on Saturday.
The B’s wrapped up their preseason on Friday night in Washington D.C. against the Capitals. The 2-1 shootout loss put them at 4-3-1 through their seven exhibition games.
The real season begins this Thursday, Oct. 8 when the Bruins host Winnipeg. They’ll get another day off on Monday, before convening for two more practices in advance of the opener.
“I think it’s a luxury to have this situation because again, we’re able to work on our game and after the last game in Washington, it was pretty obvious to us watching our team that there’s some parts of our game that need some work,” Head Coach Claude Julien said Sunday from TD Garden. “And that’s what we’ve got the opportunity to do this week before the opener, is to work on those parts of our game that’s going to make us better.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tuukka Rask is ready for regular season action.
The No. 1 netminder started the Bruins’ final preseason matchup on Friday night against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center, stopping all 15 shots he faced through 40 minutes of action.
Boston ended up falling 2-1 to the Capitals in the shootout, though Rask didn’t go the full distance.
With Rask looking sharp, calm and plenty tuned up for the home opener on Oct. 8, Jeremy Smith filled in for the final 20 minutes of regulation, the five minute 3-on-3 overtime period and the shootout.
“It felt like I usually kind of feel — you see the puck and you feel comfortable and big out there and you don’t have to rush your movements that much because you’re reading the play,” Rask said postgame from the Verizon Center. “And I felt like I had my legs under me and I was moving well, so that’s a good thing.”
While the game started fairly slow for both sides shots-wise, Rask had to be sharp on the few chances he saw, when Caps found ways to get in behind the Bruins’ defense.
BOSTON — With the preseason winding down, the Bruins will play their final exhibition game on Friday night against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Dave Goucher and Bob Beers will have the radio call of the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub. The game will also air on NHL Network in the U.S. (simulcast of Capitals’ live coverage on CSN-DC).
With General Manager Don Sweeney announcing another round of roster cuts on Thursday evening, 24 players hit the ice for a morning practice at TD Garden on Friday before the team traveled to Washington D.C.
Captain Zdeno Chara continued skating on his own prior to the full practice.
The lineup that the Bruins are set to have on Friday night will be the closest they have come to icing their full roster this preseason.
“There’s still some evaluation to be made, whether it be certain players and obviously we’ve still got to cut down a little bit,” Head Coach Claude Julien said following Friday’s morning skate. “And I don’t think that necessarily what you see tonight is the final roster and stuff like that.”
“We’re leaving Max Talbot behind, we’re leaving [Jonas] Gustavsson behind, working out with [Goaltending Coach] Bob [Essensa] doing extra work today, so we haven’t made a decision on our goaltending yet, as far as the backup is concerned.”
BOSTON — The Bruins announced another round of roster cuts on Thursday evening, as one final preseason game remains before the Bruins open the regular season in a week on Oct. 8.
The roster now stands at 25 players, including Zdeno Chara, who has been out day-to-day since sustaining an upper-body injury. Apart from Chara, that leaves 14 forwards, seven defenseman and three goaltenders.
Boston started with a training camp roster of 60 players. The latest cuts included forwards Anton Blidh, Alex Khokhlachev and Brian Ferlin, all assigned to the Providence Bruins. Defenseman Tommy Cross was placed on waivers Thursday for the purpose of assignment to Providence.
Chris Breen, Brandon DeFazio and Ben Sexton had all been recalled to play in the second to last preseason game on Wednesday night against the Rangers in New York — they were all reassigned to Providence.
“We made a couple other transactions before practice and we’ll also make a couple — we have not spoken to a couple of the player — right here after practice,” Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney said immediately following the team’s 11:00 a.m. practice on Thursday. “We’ve cut down the roster significantly again.”
Sweeney was addressing reporters during the Bruins’ Media Day press conference, which also included Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs, CEO Charlie Jacobs, President Cam Neely and Head Coach Claude Julien.
BOSTON — The Bruins hit the ice for practice on Thursday morning at TD Garden with a group of 26 players.
Captain Zdeno Chara skated prior to practice with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides. It has been a week since he sustained his upper-body injury in a preseason game and was ruled out day-to-day.
Chara began skating on his own on Monday, and his workouts have progressed throughout the week to include more conditioning, stickhandling and shooting drills with Whitesides.
As the preseason winds down, the Bruins have just one exhibition game remaining on Friday, Oct. 2 in Washington, D.C. against the Capitals.
They’ll need to get to their 23-man Opening Night roster by Tuesday, Oct. 6 with the NHL kicking off the season on Oct. 7. The Bruins host Winnipeg in their opener at TD Garden on Oct. 8.
While no roster cuts had been announced by the end of the Bruins’ 11:00 a.m. practice on Thursday, the following players were not on the ice for the skate: forwards Anton Blidh, Brandon DeFazio, Alex Khokhlachev and Ben Sexton; and defenseman Chris Breen. All five players suited up in Wednesday night’s preseason game in New York against the Rangers.
BOSTON — Tuukka Rask was the last Bruin to get into preseason action, starting his first game between the pipes on Monday night at TD Garden.
The end result was a 3-1 for the Red Wings to mark the Bruins’ first loss of the preseason.
Just as the rest of the team has been using the exhibition games to tune up their play, Rask will do the same.
“Nice to get into a real game, and I definitely felt it, but you know, it’s good to get that first one under the belt and keep moving on,” said Rask, who stopped 21 of 24 shots.
How many games will it take for him to get his timing down?
“Hopefully not more than two,” Rask smiled. “But you know, it’s just a matter of getting out there. You know you can stop the puck, but it’s just a matter of getting out there and getting a feel for the flow of the game and stuff like that, so I’ll be alright.”
The winger has been skating with the pair for most of camp as Head Coach Claude Julien experiments with line combinations.
The members of the trio are familiar with one another. All three exhibit skill and responsible two-way play.
“We had some good practices and one game, so hopefully we can even build on some things tonight in that game,” Eriksson said following Monday's morning skate. “We still have a couple games left here and some practices before everything starts, so definitely feeling good and just need to work on some things and get that chemistry going.”
As they get more games together, that chemistry should continue building.
“Practice helps, to talk on the ice and talk through some stuff, what we want to do out there, but then in the games it’s a little bit different so of course, it’s nice to get some games too and get that feeling and find each other on the ice,” he said.
Two seasons ago, as Eriksson was starting his time in Boston, he was put on a line with Bergeron and Marchand for training camp and the first few weeks of the 2013-14 season before suffering his first concussion. The line looked like it was gelling. When Eriksson returned from his injury, he didn’t rejoin the tandem.
“My first season I had the opportunity to play with them in the beginning too,” said Eriksson. “And we got a couple of games in, but then they kind of switched it up a little bit and then I’ve been playing with different lines the past two years here.”
“I’m just hoping to find that chemistry and a line to play with — it’s always a nice feeling to have that and have that feeling coming in, knowing that you have a line to play with, so I’m just going to do everything to earn that spot and work on some things and get better.”
He’s not looking to do anything different with his game, playing with the longtime tandem.
“I’m not trying to change my game, I’m just trying to go in there and help them out,” said Eriksson. “And I know they’ve been playing together for a long time, so they know each other real well, so I’m just trying to be a guy who comes in and helps them out and makes plays for them and yeah, I’m just trying to do my best.”
The chemistry that Bergeron and Marchand have makes it automatically easier for any player to slide in on their right wing.
“It allows us to talk to them and kind of be on the same page a lot quicker,” Marchand told BostonBruins.com earlier in training camp. “It does allow it to be easier for me and Bergy when a new winger switches out.”
Roster Reduced as Bruins Head into Final Preseason Stretch
The Bruins announced a series of roster cuts on Sunday afternoon, with nine players headed to the Providence Bruins Training Camp and the rest of the 2015 draft picks returned to their junior teams.
With three games remaining — Monday’s home game against Detroit and two more road games in New York and D.C. — Julien and his staff are getting closer to their regular season roster.
“We have to start making some tough decisions here,” said Julien. “I’ve been impressed, I’ve been pleased with the number of guys that we’ve had at camp that have really made a good impression.”
“Some of them are already gone, you know, whether it’s back to junior and you know I look at [Jake] DeBrusk as an example — and here’s a young kid that did an unbelievable job at protecting that puck — he’s 18 years old and he’s playing against pros and he’s protecting the puck, and making plays, and taking pucks to the net like he did the other night, and cutting in and not afraid to take that puck to the net.”
“There’s some impressive things from some different guys that we’ve seen, so again, we’ve got some real tough decisions coming up. But we’ve had a good number of players here that have really opened our eyes and that’s the encouraging part of it.”
Rask Gets First Preseason Start
As Julien announced on Sunday, Tuukka Rask will start his first game of the preseason on Monday night against the Red Wings.
“I’ve been fine — I said yesterday I’m sure I could have had a game or half a game if I really wanted to,” Rask said Monday, on not dressing for the first four preseason games. “I figure that I’ll play my games this week and carry over to next week.”
Czarnik Gets Opportunity
The 22-year-old is just glad to still be at training camp after another round of cuts.
“It’s something that we worked for and that we’ve been trying to do all week and trying to make the final roster, so it’s exciting right now and I’ll try and take advantage of it,” said Czarnik, who has impressed the Bruins’ coaching staff and management since rookie camp.
“Fortunate to be here and tonight’s going to be a good night I think — playing with them is a real honor and I’m excited to get things going.”
No matter where Czarnik ends up at the start of the season — Boston or Providence — the opportunity he’s getting at camp will help both him and the Bruins’ staff.
“You get down to the last few numbers, you look at different players and even if they’re not here [at the start of the regular season], the evaluation we can make on these guys knowing that can be a call-up and what they can bring to your team,” said Julen. “Whether it’s reliability or whether it’s creativity…It’s important to see those kinds of things.”
“He’s been with Frank Vatrano for most of camp and now he’s got an opportunity to maybe play with some more experienced guys and we’ll see what he can do. Like I said, we’re still in an evaluation process here and he’s had a good camp and he’s here because he still deserves to be here.”
Krejci Back at Practice
While Krejci won’t be suiting up on Monday night, he was back at practice after being given Sunday off.
The center skated with a second session of non-game players that included forwards Anton Blidh, Brett Connolly, Brian Ferlin, Alex Khokhlachev, Tyler Randell, Zac Rinaldo; defensemen Chris Casto, Tommy Cross, Matt Irwin and Adam McQuaid; and goalies Jeremy Smith and Jonas Gustavsson (who will be Rask’s backup on Monday before likely getting his own full game between the pipes in New York on Wednesday).
“[On Sunday] you guys asked, you know, [about Krejci not practicing]— it’s been a long camp and a lot of guys started getting a little stiff so we’re over cautious with him,” said Julien. “We don’t want anything to go wrong. So we just…this is how we’re handling some of our veteran players.”
After the skate, Krejci was anxious abut getting back with his linemates.
“Obviously we’ve been kind of clicking, finding some chemistry,” said Krejci. “They’re playing tonight, I’m not, so you know, I hope the best for them and for the team, but once tomorrow comes, I hope to be back with those guys in practice.”
“It’s been fun in games, practices, new guys kind of coming in and they’re pretty vocal in the dressing room as well, they have some character, so it’s fun to have them and it’s been a good ride so far.”
Zdeno Chara skated Monday morning on his own and is “doing better,” according to Julien.
“Things are going as expected, I guess. It’s all encouraging,” Julien said.
Chara left Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury that was termed “day-to-day.”
“We’ve kept it day-to-day because he’s progressing so obviously [won’t be in tonight — we’ll see how the rest of the week goes here and like anything else, we’re going to be more cautious than anything.”
Gustavsson Welcomes Birth of Daughter
Gustavsson was away from the team for a few days while he was welcoming the birth of his daughter in Detroit on Friday. The new father had an exciting couple of days before returning to the team.
The netminder was able to fly back with the Bruins following Saturday night’s game in Detroit. He had originally been slated to start the Sept. 24 game against the Rangers. At camp on a Professional Tryout Agreement, the timing wasn’t necessarily ideal, but it wasn’t an issue for him or the Bruins.
“We knew this coming into camp, that if the baby wasn’t born before camp, there was a big chance that I maybe I’d have to go for a day or two, so that’s something we knew and obviously hockey’s important but you know I feel like family always comes first,” said Gustavsson. “We all knew that day would come sooner or later, so it is what it is, and I’m just happy everything went good and now I can just focus on hockey.”
Projected Lineup vs. Detroit 9/28Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Loui Eriksson
Matt Beleskey — Austin Czarnik — David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano — Ryan Spooner — Jimmy Hayes
Chris Kelly — Joonas Kemppainen — Max Talbot
Linus Arnesson — Kevan Miller
Torey Krug — Zach Trotman
Joe Morrow — Colin Miller
Starting Goalie: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Jonas Gustavsson
BOSTON — Dennis Seidenberg underwent successful back surgery last Thursday, Sept. 24, and is on the road to recovery.
He is expected to be sidelined for about eight weeks, until mid-November. In technical terms, Seidenberg had a lumbar microdiscectomy performed by Dr. Louis Jenis at Mass. General Hospital that repaired a lumbar spine disc herniation.
After a long offseason, that was not the way Seidenberg would have liked to begin the 2015-16 season. The even more frustrating part for the defenseman is that he doesn’t know exactly how the injury occurred.
“Usually, when something like that has happened, you’re like, ‘Oh my God,’ during a movement or exercising somehow,” Seidenberg said on Monday morning, addressing media for the first time since training camp began.
“But I woke up that morning (Monday, Sept. 14) — just feeling that nerve pain, I had a feeling in the back of my leg, and then eventually shooting down my calf.”