WILMINGTON, MA - When the Bruins hit the ice for practice at Ristuccia Arena on Monday morning, Jarome Iginla was absent, as he was being evaluated by team doctors.
"He’s going to see our doctors today," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's skate. "We’re hoping that it’s all good and hopefully we get him back [against the Flames] but we won’t know until later today."
The winger injured his finger in a fight early in the game against Vancouver on Saturday, and went to the room for the rest of the first period. When the puck dropped on the second period, he was out there for the opening faceoff, and finished out the game.
"He's fine," Julien had said postgame in Vancouver. "He injured that finger but, again, it's just the kind of toughness that Iggy has. As as far as that’s concerned, he wasn’t going to be denied the opportunity to come back and he made that decision, [for] his team, to be okay."
With Iginla not being able to practice (and his status, at the time, unknown), the Bruins recalled forward Craig Cunningham from Providence on an emergency basis. He made the drive up I-95 to join the team for their skate.
Like his fellow Providence teammates up with Boston right now, Cunningham just focuses on staying ready for the call.
"When the opportunity presents itself you have be ready and ready to contribute," said the forward, who received the first NHL regular season recall of his career. The 23-year-old is currently in his third season with Providence.
"We called up Cunny at the last minute there and this morning, we weren’t even sure whether he was going to practice or not," said Julien. "But I know enough of him, I’ve seen him. He’s a hard worker, he’s honest and he gives it all he’s got so he was the next guy on our people’s list to be called up."
Considering Iginla finished out the game, there's a good chance (if all checks out) that he would be back in the lineup on Tuesday night against Calgary for the game against his former longtime team.
Still, it marks an opportunity for Cunningham to be up with Boston, wearing the Spoked-B and taking in the presence of leaders like Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara, even if it is for just a brief stay.
"As soon as I walked in, every guy that walked in came up and said hello to me and congratulations on the callup and it’s a great feeling to have one of those guys come and acknowledge that you’re there and try and make you feel comfortable," he said.
And though Iginla wasn't out on the ice, Cunningham can appreciate his leadership as well.
"I’s unbelievable. I saw a picture of his hand after and I think it speaks volumes of him as a person and the character player that he is," said Cunningham. " And I think most of the Bruins are like that. It’s a great organization to be in. They have a lot of leaders like that that us young guys can really look up to and it’s a ton of help."
Iginla's a "True Warrior"
The "Bruins standard" has been set over the years. We saw it with the toughness of the Bruins in the postseason, especially with Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell's infamous moments of the "warrior-like" attitude.
Iginla slides right into that. Coming back to play through his injury on Saturday exemplified that.
"He didn’t want to leave the game. He wanted to still be in it, and that just shows that he’s a true warrior and he doesn’t quit or he doesn't mind to play through the pain and aches," said Zdeno Chara. "And that's what makes him he player he is, with the leadership qualities he has."
"I think it speaks a lot about his commitment, also, to us, to the team" said Patrice Bergeron. "And he wants to do whatever it takes to be out there and battle and try to help."
"He’s a true leader, a veteran, and that particular moment shows how tough he is, but also how committed he is."
Julien saw that attitude extending to the entire team, and how they battled through the week on the road, going 3-1, amidst injuries and sickness.
"It’s what I’ve been talking about the whole time. A lot of these players, they knew we had no extra players, they knew what we had and they didn’t want to bail out on us," said Julien. "So, again, it speaks volumes of their character and I can’t say enough of it."
McQuaid Joins Practice
Defenseman Adam McQuaid was back skating with the team on Monday, after four days of skating on his own, in his recovery from a nagging lower-body injury that has him on injured reserve.
"He was out there with us today and he’s certainly making progress," said Julien. "But it’s the first time practicing with us so obviously we’ll have to be extremely careful with it being his second time around and we’re going to make sure he’s 100 percent before we throw him in there [for games]."
Paille Out with Concussion-Like Symptoms; Not Much Progress with Eriksson
Julien announced on Monday that Daniel Paille has been sidelined due to concussion-like symptoms. Paille left the team's road trip in Calgary to return home and be further evaluated by team doctors.
"Dan came to us the first time in Calgary and started talking about not feeling well and once he got evaluated by our trainers, it looked like concussion symptoms so we sent him back home to get evaluated by our doctors," said Julien. "So that’s basically what he’s had. It was an unfortunate thing, it was a thing we found out at the last minute and so we scrambled there to get another player back but the first we did was send him home and made sure he was well taken care of."
In regards to Loui Eriksson, Julien didn't have too much information, when asked for an update on his progress.
"No, he hasn’t even come to the rink so I guess that’s probably the only thing that I can give you right now, which is not a good sign."
It's been nine days since Eriksson sustained the concussion.
Thornton Back with Team
The NHL's Department of Player Safety announced on Saturday that Shawn Thornton had been suspended for 15 games. On Monday, the NHLPA announced that Thornton has decided to appeal the League’s decision on his suspension.
While the process plays out, Thornton returned to practice with the team on Monday.
"Just have to be there for him. He’s a friend and a teammate," said Bergeron, of supporting Thornton during this time. "Obviously regrets what happened and he would probably like to take that moment back, but that being said, he’s living with the consequences and we all need to do that also."
"Well, I think that the biggest thing, is that no matter what happened or will be happening, he’s still a big part of our team," said Chara. "Any time you see your teammate going through some tougher times, you want to support him, and for sure it’s not easy but we are all behind him and we’ll see how it goes witha further appeal or whatever is going to be happening. But, for sure, you feel kind of shocked to see that big of a punishment."
It's been a tough week for the Bruins, with players out of their lineup, and situations around the team.
"Right now I’m just trying to keep this team together with everything we’re going through," Julien told media, who was asked about the circumstances currently around the team.
"That’s why you deal with it internally. It’s because, certainly, we’re not proud of it, we’re certainly not promoting it, but we deal with it internally and if we weren’t dealing with it, then it would mean we’re not really concerned about it. But certain things have happened that we need to address and we’re going to do it."
"Our team likes to take pride in being a classy one and sometimes there’s certain things that happen that kind of tarnishes that a little bit, but then we just reel guys back in and make sure that we’re all about what we expect from this organization."
Amidst a tough week, the flu (and injury) bug also struck the team pretty heavily on the road.
Is Julien confident everyone is now healthy?
"Not sure yet. Not sure. I know that some of us are still battling it so I wouldn’t say we’re out of the woods yet," he said.
Whether players are healthy or not, injured or not, they expect to compete well every night, and power through moving forward, like they did by going 4-1 in the past eight days.
"It’s always about, 'if we play well.' No matter what happens, we have to perform," said Chara, of the adversity the team has confronted. "We faced some challenges but we found a way to win important games and made it a good road trip. Now, we have to focus on playing the same way and even better in these games coming up before Christmas."
White Jerseys: Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Matt Fraser
Gold: Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Grey: Carl Soderberg-Ryan Spooner-Nick Johnson
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