WILMINGTON, MA - When the Bruins hit the ice for practice on Friday afternoon at Ristuccia Arena, Loui Eriksson was not with the group.
The winger took a stick to the face during the first period of Thursday night's game in St. Louis, and had to get some stitches and repairs that kept him off the ice until the start of the second. He finished out the game, but needed a few more repairs on Friday.
"Loui's doing okay. The only reason he missed [practice] is he's obviously getting some dental work done," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "And making sure he's all fixed up before tomorrow [against Ottawa] and before he leaves for the Olympics."
"So he should be in the lineup tomorrow. There's no reason why he shouldn't, but I think it's going to be a long day for him, getting his mouth fixed."
It's been a rough season for Eriksson health-wise with the two concussions and periods of recovery. This scenario won't keep him out of the lineup, but Julien has some sympathy for his winger.
The high stick didn't end up in a penalty against St. Louis' Maxim Lapierre, and the Blues ended up scoring just a few seconds later. In this case, the whistle would have needed to be blown right away for a penalty, so it wasn't something the officials could take back after the goal had occurred.
But it was another tough break for Eriksson.
"With a player that's lost some teeth and had a few stitches in his mouth - you know, the guy's already been through a lot," Julien had said following the Bruins' 3-2 overtime loss to St. Louis.
"Poor Loui," added the bench boss, shaking his head with a slight smile, and genuinely wishing for better luck for his forward. "For us this year, nothing's getting called against him and he's just taking his lumps, so it's a little disappointing, but that's the game, you move on and I thought our guys reacted well, staying the course and battling ourselves back in."
One Game Remains
There's only one game left for the Bruins before the NHL's Olympic Break. They've been about as consistent as they wanted to be heading into the two-week hiatus, sitting at 7-1-2 in their past 10 games.
They didn't the result against St. Louis, but were pleased with the effort, and their ability to battle back from the two-goal deficit to force overtime.
A win against Ottawa on Saturday at TD Garden would contently send them into the break.
"Even yesterday, we should have been at eight wins. We really played well and I thought we had as good of an opportunity to win that game as any, and there was a tremendous amount of effort and focus," said Julien.
"It's a good opportunity for us to leave on a positive note, and feel good about ourselves. No matter what, if we can get that [same] kind of effort tomorrow, it will be a successful segment."
Big Day for Big Zee
While U.S. audiences couldn't yet view the Opening Ceremony in Sochi, Russia, Zdeno Chara proudly carried Slovakia's flag. The Ceremony will air in the United States beginning at 7:30 ET on NBC.
While his teammates didn't get to watch the moment live, they've been proud of him ever since he was given the honor.
"Did he already do it? When's he doing it?" his friend and teammate Shawn Thornton busted out right away. "Aw, I missed it? Boooo, I wanted to see that," was his genuine response.
When informing him that it will air tonight, he immediately set his DVR in his head.
"It's huge, there are some things in life that are more important than maybe Game 57, 58 of the season," said Thornton. "Not that we don't want to win, it's not like that, but when you get asked the honor of carrying your flag for your country, I think that's huge and I'm very glad that the Bruins and everyone in the organization supported him."
"I know his teammates always had his back, but it's nice to see that they let him go over there and respond to that huge honor."
"I'm very jealous, I thought Canada was going to call me," Thornton laughed. "But he's earned it, he's worked very, very hard his entire life to put himself in this situation, so I'm very happy for him."
Paille naturally felt the same way.
"I think if anybody has an opportunity to carry the flag for their country, it's a big honor. I don't understand how you could pass that up, so it was great for Zee to be a part of that and I'm sure he's thrilled to be there," he said.
And probably the tallest flag out there.
McQuaid Still Sidelined
Adam McQuaid has yet to start skating in his recovery from a leg injury that has kept him out since January 19 against Chicago. The defenseman has now missed 12 games with the injury, and will continue to work out and work his way back during the Olympic Break.
"With the CBA, he's basically on his own, but he will continue to get the treatments he needs, and hopefully by the time we get back, he'll be ready to jump in with us," said Julien. "If not then, very soon."
Friday's Practice Lineup
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