(Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)
By Mike Cratty Twitter: @Mike_Cratty
Practice got underway earlier today for the Boston Bruins and yet again, David Krejci, unfortunately, wasn’t present. The Czech centerman was a last-minute scratch from the Bruins lineup in their 5-4 OT loss to the Buffalo Sabres last Saturday and has been sidelined from practice ever since with an upper-body injury. Bruce Cassidy has this to say about David Krejci’s status earlier today.
The Bruins need Krejci back in the lineup. His hockey IQ, as well as his playmaking abilities, are welcomed. He could have been of great help in the epic collapse from last Saturday.
Krejci has one goal, five assists, and six points through six games, making him a point-per-game player at the moment. That stat line has him tied for fourth in points on the team with Anders Bjork, as well as second in assists with Brad Marchand. He’s done this playing one less game than Bjork and Marchand while being a great help down the middle for his linemates Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak, as well as on special teams.
The Bruins will come back from four days of rest to take on the San Jose Sharks tomorrow night. The Sharks are 3-1 in their last four games. In these games, they have scored an average of 3.75 goals and allowed an average of 2 goals. The return of Krejci to a Bruins lineup with a good amount of uncertainty would have been really beneficial. It’s partially on David Backes now to step up in Krejci’s role for however long Krejci ends up being out for down the road. Backes has seen time in recent practices between Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak on the second line.
On a brighter note, Kevan Miller was on the ice with a black jersey. Miller had spent the past two practices, but with a red non-contact jersey. Miller, like Krejci, missed last Saturday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. Miller isn’t a perfect defenseman, but when he’s on his game, he often makes a solid impact with his stay-at-home ability, his physicality, and his toughness.
Tuukka Rask made progress today at practice, much like Kevan Miller. The Patriot Ledger’s Mike Loftus was all over Rask’s situation at practice.
Getting Tuukka Rask back would be especially big after what happened against the Sabres. Tuukka’s numbers in the early going are ugly, 1-3-0, 3.30 GAA, .882 save percentage, but when it all comes down to it, he’s the number one goalie and backbone of the Boston Bruins.
Anton Khudobin started last Saturday in place of Rask, here’s how Bruce Cassidy described his performance.
“He battles. We love that about him. He battled to the end. Certainly made his share of saves. We need to be better in front of him. But there were times that, there were fires that needed to be put out that shouldn’t have been necessary. But that happens sometimes.”
Looking back at the game, this is a fair judgment. Khudobin had good and bad moments, but they weren’t always all his fault. He hasn’t been too shabby in his time between the pipes so far this season. Khudobin record currently stands at 2-0-1 with a 2.97 GAA and a .910 save percentage.
Good news and bad news. At this point, in a season that has been riddled with injuries for the Bruins thus far, seeing any good news is a thrill.