No, but seriously, the injuries are getting ridiculous at this point. Although the Bruins regained Kevan Miller Wednesday night in Detroit, the Bruins’ Injured Reserve List is as follows:
C Patrice Bergeron – Sternoclavicular/Ribs – Minimum 4 Weeks
D Zdeno Chara – Medial Collateral Ligament – To Be Reevaluated after 4 Weeks
D Brandon Carlo – Upper Body Injury – No Timetable
D Charlie McAvoy – Concussion – No Timetable (Skating with Non-Contact Jersey)
D Urho Vaakanainen – Concussion – No Timetable
They also have been missing John Moore for the last week with a lower-body injury, but are expected to see him make his return to the lineup tonight. So, to recap, the Bruins have been without the majority of their NHL defense corps and will be without their number one centerman and number one defenseman for at least the next month.
Time to panic yet?
There is SOME good news. As previously mentioned, Charlie McAvoy has begun skating with the team at practices this week in a non-contact jersey. Concussions are a fickle injury, so patience is key in their recovery, but this is still an important step for him to eventually work his way back into the lineup. John Moore is supposed to return tonight. Kevan Miller came back on Wednesday. So there’s that.
On the other side of the coin, WE ARE GETTING EXCITED TO SEE BOTTOM PAIR DEFENSEMEN GET BACK INTO THE LINEUP. There have been rumblings the last week or two that there is a legitimate concern that Vaakanainen’s concussion may hold him out of the lineup for the remainder of the season. At 19 years old, that severe of a concussion has the potential to derail his previously impressive and encouraging upwards trajectory. At the very macro-level, it is concerning to see a teenager dealing with a serious traumatic brain injury that likely will impact his quality of life a few decades down the road. Chara is a MINIMUM of a month and based on what the injury looked like in Colorado, that’s a projection so optimistic that Hermie the Elf must be the source.
So, in the interim, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson will get an opportunity to ply his craft at the NHL level. The kid’s line with JFK, Danton Heinen, and Anders Bjork has looked good in the offensive zone so far. Joakim Nordstrom, a third line winger in the most optimal lineup composition, is now the second line center, despite having no experience playing in the middle in his entire professional career. The league’s most dominant line has been split up. David Krejci no longer has the benefit of playing behind one of the greatest two-way centers to ever lace up skates. OK I’M PANICKING NOW!
Jeremy Lauzon looks good as the veteran of 8 NHL games he is, potting a goal and three assists in those games. He has gained enough confidence from Bruce Cassidy to be deployed on the penalty kill with regularity and to be on the ice at the end of the game in Arizona protecting a one-goal lead. At the very least, he looks like a legitimate NHL defenseman at this point, despite the Top 4 upside not necessarily being there. Matt Grzelcyk (obligatory Grzelcyk mention) continues to be impressive, and force the front office to make a very difficult decision when (if) the roster is fully healthy. Gee, who could’ve foreseen that Matt Grzelcyk would be a tremendous transitional defenseman capable of logging 20-25 minutes a night? Also, LAUZON logged over 22 minutes against Arizona.
Connor Clifton has been OK, although I’m not sure the decision-making is 100% where it needs to be at this level. But if I’m being honest, he might be a better option than Steven Kampfer right now. Heck, Jakub Zboril (who did NOT look good whatsoever against Dallas, and I legitimately have concerns about whether or not he will be an impact NHL defenseman at this point) might actually be a better option than Kampfer, who looks like he is getting in this lineup simply because he has played some NHL games at this point. Kampfer looks entirely outmatched, and one can only hope that he sees his responsibilities pared down as some of these defensemen return.
Oh, and that Tuukka Rask that we saw the first month of the season? Yeah, he’s gone. The real Tuukka Rask has stood up. HOWEVER, could we have predicted that Rask would have a bad first month and a half then turn into a Top 10 goaltender?
What year is it?
So, bubble wrap. Yes. All of it. I have a roll lying around here somewhere. You can have it. I WILL BUY YOU SOME. PLEASE. Can we chip in to buy Jeremy Jacobs some bubble wrap? It’s not like he has the disposable income to do so. And before someone asks, no. We do not need an enforcer. They don’t exist in this league. Fighting doesn’t do anything. There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that there is a surge in momentum after a fight, and fights tend to simply be a constant trading of brain blows for no reason other than MASCULINITY *GRUNTING NOISES* I’M STRONGER THAN YOU
OK. That is all. Please stay healthy.