AHL Bruins Forward Gaunce Suffers Head Injury Against Laval

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / ProvidenceBruins.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Providence Bruins forward Brendan Gaunce was taken off the ice on a stretcher tonight as his American Hockey League club is played the Laval Rocket on the road in the second game in three nights. The video below from Twitter account Scott Matla, Rocket Forward Michael McCarron plants an open-ice hit on Gaunce at the 14:50 mark of the first period. There was no penalty on the play. Per source in Laval, Quebec the 25-year-old Gaunce suffered a severe concussion and broken nose.

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This isn’t the first time this week that McCarron has been involved with contact to the head as Providence forward Peter Cehlarik was the subject of a McCarron hit on Wednesday night when these two clubs faced each other for the first time this season and the first game of the current four-game road trip. RinksideRhodeIsland.com reporter Mark Divver mentioned below that the AHL Bruins team could ask the league for a review which could result in the league also looking into Wednesday nights infraction that had Cehlarik playing the rest of the game with a protective cage as seen in the image above courtesy of the Providence Bruins official website.

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Bruins Game 7 Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Winslow Townson/AP)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

After two consecutive wins over the New Jersey Devils and the Anaheim Ducks, the Boston Bruins now look to start the hardest four-game stretch of the early season, starting things off against the Tampa Bay Lightning before a home-and-home match-up with the Toronto Maple Leafs and then the St. Louis Blues to wrap it all up. Boston is tied for third in the league standings with a 5-1-0 record and ten points.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have not had the best start to the new season, or at least not what they had hoped for coming off of their shocking first-round loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Lightning hold a 3-2-1 record after the first five games, positioning them in the first wild-card spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference.

Tampa is coming off of a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday after losing to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. The defending Presidents Trophy winners are still a great team, but have struggled early on.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 3-0-0 1.33 GAA .957 SV% Last Game: 31 Saves in 3-0 win vs NJD

TBL: Andrei Vasilevskiy 3-1-0 2.53 GAA .921 SV% Last Game: 33 Saves in 3-1 win vs MTL

Who’s Hot:

David Pastrnak. David Pastrnak. David Pastrnak. David Pastrnak. Why did I say his name four times? That’s how many goals the superstar forward scored against the Anaheim Ducks on, lighting the lamp four times en route to a 4-2 win over the Ducks in Boston. The performance led Pastrnak to becoming the first Bruin in the 2019-20 season to hit double-digits in points with 6-4-10 totals in six games so far. Everything is working for him right now and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon.

For many years now, Steven Stamkos has been the face of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Season after season, he is always near the top of team scoring and for that matter, league scoring. In 2019-20, nothing has changed, Stamkos currently leads the Lightning in points with 4-4-8 numbers in six games – tied with Nikita Kucherov. Stamkos has also been great on the face-off dot, winning 57.89% of the draws he takes. In 39 career games against Boston, Stamkos has 21-10-31 totals and will look to add to that tonight.

Even with the dominant performance from David Pastrnak against the Ducks, Brad Marchand was still as threatening. Anaheim managed to prevent Marchand from getting any shots on goal, yet he still finished the night with two assists – bringing his season total to 4-5-9 – second on the team in points. Marchand has found success against the Lightning throughout his career as well, scoring twelve goals and sixteen assists for 28 points in 33 games against Tampa.

Who’s Not

In one of the biggest moves of the 2018 Trade Deadline, defenceman Ryan McDonagh was traded from the New York Rangers to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Last season, the 30-year-old scored 9-37-46 totals in a full 82-game season with Tampa Bay, but only has one assist in the opening six games in 2019-2020. McDonagh only has two hits on the season and averages 21:52 time-on-ice. The one bright spot for him is his +5 rating in the plus/minus category, however, that statistic often gets a bad rap.

Today, Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk turns 23-years-old and it would be a perfect time for him to score his first goal of the new season. DeBrusk has one assist in six games, even though he has had opportunities to score in multiple games this season so far. With his center, David Krejci, out tonight with an upper-body injury, DeBrusk needs to step up offensively to bring some depth scoring to Boston against a stacked Lightning offence.

Charlie Coyle will move up in the lineup to be the second-line center for DeBrusk and Brett Ritchie, yet he himself only has one assist that was achieved in the opening game against the Dallas Stars back on October 3rd. The third-line of Heinen, Coyle and Ritchie had some chances in the last game against Anaheim, but failed to score. Tonight would be a good game for him to find his game that he had in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and get back on the score-sheet.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • G Tuukka Rask is playing in his 499th career NHL game
  • F Patrice Bergeron is four assists away (496) from 500 career NHL assists
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one assist away (496) from passing Rick Middleton (496) for sole-possession of 6th-most assists in Bruins history

Tampa Bay Lightning:

  • F Steven Stamkos is three goals away (397) from 400 career NHL goals

Bruins vs Lightning Outlook:

The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning have a rich history as Eastern Conference teams. Throughout the regular-season, the two franchises have played in 102 games against each other, with the Bruins having the better record of 64-28-9-1 – averaging 3.31 goals-for-per-game and 2.60 goals-against-per-game. In the playoffs, the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals come to mind when Boston defeated the Lightning in a razor-close Game 7 to advance to the Finals where the eventually won the Stanley Cup.

More recently, the Lightning dispatched of the Bruins in the 2018 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals in only five games after the B’s won Game One. These two teams have been atop the NHL’s Eastern Conference standings for the better part of the past decade and each game has created an entertaining affair.

Tampa Bay won the season series of four games in 2018-19, defeating the Bruins three times, (3-2, 5-4, and 6-3) while the Bruins won once by a final score of 4-1 on February 28th. Boston scored a total of thirteen goals for and allowed fifteen against in the four games.

Regarding specialty teams, this could be a very entertaining hockey game. On the power-play, both teams are tied with a 31.3% success rate on the man-advantage, however, the Bruins have a better penalty-kill percentage (83.3%) compared to Tampa’s 73.9%. Either way, it will be interesting to see what team’s specialty teams out-performs the other. It may just be the difference in who wins.

Bruins Projected Lineup:

David Krejci is out for the Bruins tonight after playing minimal minutes against Anaheim on Monday. After the game, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy expressed hope that Krejci would be able to play tonight, but evidently has decided to keep the veteran center out of the lineup. Charlie Coyle moves up while Par Lindholm centers Danton Heinen and Karson Kuhlman on the third-line. The first and fourth lines remain the same as of right now.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST in the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Bruins Game 4 Preview: Colorado Avalanche

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL on YouTube)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

The Boston Bruins have had a pretty solid start to the 2019-2020 campaign, winning all three games against the Dallas Stars, Arizona Coyotes and most-recently, the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. It is the first time since 2002 that the Bruins start a regular season with a 3-0-0 record and to do it all on the road nonetheless.

The Colorado Avalanche made a name for themselves last season with their powerhouse first line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. The Avs and Bruins were neck-and-neck in the competition for the best line in the NHL. Colorado managed to get into the playoffs as a Wild Card team and eliminated the Calgary Flames in five games before losing to the San Jose Sharks in seven.

In 2019-20, Colorado boasts a 2-0-0 record heading into tonight’s game against Boston, winning 5-3 over the Flames and 4-2 over the Wild last week. The Avalanche are coming into tonight’s game with four days of rest, having last played on Saturday, October, 5th.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 1-0-0 0.00 GAA 1.000 SV% Last Game: 1-0 Win vs ARI

COL: Phillip Grubauer 2-0-0 2.50 GAA .918 SV% Last Game: 4-2 Win vs MIN

Who’s Hot

Brad Marchand has been a force to be reckoned with for the Boston Bruins to start the season and he showed that with a two-goal performance in the 4-3 win over the Golden Knights on Tuesday night. It was Marchand’s second and third marker of the year, adding to the lone goal against the Coyotes last Saturday. The 31-year-old has 3-1-4 totals in three games so far.

As previously mentioned, the first line of the Avalanche is a scary threat to any team and Mikko Rantanen, fresh off his brand new six-year contract extension with Colorado, has showcased that so far. The Finnish winger has three goals and one assist for four points in only two games played for the Avs and he has 1-4-5 stat-sheet in seven career games against the Bruins.

Second in points for the Bruins so far this season is none other than linemate David Pastrnak. Even after many suggestions to place the young winger on the second-line alongside David Krejci, Bruce Cassidy has kept the dangerous first line together to start the season and it has paid off. Pastrnak currently has one goal and two assists for three points in the opening three games of ’19/’20 – all three of them coming in Tuesday’s win over Vegas.

Who’s Not

During the off-season, one of the bigger moves was the trade that sent Toronto Maple Leafs veteran Nazem Kadri to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defenceman Tyson Barrie and forward Alexander Kerfoot. So far with the Avs, Kadri has zero points in the opening two games and is playing just around 15 minutes per game. Kadri saw a decrease of about three minutes of ice time in Saturday’s win over Minnesota compared to Thursday’s win over Calgary.

Brandon Carlo is arguably one of the top defensive blueliners on the Boston Bruins right now and may have the potential to grow into one of the league’s best as well considering his young age. However, he has not had the greatest start to the new season, especially Tuesday versus the Golden Knights. On numerous occasions, Carlo made poor choices on pinches in the offensive zone that led to turnovers or chances for Vegas the other way. It is a small poor stretch, but expect this to end fast – even by tonight.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Brad Marchand is two assists away (298) from 300 career NHL assists
  • F Brad Marchand is one game-winning goal away (52) from passing Rick Middleton (52) for 6th-most game-winning goals in Bruins history

Colorado Avalanche:

  • F Gabriel Landeskog is one goal away (178) from passing Matt Duchene (178) for sole possession of 7th-most goals in Avalanche history.
  • F Nathan MacKinnon is one assist away (150) from passing Matt Duchene (150) for sole possession of 10th-most assists in Avalanche history.

Bruins vs Avalanche Outlook:

You do not want to miss this one. Two of the most dangerous lines in the National Hockey League today battle it out early in the season while both remain undefeated. Last season, the two teams played only a pair of games because they’re in opposing conferences. In the two games, the Bruins finished with a record of 1-1-0, losing 6-3 on November 14th and picking up a 2-1 overtime win in February.

As already stated, the Bruins and Avalanche are among a small group of teams still without a loss on the year, but after tonight, only one of these franchises will have a zero in the loss column. Colorado is averaging the third-most goals-for-per-game at roughly 4.5 goals scored. On the flip side, the Bruins are second in the NHL for the least amount of goals allowed (4), tied with the Chicago Blackhawks.

According to the morning rushes prior to the game, forward Joakim Nordstrom will make his season debut for the Bruins after dealing with an injury that dates back to the Stanley Cup Finals series. In response, forward Brett Ritchie (1-0-1 in 3 games) will be the healthy scratch for Boston.

For Colorado, forward J.T. Compher will miss tonight’s game (lower-body) while forward Colin Wilson and defenceman Mark Barberio will make their season debuts as well. Defenceman Ian Cole has been cleared for practice but he remains on the team’s injured reserve list (hips).

Finally, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will be in attendance for tonight’s game – just an additional piece of fun information.

Puck drop is scheduled for 9:00pm EST in the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, USA.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 148 that we recorded on 10-6-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Bruins F Anton Blidh Out Four Months After Shoulder Surgery

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

On September 24th, 2019, the Boston Bruins have confirmed that forward Anton Blidh will be forced to miss four months of playing time after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder.

The injury came in the Bruins’ first preseason meeting against the Philadelphia Flyers last week and it was rumored that the injury may require surgery. As news comes in today, it is now clear that Blidh underwent successful surgery to repair a ligament in his right shoulder at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) by Doctor Tom Holovacs.

The 24-year-old winger was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 6th Round (180th Overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and has been a staple as a depth forward in the organization, playing 263 career regular-season games with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League, amassing a 41-38-79 numbers dating back to the 2015-16 season.

Last year, Blidh was named assistant captain of the P-Bruins, finishing the 2018-19 campaign with 10-13-23 totals in 74 games. Over the course of his professional career, Blidh has played in a combined twenty-one games in the National Hockey League with the Boston Bruins, scoring only one goal and one assist for two points. Elite Prospects’ Erik K. Piri said the following about Blidh back in 2014.

“Blidh is a gritty winger who plays with a lot of energy. Can kill penalties and is a terrific shot blocker. Also owns some offensive instincts and a willingness to go hard to the net. Loves to agitate and rile up opponents.”

Before joining Providence, Blidh spent his time with a variety of different teams in his home country of Sweden with his best point-producing season coming in the 2013-14 campaign where he scored 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points in 27 games for the Frölunda HC J20 in the SuperElit league.

Back in May of this year, the Boston Bruins re-signed the Mölnlycke, Sweden native to a two-year, two-way contract extension worth $700,000 per season. That deal is scheduled to expire at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season. For the Bruins, this is a tough injury as Blidh was a solid member of the Providence Bruins forward core and could have been a potential recall in the case of an injury to a forward in the big leagues.

If his recovery goes smoothly and efficiently, we should see Anton Blidh back in a sweater, likely for the Baby Bruins in the AHL in the early stages of the 2020 calendar year. For more information on Blidh, David Krejci, and other Boston Bruins injury reports, news, and updates, make sure to give me a follow on Twitter, (@tkdmaxbjj ), and check back frequently on the Black N’ Gold Hockey website.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Report: Bruins Forward David Krejci Will Not Return To Preseason Game vs PHI

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Tonight, September 23rd, the Boston Bruins have announced that veteran forward David Krejci will not return to Monday’s preseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers with a lower-body injury.

Playing for the first time in the updated TD Garden in the seven-game preseason schedule, the Bruins opened up the game with a beautiful snipe from rookie winger Jakub Lauko in the first period and looking pretty good on a few man-advantages. The Flyers did not sit back fully, however, as recently-signed Travis Konecny buried one past Tuukka Rask to even the score at one apiece.

During the course of the opening frame, David Krejci only played two shifts for a combined total of 1:55 of ice-time. Bruins CLNS Media member, Evan Marinofsky, shared the video of the suspected scenario that resulted in Krejci’s injury. Whether it is a knee, ankle, or foot injury – is not yet certain at this point.

While it seems like a good time to panic about the severity of the injury, I gently remind you that it is only preseason hockey and it could very well be a precautionary measure to ensure Krejci does not seriously injury himself before the start of the regular season. Krejci only missed one game last season and proved once again that he is a pivotal part to this organization.

Krejci tied a career-high in points last season with 20-53-73 numbers in 81 games played along with an impressive 4-12-16 stat-sheet in the 24 games during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In the past, Krejci has dealt with injuries during the season that has caused some fans to attribute him as being “injury-prone”, but either way every player goes through injuries – all you can do is hope they recover quickly.

In the meantime, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy will be shuffling his lines around everywhere for the remainder of this game tonight in order to fill the vacancy that Krejci has now left. Charlie Coyle will likely see time alongside wingers David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand as he is the second-best center on the ice for Boston tonight.

At the end of the second period, the Bruins are leading the Flyers by a score of 2-1 as a result of Brad Marchand’s tally early in the middle period. Word on Krejci’s injury is likely to come following the conclusion of this game. Stay tuned on my Twitter @tkdmaxbjj and the Black N’ Gold Hockey website for the latest on Boston Bruins news and injury reports.

The Bruins have two more preseason games before opening night on October 3rd. First, the New Jersey Devils in Boston on Wednesday and a final meeting with the Chicago Blackhawks in Boston this Saturday.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!

Bruins Patrice Bergeron Preparing For Another Career Season

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

In the future, the Boston Bruins will likely be raising the #37 banner into the TD Garden rafters and Patrice Bergeron will go down as one of the greatest players to play in the Spoked-B sweater and one of the greatest defensive forwards in the history of the National Hockey League.Thankfully for us, we are still in the midst of Bergeron’s career and the accolades and milestones will only continue to pile up.

Before we dive into Bergeron’s upcoming 2019-20 campaign, it helps to learn about the beginning stages of the beloved assistant captain. Bergeron was drafted 45th Overall (2nd Round) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Born in L’Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec, Canada, Bergeron spent his junior career in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

Bergeron played the full 2002-03 season with the Titan, putting up an impressive 23-50-73 stat sheet in 70 games including another 15 points in 11 playoff games. After being selected by the Bruins in the NHL Draft, he made his way to the big leagues, where he played in 71 games during the 2003-2004 regular season, scoring 16-23-39 numbers in that span. This was the same year that Bergeron won his World Championship Gold Medal with Canada.

Due to the lockout in the 2004-2005 NHL season, Bergeron played with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League, scoring 61 points in 68 games. The center was also able to play in the Under-20 World Junior Hockey Championship where he would once again win Gold with Canada while winning the MVP of the tournament and scoring the most points (13) out of any other player. Following his first 70-point season for Boston, Bergeron was named assistant captain of the Bruins to start the 2006-2007 campaign.

Patrice was forced to miss the entirety of the 2007-08 season due to a concussion suffered in October of ’07, but came back the following year with 8-31-39 totals in 64 games played. After winning his first of two Olympic Gold Medals with Canada in 2010, Bergeron scored 57 points in 80 games, but added another 20 points in 24 playoff games to win the Stanley Cup in 2011. This win stamped Patrice Bergeron’s name in the “Triple Gold Club” – World Championship Gold, Olympic Gold, and Stanley Cup.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Brian Babineau/Boston Bruins)

In his 15-year career with the Boston Bruins to date, the now 34-year-old Bergeron has 321-492-813 numbers in 1028 career NHL games, winning the Frank J. Selke Trophy for best defensive forward in the NHL four times (tied with Bob Gainey for most all-time), winning Olympic Gold twice, and having his #37 retired by the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

In this past 2018-19 season, Bergeron dealt with some injuries throughout the year, keeping him to only 65 games played, but he managed to hit the 70-point mark for the first time since his concussion twelve seasons ago and he nearly hit 80 points for the first time in his career. According to Hockey Reference, Bergeron recorded 42 takeaways and only 27 giveaways, earning his eighth-straight Selke nomination.

With the official Bruins training camp beginning tomorrow, we turn to the upcoming 2019-2020 NHL season and this one, not anymore than the other years, can be and should be a career-setting season for one of the best. Below are some of the big milestones and accomplishments that can be reached by “Bergy” this year.

  • 500 Career Assists (Current: 492)
  • 850 Career Points (Current: 813)
  • 3rd-Most Games Played as a Bruin (Don Sweeney: 1052) (Current: 1028)
  • 5th-Most Goals as a Bruin (Cam Neely: 344) (Current: 321)
  • 5th-Most Assists as a Bruin (Wayne Cashman: 516) (Current: 492)
  • 5th-Most Points as a Bruin (Bobby Orr: 888) (Current: 813)
  • 4th-Most Even-Strength Goals as a Bruin (Wayne Cashman: 218) (Current: 209)
  • 5th-Most Power-Play Goals as a Bruin (Rick Middleton: 102) (Current: 96)
  • 2nd-Most Shots as a Bruin (Phil Esposito: 3223) (Current: 3047)

From the statistics above, it is clear that for the remainder of history, Patrice Bergeron will be one of the greatest players to play for the Boston Bruins and as his career continues, he will only continue to rise through the rankings of some of the all-time greats.

However, recent news showed that Bergeron may still be dealing with some lingering injuries that have been bothering him for the past few seasons. During the Stanley Cup Finals, it was made clear that Bergeron was dealing with a groin injury that kept him from playing at a full 100-percent. Once the series concluded, the news came out that he would not require off-season surgery, but Bergeron said the pain has lingered during the summer.

“I feel better,” he said. “It’s still lingering a little bit. It’s been there most of the summer, so I got a PRP in July I think and I’m slowly ramping it up on the ice and … I think it’s what we’re trying shoot for is more October rather than this Thursday.” 

If Patrice Bergeron does decide to participate in the Bruins training camp that begins tomorrow, expect him to be limited in what he can do. Regardless, the hope is for Bergeron to have a full season or at least one that does not see much time missed. Bergeron went on to say the following in the same NHL.com article by Matt Kalman.

“It’s been a short summer. I think the best way to go at it is to kind of take it slowly and kind of make sure you get ready for October instead of getting ready for the first day of camp,” Bergeron said. “I think it’s how you kind of build that up and how you’re able to be fully rested or feeling good in January and February and the long stretch. You know I think that’s what you’ve got to aim for.”

Do you think Patrice Bergeron hits any or all of the milestones above? Let me know via Twitter @tkdmaxbjj.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 144 that we recorded on 9-8-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE For Link To Our YouTube Channel!

B’s Chara Confirms He Played Through Multiple Jaw Fractures

2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five

( Photo Credit: The Buffalo News )

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara confirmed today during the end of season media availability that he indeed played through a broken jaw and in fact played through multiple fractures in his jaw after blocking a Brayden Schenn shot in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. The expected recovery for Chara is 5-6 weeks.

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Chara made a miraculous return to the lineup just days after suffering the injury, as he didn’t miss any time in the lineup. He, however, only played 16:42 in the Game five loss as the Bruins decided to play seven defensemen. The 42-year-old then played 22:15 in the B’s 5-1 win in Game six which was the second-highest time on ice total on the team. With his goal in Game six, Chara became the oldest player to score in a Stanley Cup Final game, and with his appearance in Game seven, he broke the record for most Game seven appearances with 14.

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Chara signed a one-year extension on March 28th as he was set to go into this offseason unsigned. There’s obviously no guarantee he does indeed come back as it would be feasible for him to retire as well. Knowing him, however, I would be very surprised if he chose to hang them up. It will be interesting to see if his minutes decrease next season considering his age and considering the capable young defensemen on the Bruins roster already.

Bruins D Matt Grzelcyk, Zdeno Chara Deemed Game-Time Decisions

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PHOTO CREDITS: Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

Boston Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced earlier today, June 6th, that defensemen Zdeno Chara and Matt Grzelcyk are deemed game-time decisions for tonight’s pivotal Game Five of the Stanley Cup Finals in Boston, Massachusetts.

The news comes today after many speculated on the numerous off days since the Game Four loss on Monday that Zdeno Chara was done for the remainder of the postseason with what was assumed to be a broken jaw. However, it was made clear that the 42-year-old captain did not need his jaw to be wired shut and he is not missing any teeth but he does indeed have a brace going along his bottom gum line according to Shawn Hutcheon.

Chara’s injury came from the second period in Game Four when he attempted to block a wrist shot from Blues forward Brayden Schenn with the Bruins down 2-1 on the scoreboard. As a result, Chara inadvertently deflected the shot off of his monstrous stick and directly into his face. A flow of blood immediately poured out of the giant as he skated off to the Bruins locker room. Chara did end up returning in the final regulation period with a full face mask, but did not play a shift as he felt “uncomfortable”.

As for Matt Grzelcyk, his injury came back during Game Two of the Finals, when he took a hard hit along the end boards by Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. The National Hockey League’s Player Safety took a look at the hit and following a hearing, was suspended for Game Three. After taking the hit hard, Grzelcyk appeared to stumble when he got up, sending him through concussion protocol.

The 25-year-old was forced to miss Game Four on Monday but was seen wearing a maroon-colored non-contact jersey in practice on Wednesday but Cassidy was not positive on his status for Thursday’s contest. Earlier today, Cassidy clarified that Grzelcyk is also a game-time decision like Chara and if he feels ready to go around 7:00pm, then he will be in the lineup.

During the talks of both injuries, Cassidy mentioned the fact that he may lean to running seven defensemen and eleven forwards for Game Five and according to the Head Coach on Thursday, that idea still remains a topic of discussion ahead of puck drop, even if both blueliners are feeling up to the task of playing in this crucial game.

In regard to the injury, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said this in a written response to the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association:

“You don’t think about that. You think about playing. You don’t go into a game thinking you might get hurt. At this time of the playoffs, everyone has injuries and there are challenges that you have to overcome to play. I’m no different than any player on either team.”

The 2019 Stanley Cup Finals is deadlocked at two games apiece with tonight’s game in Boston giving the winner a 3-2 series lead and a chance to win the Stanley Cup on Sunday in St. Louis. The current scheduled puck drop for the game is 8:00pm EST.

Next Man Up: Zdeno Chara Status Uncertain for Bruins in SCF Game 5

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( Photo Credit: wcvb.com )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter:  @yanlatz

As the Bruins and Blues prepare for a pivotal game five in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Boston Bruins could be without their captain. In game four at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Zdeno Chara took a puck to the face in the second period that prevented him from returning to the game. Now, Bruce Cassidy and the Bruins might have to adjust to missing their leader for a big game of a tied Stanley Cup Final series.

Just three minutes into the second period of game four, the Bruins lost their captain after Brayden Schenn rifled a shot that ramped off of Chara’s defending stick and into his mouth area. Chara would leave for the second period, and the Bruins were again down to five defensemen much like game two in which they lost in overtime. At the start of the third period, Chara was on the Bruins bench with a full shield on, leading many to believe that the monster defenseman would play. However, he did not touch the ice besides in between TV timeouts to rally up his troops. It was later revealed by Cassidy that Chara was advised not to play as he was “very uncomfortable” but wanted to sit on the bench to be there for his teammates.

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After Ryan O’Reilly buried a late third-period game-winning goal that would ultimately tie the Stanley Cup Finals series at two games apiece, worry crept into Bruins fans’ minds about the status of the Bruins captain. On Tuesday, it was reported that Zdeno Chara broke his jaw as a result and he ultimately missed practice on Wednesday at TD Garden. At the conclusion of Bruins practice, Cassidy spoke about Chara’s facial injury and that it was not a good sign that Zee was not on the ice on Wednesday.

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So, all signs are pointing to Big Zee potentially being out for at least game five in this series. That leaves Bruce Cassidy with some very tough decisions heading into arguably the biggest game of the series and the season for both the Bruins and the Blues. With Grzelcyk going down after a hard hit from Oskar Sundqvist in game two, John Moore was called on to step in and replace Grzelcyk on the blue line. The next man up that we have seen step up in these playoffs would be Steven Kampfer. However, Cassidy has second-guessed the insertion of Kampfer because he is a right-handed shot and would throw off the right-left balance between Kampfer and Connor Clifton – a balance that is consistent with the rest of the defense.

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Another option would be for Cassidy to insert Bruins rookie standout Urho Vaakanainen into the lineup. Urho would solve the right-left shot balance as he is a left-handed shooting defenseman. However, this could be a risky move as Vaakanainen has only played two regular season games in the NHL.

The third option for Bruce Cassidy and his coaching staff is to roll eleven forwards and seven defensemen. This, of course, would mean that a forward would be scratched in order to make room for the seventh defenseman which would likely be David Backes as he was often the odd forward out in the earlier rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs when Karson Kuhlman was with Krejci and DeBrusk on the second line. The Blues have beaten the Bruins twice this series, and both times the Bruins have lost defenseman for a big chunk of the game when they lost Grzelcyk in the first period of game two and Chara at the beginning of the second period of game four.

On Wednesday, the practice lines looked like this:

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Krejci – Backes
Johansson – Coyle – Heinen
Nordstrom – Kuraly – Acciari
Moore – McAvoy
Krug – Carlo
Kampfer – Clifton
Grzelcyk – Vaakanainen
Rask
Halak

As of Wednesday, Cassidy stated that Grzelcyk still needs to be cleared which he is possible to get cleared tomorrow. It appears that Kampfer would play with Clifton in game five, but that will ultimately depend on if Cassidy wants to remove a forward and go with the seven defensemen, if Grzelcyk is cleared, or if Vaakanainen gets the call over Kampfer. Good news is that Grzelcyk looked well on the ice and that he skated with the second powerplay unit indicating that he is close but still needs to be cleared.

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All in all, Cassidy is in for a series of crucial tough decisions for the all-important game five at TD Garden on Thursday night. If Chara is unable to go for game five, the Bruins will undoubtedly miss his leadership on and off the ice.