Wow, I’ve got say I was quite surprised to see the alert on my phone yesterday morning that David Backes is set to have part of his colon removed and will miss at least the next 8 weeks. And maybe I missed it earlier during his illness, but there wasn’t any report saying this was a possibility. The surgery will remove the diseased part of Backes’ colon and then hopefully connect the two healthy ends together. If not, it will require a second surgery.
For Backes I just hope he is able to make a full recovery and is able to resume regular life activities comfortably. It’s a pretty major surgery and is going to be difficult to bounce back from and be an effective player this season. And regardless of the reason for his absence, two months is a ton of time to miss fir anyone and still stay sharp. He will need to get back into game shape and likely get his regular strength back. But if there is anything we have learned from watching Backes the past year plus, he is as tough as they come.
For the Bruins as a team the timing for this could not be any worse. With David Krejci already out with a back issue this is a huge blow to the lineup. Backes is the glue to the team’s toughness and resiliency. Without his stength and dependability in the lineup there are a fair share of players waiting to be exposed.
I actually hate to say this but I am looking forward to Ryan Spooner coming back. I know he doesn’t bring the toughness you’d like but when Riley Nash is being relied on to be your second best center you know you are in trouble. And you really can get stuck up a certain odorous creek when Sean Kuraly and Jordan Szwarz are your other two centers.
Even the Montreal Canadiens have better center depth than the Bruins do right now. Krejci is not even skating yet and the last update coach Bruce Cassidy gave was he was week to week. One could assume at the very least he starts skating next week. Spooner is still probably still weeks away while his Bruins career is on life support, so who knows what he is going to give upon his return. We certainly can’t expect to see what we see from him when he filled in for the injured Krejci in 2015 but any warm body with “NHL centerman” on their resume is welcome at this point.
Unfortunately even with Backes in the lineup this past Monday against Columbus the Bruins, physically inferior, were a two line team. Now that Cassidy is loading up the top line, putting David Pastrnak with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, this has become a one line team as the Bruins bottom-six forwards are overflowing with borderline NHL talent. There is a reason why Szwarz has played most of his career in the AHL. Frank Vatrano cannot seem to get it going as he cannot create for himself. Matt Beleskey has been a healthy scratch the past few games and when he has been in the lineup he has not been able to find the production he had his first year in Boston. And Sean Kuraly cannot seem to find his 2017 playoff magic, that if it were not for the current injuries, he would most likely be down in Providence.
For the Bruins this season it has been the perfect storm of injuries. If the Bruins can weather this stretch and keep their head above water they might be alright. But in order for that to happen the line of Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak will need to be unstopable. Also the young guys will need to start chipping in a little more to create any scoring depth.
There’s really only a little good news for the B’s right now; their opponent tonight is the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Vegas does not have a top pairing D that will be able to run with the 88-37-63 line. I expect that line will have a big night. Video game stats. I am going to make sure Bergeron and Pastrnak are in my fantasy lineup tonight.
And lastly, I never should have laughed at how bad the Canadiens were doing. The Habs have won two in a row and now the hockey gods are feeding me a softer, injury riddled Bruins team for revenge. But it sure was fun while it lasted.
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