SOURCE: [Joe Haggerty-NBCSNNE] “It wouldn’t be another week in the Bruins season without new and damaging injuries. Now it’s top-6 wingers Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork being left behind as the Bruins embark on a three-game road swing through California.”
Wow. Are you kidding me? Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork are not making the trip to California? They have not been ruled out from joining the team on the road trip but you have to assume that they are at least going to miss the first two games since they are back-to-back.
The hits just keep on coming for Bruce Cassidy and the Bruins. Of the 16 games the Bruins have played this season they have only had their top two centers, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, in the same lineup once. And that was way back on the sixth game of the season in a convincing 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
In our Atlantic Division season preview I mentioned that no other team in the division can match the Bruins center depth. Yet now the Bruins have not had their top three centers in the same lineup at all this season. Ryan Spooner hurt his groin in the fifth game of the season in Vegas which was the game before Patrice Bergeron came back.
It’s pretty clear the Bruins are dealing with an uphill battle with all of their injuries. You have to hope that Marchand is not out again due to the concussion protocol that caused him to miss two games last week. I am assuming that is the case for Anders Bjork after taking the huge open ice hit from Matt Martin on Saturday.
The organizational depth has been tested this season but this is about as deep as a team can go looking for warm bodies in Providence. The B’s still have too many borderline NHLers and AHLers playing top-nine roles and there isn’t much the coaching staff or management can do about it. Matt Beleskey and Frank Vatrano should be counting their blessings because all the injuries have given them plenty of opportunities to play. Without the injuries who knows where those two players would be.
What the injuries are also not helping is the Bruins power play. I watch a ton of hockey, and almost every minute of every Bruins game. I have never seen anyone have as much trouble with zone entries on the power play as the B’s right now. Even when the power play is rolling along pretty well they still struggle with zone entries. It is mind blowing how bad they are. They also seem to lose almost every battle along the boards and turn over the puck by making dumb passes or forcing plays. Again, injuries do not help the situation.
The good news is David Krejci is making the trip out west and looks to be joining the lineup against the Ducks on Wednesday. He has now missed 10 games with a back injury. If anyone can help the power play it’s Krejci.
And if there was any silver lining to all the Bruins current injuries it’s that they will be playing a team in the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow night that are dealing with their own injury bug as well. The Ducks are missing key players like Patrick Eaves, Ryan Getzlaf and Cam Fowler. So they have that going for them… which is nice.
Somehow the Bruins will need to find a way to score more goals on the west coast all while missing Marchand and more from the lineup. Good luck with that. Buckle up fans. This week’s growing pains will be paired with sleep deprivation from the late night starts.
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