Injury Bug Bites Bruins
OK, OK, Bruins fans…. it’s my fault.
It’s the superstitious side of me. Several weeks ago, in an article for Rant Sports, I posted that the main reason for the Bruins success has been because they have been relatively healthy. I stated that injuries in years past have plagued the Bruins and the reason the B’s were so successful in their Stanley Cup run was because they faced few injuries. I posted the amount of games played by the players over the last two seasons, including playoffs. The very last line of the article was me stating a personal opinion hoping I don’t jinx them. Well, maybe I should have knocked on wood, because that’s apparently exactly what I’ve done.
Lets look at the timeline…. I posted that article on February 7th, at which time only Forward Nathan Horton was out of the lineup due to injury.
- February 7th…….. article gets posted
- February 15th…… forward Rich Peverley suffers a 3rd degree MCL sprain in his right knee after a collision in a game against Montreal. Out 4-6 weeks.
- February 25th….. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk suffers a mild concussion after a devastating legal hit from Chris Neil. Missed three games but returned March 4th vs the Rangers.
- March 1st………. Defenseman Andrew Ference suffered a lower body injury in a game against the New Jersey Devils. Listed as day-to-day.
- March 3rd……… Forward Daniel Paille has an upper body injury after a collision in a game against the New York Islanders.
- March 3rd……… Goalie Tuukka Rask leaves the Islanders game in the second period with an apparent leg injury after adjusting to try to save a deflected shot.
Both Paille, Rask and Ference did not make the trip to New York for the Rangers game. So the Bruins, who have grown so accustomed to rolling out four lines of solid players, are now forced to play emergency call-ups, and players making their NHL debuts. In step Zach Hamill, Jordan Caron, Josh Hennessy, Carter Camper, Lane MacDermid, and Michael Hutchinson. Luckily GM Peter Chiarelli added defensemen Mike Mottau and Greg Zanon just before the trade deadline for some extra depth at the blue line.
The major concern is for Tuukka Rask, who is considered to be the goalie of the future for the Bruins and many people were hoping he can log serious minutes in the upcoming weeks before the playoffs to help rest Tim Thomas. Michael Hutchinson was called up fro Providence to be Thomas’ backup, but lets face it, he’s barely proven himself in the minors. In 28 games in Providence, he has gone 13-10-1 with a 3.13 GAA and .904 save %. The Bruins probably would have recalled Anton Khudobin to back up Thomas but (surprise, surprise) he got a wrist injury a week before and is out at least two weeks. Khudobin has little NHL experience but has posted good numbers (4-1-0, 1.39 GAA, .955 sv%). The fear now is that Tim Thomas (38 yrs old this April) will now have to pick up extra minutes and will burn out in the playoffs.
There is still just over a month to go in the regular season, which is plenty of time for the Bruins to get healthy again. But how healthy will they be?