Bergeron (lower body) 'hopeful' to play vs. Bolts

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Bergeron (lower body) 'hopeful' to play vs. Bolts

TAMPA BAY Patrice Bergeron would only say that his injury was to his "lower body injury," and that hes "hopeful" hell be able to suit up and play Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Bruins invaluable two-way center was injured when he blocked a Matti Niskanen shot in the second period of Bostons 5-2 loss to the Penguins Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh. Bergeron gamely tried twice to return to the game prior to exiting the game for good after one shift in the third period. It was unclear whether the puck struck his knee, ankle or foot and Bergeron wouldnt specify the location of the injury.

It was good news for the Bs to simply pronounce Bergeron was day-to-day when many feared the worst after he was unable to return to an important game on Sunday, but he may miss a game or two at the very least.

Boston has called up Trent Whitfield on emergency recall from Providence in case Bergeron is unable to play.

Bruins coach Claude Julien called Bergeron a question mark for Tuesdays game against a Lightning team thats seven points out of the playoffs while mired into a three-game losing streak. Its pretty clear the Bruins would be up a river without a paddle if No. 37 was out for a prolonged period, but thats not the case.

Bergeron will be a game-time decision, I guess, and well reevaluate him tomorrow, Julien said. Daniel Paille is still day-to-day and a possibility to play. Pouliot, we dont know yet and hes day-to-day. McQuaid is banged up and day-to-day. The only major injury we had was Sauve and we sent him back to Boston this morning.

The rest of the players are all with us because its day-to-day situations.

Adam McQuaid is similarly a question mark after appearing to injure his shoulder in a collision with James Neal, and Max Sauve was sent back to Boston on Sunday after suffering an injury in the hip area that forced him onto crutches leaving the CONSOL Energy Center.

Sauve got hit. I think it was more of a hip-area injury and he was limping pretty badly, said Julien. He left the arena on crutches and it looked like he was going to be out for awhile, so we just sent him back.

Meanwhile Paille inches close to a return from his upper body injury and may be able to suit up against the Lightning on Tuesday after missing the last four games. It sounds like there will be a number of game-time decisions for Julien and Co. when the players take the ice for pregame warm-up at the Tampa Times Forum tomorrow night.

The injuries are all coming at the same time and theyre all coming at the end of the season, so you have to wonder if theyre fatigue-related, said Julien. But any team that plays 22 games in their last 40 games is going to be subject to those kinds of injuries. We have to be careful about that and find our rest.

Bergeron stands atop all the rest in terms of importance and impact on the hockey club. The pivot may miss a game or two at a time when the Bruins are searching for answers amid prolonged struggles, but thats a lot better than the broken-boned alternative.

NFL combine preview: Tight ends

NFL combine preview: Tight ends

With the NFL combine about to begin -- and the NFL Draft just about two months away -- we'll take a daily look at the collegiate talent available at positions where the Patriots might be looking for help. We start today with: Tight ends.

On Tuesday, players will arrive in Indianapolis for the NFL scouting combine, with on-field workouts beginning Friday. 

The second group to take the field is the tight end group, which should be worth watching for a number of reasons. For starters, Todd McShay says that this is “a good year to need a tight end” given that there could be three first-rounders in O.J. Howard, David Njoku and Jake Butt.

Furthermore, Martellus Bennett’s potential departure and Rob Gronkowski’s durability questions make tight end a position the Patriots could target early come April 27. 

Here’s a quick look at each of the 19 tight ends invited to the combine: 

O.J. Howard, Alabama, 6-foot-6, 249 pounds

- NFL.com describes him as an “exceptionally gifted athlete” and says that his “play speed resembles a wide receiver’s when the ball is in the air.” They add he “appears passive” as a blocker and “need more muscle and mass to be an in-line blocker as a pro.”

David Njoku, Miami, 6-foot-4, 245 pounds

- Not the biggest guy in the world at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds, but is considered a top-end athlete. NFL.com says he “should annihilate the combine with monster numbers in speed and explosion.”

Jake Butt, Michigan, 6-foot-6, 250 pounds 

- Does everything well, but could stand to fill out his frame a bit more. 

Jordan Leggett, Clemson, 6-foot-5, 250 pounds

- Not considered a great blocker and has admitted that he’s played lazily. Could the Pats fix his motor? 

Gerald Everett, South Alabama, 6-foot-3, 227 pounds

- Very interesting prospect. Primarily a basketball player in high school who played just one year of football (insert Antonio Gates basketball reference), Everett played at Alabama-Birmingham before the school cut its football program. Upon transferring to South Alabama, Everett showed his skills as a pass-catching tight end. 

Evan Engram, Mississippi, 6-foot-3, 236 pounds

- Itty bitty for a tight end, and he doesn’t have the greatest hands either. Described as a “move tight end only who lacks dependability as a blocker.”   

He was one of five who for second in the nation among tight ends with eight touchdowns last season. Other guys in that group were Njoku, Hayden Plinke,  Cole Hikutini and UMass’ Adam Breneman.

Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech, 6-foot-7, 245 pounds

- Just your average quarterback-turned-tight-end. The lanky Hodges would be a good fit for the Patriots simply because it would give Julian Edelman a break from the constant mention during broadcasts that he used to be a QB. 

Cole Hikutini, Louisville, 6-foot-5, 248 pounds

- A good athlete who isn’t much of a blocker.

Adam Shaheen, Ashland, 6-foot-6, 277 pounds

- Former college basketball player transferred from Pittsburgh-Johnstown to Ashland to focus on football and eventually established himself as a dominant player at the Division II level. He’s certainly got the size and strength, but questions will persist about just how similarly he holds up going from Division II to the NFL. 

Jeremy Sprinkle, Arkansas, 6-foot-5, 265 pounds

- Big, physical tight end with a solid stiff arm. Sprinkle was suspended by Arkansas for the Belk Bowl because he stole from a Belk department store after each player had been given $450 to spend there. He was arrested for the incident, as he stole $260 worth of extra items.

Pharoh Brown, Oregon, 6-foot-6, 245 pounds

- Not considered the athlete he was prior to a 2014 injury that nearly resulted in his leg being amputated. 

Michael Roberts, Toledo, 6-foot-4, 261 pounds

- Huge hands, which he uses to catch better than block. He led all FBS tight ends with 16 touchdowns last season. 

Jonnu Smith, Florida International, 6-foot-3, 245 pounds

- College career was ended prematurely when his pregnant girlfriend poured boiling water on him, resulting in severe burns throughout his upper body, including his head. He has good speed, but drops were an issue in college. 

Scott Orndoff, Pittsburgh, 6-foot-5, 256 pounds

- Figures to be a solid blocking tight end, but he also had five receiving touchdowns as a senior. 

Eric Saubert, Drake, 6-foot-5, 251 pounds

- Every draft pick is a gamble, but Saubert might be more so than others. An AFC regional scout says that Saubert is “body beautiful but he can’t catch. I don’t think it’s correctable, either.”

Cethan Carter, Nebraska, 6-foot-4, 240 pounds

- Elbow injuries figure to be a topic at the combine, and he had various injuries throughout his college career. 

Darrell Daniels, Washington, 6-foot-4, 246 pounds

- A scout told NFL.com that Daniels is "going to test through the roof and he's going to get overdrafted on the traits.” The Patriots don’t typically fall into such traps. 

George Kittle, Iowa, 6-foot-4, 250 pounds

- Only had one drop as a senior, but then again being believed to have had no drops in college doesn’t make a guy an NFL stud. 

Hayden Plinke, UTEP, 6-foot-4, 265 pounds

- Transferred twice in his college career, starting at Boise State, then Portland State and finally UTEP. Is considered a good blocker who grabbed eight touchdowns as a senior. 
 

Haggerty's Morning Skate: Two AHL teams recreate Slap Shot on the movie's anniversary

Haggerty's Morning Skate: Two AHL teams recreate Slap Shot on the movie's anniversary

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while so glad to see Dave Strader getting the play-by-play call in this afternoon’s national NBC broadcast of Stars and Bruins from Dallas.
 
-- Jeremy Roenick weighs in with some trade possibilities involving Avalanche and Blues players in what could be a blockbuster at the deadline.
 
-- Antoine Vermette acknowledges his wrongdoing in making a statement about his 10-game suspension for slashing an official, but feels like the punishment was too severe.
 
-- Don Cherry wishes a happy 40th anniversary to Slap Shot while wearing a Charleston Chiefs jersey as he hosts Coaches Corner.
 
-- Speaking of Slap Shot, what an Old Time Hockey fight between the AHL's Iowa Wild and Chicago Wolves. It spilled into the hallway afterward . . . that’s when things get real.

-- I've been asked multiple times about the white Boston hat David Pastrnak is always wearing in the Bruins dressing room, so here it is.

 -- Here’s all the Dallas Stars info you need ahead of this afternoon’s 11:30 a.m. local start in Dallas for the Stars and Bruins.

-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning indicating that the mumps outbreak for his team won’t impact the trade deadline.
 
-- For something completely different: the headline seems a little click baity to me, but I’ll read about anything involving Homer Simpson and the Baseball Hall of Fame.