PITTSBURGH The skeleton crew left on the Bruins bench and the astronomically high ice time totals for Bostons top forwards told the tale of an undermanned, injury-ravaged hockey club.
The Bruins lost three more players and nearly a fourth to injuries in a physically punishing 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center on Sunday afternoon.
Adam McQuaid went down with an upper body injury after a collision with Pittsburgh power forward James Neal in the first period, and never returned after four shifts and 1:59 of ice time.
Patrice Bergeron appeared to get hit in the lower left leg with a Matti Niskanen shot and twice attempted to return to the game before finally heading back to the Bs dressing room following one quick shift in the third period.
Max Sauve suffered a lower body injury in the second period and managed only seven shifts and 3:43 of ice time in his NHL debut playing in place of the injured Benoit Pouliot.
Claude Julien said there werent any plans to send any of the three injured players back to Boston, and thats a good sign. But the injuries to both McQuaid and Bergeron looked like they might lead to short term absences for each. Any absence for No. 37 is something that an undermanned Bruins unit cant afford.
Sauve is lower body. McQuaid as you saw from the Neal hit is upper body. Bergeron blocked a shot, said Julien. Theres nothing more than that right now. I havent been told that anybody is out for a long period of time and thats what basically we have to go on right now.
The next day is when well have a better idea on those bumps and bruises, so well have a better idea tomorrow.
With the Bruins already down four players because of injury, the hope has to be that at least a couple of the Sunday injuries turn out to be relatively minor ones. But theres a lot of hope and a pile of ice bags surrounding a black-and-blue Bs franchise right now, and thats not necessarily a good combination.
Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while suffering from the same “general soreness” as Tuukka Rask.
*The Arizona Coyotes are suffering from growing pains that were extremely evident during a winless road trip.
*Steve Dangle is obviously jacked and pumped about his Maple Leafs, but wondering about the future of Roman Polak. But aren’t we all at this point?
*Old friends Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg both scored the victorious Islanders in a Friday night win.
*Clarke MacArthur isn’t ready to retire even as concussion issues are really starting to impact his ability to stay on the ice.
*Teemu Selanne gives fellow Finn Patrick Laine a thumbs up as he was in town for events with his former Winnipeg Jets.
*Pro Hockey Talk has the details on noted Bruins killer Dale Weise getting suspended for three games after some dirty activity with the Philadelphia Flyers.
*For something completely different: Geoff Edgers has been trying to reach Bill Murray for weeks, and here’s what happened when he finally called back.
WALTHAM, Mass. – For most of training camp, R.J. Hunter and James Young have played it cool when asked about their shaky status with the Celtics heading into this season.
Both have talked about not letting it affect their friendship, which according to multiple team sources, is true.
But when it comes to the pressure of having your basketball future thrown into total chaos within the next 48-72 hours, that’s a different story.
Prior to practice Friday, Danny Ainge – the man who will decide their basketball fate – spent time talking with each of them on the sidelines, doing his best to keep their spirits up at a time of uncertainty.
The Celtics have a number of players whose basketball futures were in a similar state of limbo.
Amir Johnson was taken in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons with the 56th overall pick.
It was a veteran team that afforded Johnson few opportunities to prove his worth.
“All I tried to do was learn as much as I could in training camp, and pick up things as quickly as possible,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “When you’re a second round pick or undrafted, you have to do all you can to make a good impression.”
Isaiah Thomas echoed similar sentiments.
Thomas was the 60th pick – the last player selected – in the 2011 NBA draft, putting the odds of him just making an NBA roster slim to none.
Since then, he has become an All-Star who is easily the best player ever selected at that point in an NBA draft.
But like Hunter and Young, the pressure of not necessarily knowing your basketball fate can be worrisome.
“It’s tough not knowing, but at the end of the day all you can do is be the best at whatever they ask of you,” Thomas told CSNNE.com. “If it’s running a play, run that play the best way you know how. If it’s going to get a cup of water, be the best at getting that cup a water. It’s all about leaving your all out there. If you do that, you can live with the results because at that point, you did all you can do.”
Outwardly, both Hunter and Young have adopted that approach to the training camp which they knew going in would likely end with one of them being waived or traded.
And while each has shown noticeable growth through training camp, neither has done enough to separate themselves good or bad.
Most of Hunter’s bright moments have been balanced with struggles or inconsistencies.
Ditto for Young, who is headed into his third NBA season, while this will be Hunter’s second.
Ainge, the C's president of basketball operations, does not take the decision he and his front office has to make lightly. He is more than aware that the player he waives could potentially turn out to be a better pro than the one he keeps.
And this decision could potentially come back and haunt the Celtics if he doesn’t get it right.
As much as we talk about the players feeling pressure, Ainge and his staff are under a bit of pressure too when you consider both Hunter and Young were players he picked in the first round of their drafts.
And both players at the time were considered draft-night steals because each had been projected to go higher than where the Celtics picked them.
But at this point, neither has made a significant impact in the NBA, which is why both are on the cusp of being waived.
That said, they have done enough to where those flashes of strong play have given Ainge and his staff reason to pause and with that, make what all agree will be a well thought-out, difficult decision.
“Sometimes guys just cut themselves. Sometimes guys just win jobs, overwhelmingly win it,” Ainge said. “The guys that are in question have all played really well. I guess that’s refreshing. I’m happy for them that they are all playing well under the stress and pressure of trying to make a team and make a roster. I’m proud of all of them.
And when asked about having to cut a former first-round pick, Ainge responded, “there’s a lot of first-round picks that don’t make it in the NBA. So I feel confident, pretty comfortable that all of our guys are still going to be playing in the NBA.”