WILMINGTON, MA The bad news was that seven Bruins players were held out of Tuesdays practice at Ristuccia Arena because of flu-like symptoms.
The good news was that Bruins power forward Milan Lucic was back on the ice at practice after missing Sundays game against the Winnipeg Jets for personal reasons. The left wing flew to Winnipeg with the team and then immediately hopped on a flight headed back to Boston when he was needed at home.
Lucic didnt want to discuss the specifics of the personal matter but assured that everybody is okay and thats what really matters at the end of the day. The Bruins forward and his wife welcomed their first child into the world roughly a month ago, but he gave no indication if the personal issue involved his baby daughter Valentina.
It was for personal reasons. The good thing is that everybody is home and healthy now, said Milan Lucic. Thats basically it. It was a long last couple of days flying to Winnipeg and then flying all the way back once I got there. But everybody is happy and healthy, and thats the main thing.
Lucic was skating at practice on a makeshift white line with normal center David Krejci and Chris Bourque on the right wing, and Rich Peverley was skating in place of Patrice Bergeron in between Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin. Claude Julien said the Bruins coaching staff had to ad lib the forward lines a bit with so many bodies missing from practice due to illness.
The lines were as follows:
BRIGHTON, Mass. – Anton Blidh plans on keeping things pretty straightforward on his first call-up to the NHL.
The former sixth-round pick of the Bruins has earned his stripes at the AHL level with Providence over the last couple of seasons, and comes to Boston as a gritty, energy forward capable of stirring things up in otherwise sleepy games. There’s also a bit of offensive upside for a fourth line-type player with five goals and nine points with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating in 19 games for the P-Bruins this season.
It remains to be seen if the Blidh call-up means that the Bruins intend to scratch a player or that somebody is questionable for Saturday afternoon’s game in Buffalo, but Patrice Bergeron did miss Friday’s practice without any real defined reason for his absence. The 21-year-old Swede said he plans to play to his strengths if he gets into the lineup for the Black and Gold, and that could mean getting under the skin of his Sabres opponents.
“It’s my first time called up, so I’m happy,” said Blidh, who was asked what he'll bring if he gets into the lineup. “I’ll just play simple and play my own game: be hard on the puck and play with some energy. I worked hard [in Providence] and then I got some confidence. I’m not a goal-scorer, but I scored a couple of goals and got some confidence.”
Claude Julien hasn’t been able to catch up Blidh’s work since the season got started, but was pleased by the youngster’s progress in training camp, where he earned notice for his feisty, physical play on a line with Noel Acciari.
“They said he’s playing well, so they brought him up. We’ll get to see him, hopefully tomorrow,” said Julien. “I didn’t hear a ton of fine details aside from him being a guy that was certainly playing with a lot of energy. I didn’t mind him in training camp either. He works really hard and competes hard, and we could use that.”
That would certainly be the case after watching the Bruins go through the motions for long stretches Thursday night against Carolina before essentially stealing a game that they didn’t deserve to win.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while everybody in New England is in mourning over the latest Gronk booboo.
*A pretty neat sharpshooting video with Jonathan Toews and that young whippersnapper Auston Matthews squaring off against each other.
*Craig Custance looks a little deeper into the situation with the Florida Panthers and how things are stabilizing after the rough firing of Gerard Gallant last week.
*Now. let’s get to the real important stuff: the San Jose Sharks website has put together their Movember rankings for the player’s mustaches.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Garrioch says that the plans for an outdoor game in Ottawa are again back on the NHL’s agenda.
*Erik Erlendsson has put together a “Lightning Insider” website where you can find all the latest news about the Tampa Bay franchise. Check it out.
*As guys such as Anton Khudobin prove when they’re thrust into the starting spot, backup goalies matter in today’s NHL.
*For something completely different: a mash-up of Kylo Ren and “Girls” from the mad mind of Adam Driver is exactly just that.