McQuaid a game-time decision for Bruins

570978.jpg

McQuaid a game-time decision for Bruins

TAMPA Adam McQuaid thought things were pretty bad as he left CONSOL Energy Center on Sunday afternoon. He was headed for the hospital while his team was still playing on the ice.

The towering defenseman was on the receiving end of a shoulder-to-shoulder hit with Pittsburgh Penguins power forward James Neal, and McQuaid immediately crumpled up and skated off the ice in severe pain while play continued.

The Bs defensemen couldnt make it back to the Bruins bench on his own, and the team was obviously thinking worst-case scenario after watching the wince-worthy sequence of events.

But McQuaid checked out okay at the Pittsburgh hospital and was back out on the ice Tuesday morning for a pregame skate at the Tampa Times Forum. He was preparing to play, and Julien indicated following the skate that Mike Mottau will be a healthy scratch.

Its going to come down to a choice between Greg Zanon and McQuaid for the final defensemen spot against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Julien might just err on the side of caution.

I know McQuaid and Patrice Bergeron are possibilities, but not certainties," Julien said. "Well dress 13 forwards and seven defensemen for the pregame warm-ups tonight. Well know more later, and well know even more after warm-ups. We had no idea how bad things were with the injuries on Sunday. Bergeron and McQuaid were in bad shape. They couldnt even finish up the game.

It was a hit that really hurt McQuaid to the point where he had to go to the hospital to get checked out. But it looks like a little bit of a break on our end that they were able to skate with us so quickly. We want to play with players that are as healthy as they can be. One thing you dont want is to put them in at 70 percent and then you lose them for another week or two. So you want to make sure the decision is the right one with all of these guys.

McQuaid doesnt appear to be quite 100 percent and may end up a healthy scratch given Bostons depth along the blue line. But McQuaids presence at the skate was a testament to his toughness and willingness to play through pain.

Im feeling better with each day and making steady progress. Ill come to the rink prepared to play, but weve got a lot of healthy D right now. So well see what happens, said McQuaid. It was something I hadnt experienced before, so I wasnt sure how bad it was. To be where I am today from Sunday means Im making pretty good progress.

Depth is never a negative thing. In a situation of injuries or when everybody is healthy it keeps a good competition for people to want to stay in the lineup.

The gritty defensemen admitted he was pretty concerned right after the car-crash collision that his injury was something serious.

There is always a little bit of concern right away. But I got all checked out and everything worked out. It put my mind at ease a little bit and you just worry about getting better, said McQuaid.

Consider McQuaid one of the walking wounded ready to suit up for the Bruins as the team has a considerable number of players in the Black and Gold infirmary.

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

BRIGHTON, Mass – While both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller were missing from Bruins practice on Saturday morning, both injured Bruins defensemen could be rejoining the team soon.

Colin Miller skated on his own prior to Saturday’s team practice at Warrior Ice Arena for the second or third time since suffering a lower body injury in the win over the St. Louis Blues. Claude Julien said his presence on the ice was proof that the puck-moving defenseman is “definitely on the mend”, and could be nearing a return to practice soon with Sunday marking the sixth straight game that he’ll have missed.

Kevan Miller is out with a concussion suffered last weekend in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and the B’s current three-game losing streak has coincided with his absence from the lineup.

Julien said Miller has actually been away from the team for the last couple of days while dealing with a virus, and that his recovery from the concussion symptoms was good prior to being knocked down by the illness.

“Kevan was actually feeling really well and then he got hit by a virus that’s kept him in bed for the last two days,” said Julien. “It’s nothing to do with his original injury. There was a possibility he could have been ready very soon, but that’s set him back a bit.”

Both are obviously out for Sunday’s matinee against the Penguins, but a return to practice at some point next week seems like a good bet for both players. Here are the line combos and defense pairings from Saturday’s practice with the Bruins focusing on getting a good result in Pittsburgh with the hockey club on a “mom’s trip” with 22 of the players’ mothers traveling with the team to and from the game:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Blidh/Beleskey-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

Rask

McIntyre

Fast-break points aren't necessarily a good thing for Celtics

Fast-break points aren't necessarily a good thing for Celtics

BOSTON – Conventional NBA wisdom tells you that getting out to score in transition is a good thing, usually serving as easy points scored, which is what every team wants, right?
 
But bundles of transition points have been nothing but trouble for the Celtics this season.
 
They are coming off a game against the New York Knicks in which they scored 22 fast-break points, which was their second-best showing this season. But the final score, a 117-106 loss, wasn’t all that unusual from what has happened this season when their transition game has generated a decent amount of scoring.
 
Boston has a 2-6 record this season when they score 16 or more fast-break points. On the nights when Boston’s fast-break offense generates 10 or fewer points?
 
They’re 11-5.
 
While there are several possible reasons why this is, here’s what you have to remember.
 
The Celtics are a ball-movement, 3-point shooting team.
 
Often that means they’ll pass up potential shots in transition, to instead work the ball around from one side of the floor to the other, until they get what they deem is the best shot to take (usually it’s a lightly contested to wide open 3-pointer).
 
The Celtics average 329.6 passes per game, which ranks second in the NBA (Philadelphia, 354.8). Not surprisingly, that has led to them ranking among the league’s leaders in assists (24.9, third in the NBA).
 
And that has led to Boston being ranked among the top-3 in several other key passing statistics, such as secondary assists (7.1, 2nd in the NBA); potential assists (49.5, 2nd); and assists points created (60.8, 3rd);
 
Here are a few more stats to crunch on, courtesy of CSN Associate Producer Andy Levine.
 
PAINT BY NUMBERS: When the Celtics score 40 percent or less of their points in the paint, they are 19-5 this season. When Boston gets 40 percent or more of its points in the paint, they are just 7-11.
 
BROWN IN THE FOURTH: Jaylen Brown has been among the better rookies this season, especially in the fourth quarter. Among rookies who played in at least 20 games in the fourth quarter, Brown is second in fourth quarter shooting at 54.9 percent. With those same standards, he’s sixth in shooting 3’s in the fourth at 38.5 percent.
 
CROWDER BOUNCES BACK: The past four games has seemingly brought out the best in Crowder. In that span, he has averaged 18.5 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 57 percent from the field and 48 percent from 3-point range. Crowder’s 3-point shooting of late has elevated him to seventh in the league while connecting on 42.5 percent of his 3-point attempts (minimum 150 attempts).

OUCH! It has not been a smooth start for Evan Turner with his new team, the Portland Trail Blazers. This season, Turner’s plus/minus is -234, which is the fourth-worst plus/minus in the NBA.