Jim Calhoun undergoes successful surgery

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Jim Calhoun undergoes successful surgery

STORRS, CONN -- UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun has undergone what the school says was successful surgery to address the spinal condition that has forced him to miss the Huskies' past sevengames.

The school says the two-hour surgery was performed Monday morning at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York and involved removing a disc fragment that had been pressing on a spinal nerve. The surgeons then decompressed the area around thenerve.

Calhoun issued a statement thanking his doctors and those who reached out to him to offersupport.

The school says Calhoun's coaching status will be monitored on a day-to-day basis, and there is no timetable set for hisreturn.

UConn, which has gone 3-4 during Calhoun's medical leave for spinal stenosis, plays at Providence onTuesday.

Calhoun told The Associated Press Saturday that he hopes to be back in time to coach the March 3 season finale againstPittsburgh.

Dr. John Knightly, who is the medical director of the Spine Center at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., but is not treating Calhoun, said that is certainly apossibility.

"I have patients driving after a couple of days, and if you can drive, you can coach, assuming he's not having other problems that would require a much more aggressive surgery," he said. "This is so he can walk more independently withoutpain."

Under associate head coach George Blaney, the Huskies lost to Syracuse on Saturday, 71-69.
"I hope more than anything that he takes care of the pain," Blaney said. "The pain has been really, really tough for him - for anybody - but for him because he doesn't acknowledge pain. So, I can imagine what the pain really is for it to keep him out, and I'm hoping the operation or procedure is successful and that he'll be back as soon aspossible."

Calhoun turns 70 in May and is a three-time cancer survivor. There has been talk after the past several seasons of his possible retirement, but center Alex Oriakhi said he doesn't believe this latest health setback will mean the end of the coach'scareer.

"It takes a lot to bring Coach Calhoun down," he said. "I definitely think this is really nothing for him. That's a man who fell off his bike, broke his ribs and kept riding. I definitely think you're going to see him backsoon.

"This is just a little bump in the road, but he'll get throughit."

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.