Thomas expected to start tonight for Bruins; other notes from the morning skate


Thomas expected to start tonight for Bruins; other notes from the morning skate

By Danny Picard

BOSTON -- Tim Thomas was the first Bruins goaltender off the ice during Monday's morning skate and will probably get the start tonight when the B's host the New Jersey Devils at the TD Garden.

Both David Krejci and Johnny Boychuk skated with the team again, and Marc Savard and Marco Sturm hit the ice prior to the team's skate.

Krejci said he is looking forward to some more testing this afternoon. Coach Claude Julien said after the morning skate that Krejci is "doing much better, quicker" than Patrice Bergeron and Savard in the weeks following their concussions, and that right now he's symptom free.

"As long as we're telling you that we're moving forward with him, it's because those symptoms have slowly gone away, and he's passed the different exertion tests, and so on and so forth," said Julien. "So he's heading in that direction, and I think he mentioned to some of you guys anyways that he'll be seeing a doctor again today, and hopefully taking another step forward."

Boychuk had his hard cast removed from his broken left forearm yesterday, and has replaced it with a stiff removable cast. He still wears it under his glove, while on the ice, and said that it's "the same as having a cast" except it can be removed.

Needless to say, he still needs a few more days of practice until he can return to the lineup.

"I feel good enough, but I still have to practice with the team a couple more times," said Boychuk after Monday's morning skate. "Whenever the doctor lets me play, then I'll get to play."

Boychuck's presence with the team makes for seven defensemen on the ice. Adam McQuaid has filled in since his injury, and with Boychuk returning soon, somebody is going to have to be the healthy scratch.

Julien dropped a slight hint on Monday, not about McQuaid's toughness, but also about him being the only right-handed defenseman on the Bruins, until Boychuk comes back. That could mean someone like Matt Hunwick, who hasn't looked good as of late, could be the temporary odd-man out.

"When we make that decision, we've got to kind of balance everything, and what we need in our lineup," said Julien. "And again, it's not like we've got a ton of right-handed shots, either. That certainly will come into play at some point. We know Seidenberg can play the right side very comfortably, but I think this is where the competition part comes in, and who's playing well, and who should be in and who shouldn't. But those decisions will come when they come."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard

Bruins sign restricted free agent Acciari to two-year deal

Bruins sign restricted free agent Acciari to two-year deal

The Bruins have locked up a potential fourth-line piece for next season at a bargain basement price.

The B's signed Rhode Island native and Providence College alum Noel Acciari, a restricted free agent, to a two-year deal worth $1.45 million, a contract that breaks down to a very affordable $725,000 cap hit for each of the next two seasons. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound bowling ball of a forward finished with two goals and five points in 29 games for the Bruins last season, and has appeared in 48 games at the NHL level over the last two seasons in Boston. It was also encouraging that Acciari seemed to be tapping a bit more into his offense toward the end of the season, and was building some confidence for whatever modest offense he’ll end up bringing to the NHL table once he’s reached his potential ceiling as a player.

Clearly the two-year, one-way deal portends that Acciari, 25, will be counted on as a high energy, hard-hitting fourth-line player who does a good job of aggravating opponents while playing at full tilt. The real question is whether his body can hold up with his maximum effort style of playing, and whether he can avoid serious injuries with some of the car-crash level of violence he puts in his hitting.

Acciari has battled several different injuries over the last couple of seasons, but managed to be healthy enough to log time in the playoffs for both Boston and the P-Bruins.

Either way it’s a low-risk, affordable contract for the Bruins for a young player who, if healthy, will be a large piece on their fourth line as a diligent worker and excellent teammate. So that’s a good proactive signing for Don Sweeney as he continues to work on a more complicated contract for a higher profile player like David Pastrnak.

Morning Skate: Not a dry eye as Canucks draftee gets the call

Morning Skate: Not a dry eye as Canucks draftee gets the call

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while getting ready to check out GLOW on Netflix.

*This video of a Vancouver Canucks draft pick tearing up while watching the video of his brother celebrating him getting picked is all that is right with the NHL Draft.  

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Adrian Dater has Avs first-round pick Cale Makar talking about his hockey background, and why it doesn’t matter.

*The Calgary Flames are excited about their prospects and the pieces they were able to acquire last weekend.

*The Washington Capitals have re-signed Brett Connolly for a couple of years at short money and he appears to have found a home in DC.

*The Chicago Blackhawks are still in talks with Marian Hossa about how to resolve his contract and the allergic skin condition that might have prematurely ended his hockey career.

*Will the Tampa Bay sports go through a dry spell when it comes to Hall of Fame athletes now that former Lighting forward Dave Andreychuk has been called to the Hockey Hall?

*It looks like young Pierre Luc Dubois will be put in a position to contribute with the Columbus Blue Jackets this season.

*Alex Prewitt has a preview of the NHL free agency period and the stress levels that many players go through in it.

*For something completely different: This video of Drake and Will Ferrell hoop handshakes was pretty solid, and funny.