Marchand, Bruins not surprised by suspension

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Marchand, Bruins not surprised by suspension

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

NASHVILLE Brad Marchand didnt think much of the hit on Columbus forward R.J. Umberger right after it happened, or in the moments after the game was over.But the pesky Bs agitator couldnt really dispute the video or the NHLs decision on Thursday morning to suspend hom for two games after clocking Umberger in the back of the head with a raised elbow.When I saw the DanyHeatley decision yesterday, I kind of expected the Marchand decision to be in the same vicinity, said Claude Julien of the NHL's decision to suspend the San Jose Sharks sniper after he delivered a blow to the head. You cant be hypocritical. If the whole league is saying they want to clean it up, then you cant whine and complain every time they make a decision thatcomes in against you.We have to live with it and Marchand has to learn from it. If he learns from it, then hopefully it wont happen again.Marchand continued to maintain he was attempting to play the puck and make contact withUmberger in the shoulder, but he knew there wasnt much recourse given thatthe contact arrived at Umberger from the blind side. That Marchand's hit came duringthe very week the NHL general managers are meeting to discuss concussion reduction within the league made it a fait accompli that the league would make an example out of him.I understand where the league is coming from, said Marchand. Theyre obviously cracking down on head hits right now. Im disappointed to miss a couple of games and its always frustrating to have to watch your team play.But I understand why it happened. The biggest thing is to regroup now and get ready to play when Im called back to action.Marchand will miss tonights game against the Nashville Predators and Saturday nights game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre, and then should be cleared for a return to the lineup. Hell be more than 6,000 lighter in the wallet after missing out on the two game checks, but dont expect Marchand to turn into a hockey choir boy when he returns.Marchand knows theres no place in the game for vicious, dirty head shots, but he left no doubt hell continue to play on the edge when asked if a two-game slap from the NHL would steal any bite out of his gritty, grating style of play. No. Not at all. You go out there and you cant really change your game, said Marchand. Thats how I had to play to get here, and thats how Ill have to play to stay here. If I start to change my game then maybe I wont be as effective.It happens. Its hockey. Its part of the sports. There will always be hits to the head because of how fast guys are and how big, strong and physical guys are. The biggest thing is that you cant be taking cheap shots. Thats where you have to draw the line.With Marchand out of the lineup that obviously means that both Daniel Paille and Tyler Seguin will play against the Predators Thursday night at the Bridgestone Arena smack in the middle of Music City.Umberger went down in the second period when he caught an elbow from Marchand at center ice. No penalty was called, but supplemental discipline may be come down under Rule 48.1, which outlines an illegal check to the head as "A lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted andor the principal point of contact."Claude Julien said it would be a game-time decision with their defensemen given Andrew Ferences improving health, but Ference was on the ice much longer than the rest of his fellow blueliners. It might behoove Julien and the Bs coaching staff to go with a 100 percent healthy Steve Kampfer as Ference continues to heal his lower body. Adam McQuaid said that his left foot was okay and that hed be ready to go against the Predators.Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice, but it was an optional skate for the Bruins Thursday morning at Bridgestone Arena. Rask is coming off a solid win against the Columbus Blue Jackets that should be considered a stolen win, and Thomas now hasnt played since dropping a game to the New York Islanders six days ago on Long Island.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

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Sweeney: 'Helpless feeling' hoping World Cup players return healthy

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It’s a bit of a helpless feeling for an NHL general manager watching their star players participate in an intense hockey tournament like the World Cup of Hockey that doesn’t directly benefit their respective teams.

Not helpless because of the tournament’s outcome, obviously, but helpless because players could return from Toronto dinged up, or even worse significantly injured.

Aaron Ekblad had to shut it down for Team North American with what many speculated was a concussion, and Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray is out a month, or more, with a broken hand sustained playing for the same young guns team.

So, it certainly must have been an uneasy few moments for Don Sweeney when Brad Marchand was pulled from Team Canada’s last game for the concussion protocol after a nasty-looking collision with Team Europe forward Marian Hossa.

Marchand went through the testing, and ended up returning to the game no worse for the wear. But it could have been a lot worse for a Bruins team that can’t afford to be missing Marchand, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara, who are still playing for teams alive in the semifinal round of the tourney.

“I would expect all of us to have been in a similar situation. For everybody - any general manager, coaches, staff, you're concerned about [injuries],” said Sweeney, talking about the World Cup and Marchand’s close call. “I mean, especially when you realize the stakes are going to go up as the tournament goes along. The pride involved - it's a risk. There's no question, it's a risk.

“But you also want to see them play their best hockey and they're not going to hold back. Yeah, it's a definite concern. You've got your fingers and toes crossed.”

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask have already returned to Boston fully healthy. David Backes should be joining the team anytime now after Team USA’s rude dismissal from the tournament. But Sweeney and the Bruins still have their sensors out for the three B’s players taking part that aren’t quite out of the woods yet before returning to B’s camp in one piece. 

 

Bruins lose Vatrano for three months after foot surgery

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Bruins lose Vatrano for three months after foot surgery

BRIGHTON, Mass. – The first bad break of Bruins camp arrived on Saturday with the news that scoring winger Frank Vatrano will be out three months after tearing a couple of ligaments in his left foot.

The 21-year-old winger from UMass and East Longmeadow, Mass., sustained the injury training just prior to the B’s fitness testing for camp and will have surgery on Monday at Mass General Hospital with Dr. George Theodore.

Vatrano had missed the first two days of camp after participating in captain’s practice just about right until the start of main training camp, so the injury must have happened just prior to Thursday’s off-ice testing.

“He had an injury just prior to testing, and it took a couple of days to make sure he had the proper evaluation. He saw a specialist yesterday and he’s scheduled for surgery on Monday,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney. “One or two of the ligaments were torn when he was doing some running, so he’s out.”

The injury is a big blow for a Bruins team that clearly had plans on Vatrano filling out a top-six role and leaves the door wide open for a young players Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk, Zach Senyshyn or Peter Cehlarik to win an NHL job out of camp. Perhaps a veteran such as camp invite Peter Mueller could secure a job when it didn’t appear to be any room on the NHL roster just a few days ago.

Either way it’s damaging to a Bruins team that was relying on goal-scoring and explosive forward play from a guy who topped 40 goals combined in the NHL and AHL last season.

“Obviously it’s a blow. Frankie looked at as an opportunity to [win a top-6 spot]. We all did. How that was going to play out remained to be seen, but he was going to be afforded a position to see if he could grab hold of it,” said Sweeney. “So obviously, he’s disappointed, and we are as well. You look at as with all injuries…it’s a setback. But the doctors feel very good that three months from now he’ll be able to play and move forward.”

It’s not officially NHL training camp until a major injury strikes, so now the Bruins are in the middle of it after learning they’ll lose Vatrano until Christmastime. 

Here's Vatrano's "Countdown to camp" profile