Sternum KO’s Stuart for 4-6 weeks
WILMINGTON - The Bruins, who have battled injuries all season, got even more bad news Tuesday when they learned defenseman Mark Stuart suffered a broken sternum Monday night against the Flyers. Coach Claude Julien said yesterday Stuart is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
Two other ailing blue liners didn’t participate in yesterday’s workout. Dennis Wideman, whose injury is being kept under wraps, might join the club during the upcoming three-game trip, and Derek Morris had the day off for what Julien termed “maintenance.’’ He is expected to be available tomorrow night against the Blackhawks in Chicago.
To fill out the roster, the Bruins recalled defensemen Adam McQuaid and Andy Wozniewski from Providence on an emergency basis on Tuesday.
For Stuart, it means the end of a long run of good health. He played 214 consecutive games, including playoffs. Tomorrow night will mark his first absence since he became a Boston fixture in 2007-08.
“That’s tough news for him and for us,’’ said Julien. “He got hurt on a hit and actually believe it or not, he finished the game and kept playing. Anybody who knows Stewie knows how tough he is. He was in pretty good pain there afterwards. That’s what they discovered [Tuesday].’’
Julien said one upside to McQuaid, 23, and Wozniewski, 28, is size. McQuaid is 6 feet 4 inches and Wozniewski is 6-5. At practice, Wozniewski was skating with Andrew Ference and McQuaid was paired with Matt Hunwick.
“Andy has some NHL experience, he’s a guy who can move the puck well,’’ said Julien. “He’s a guy who has some offensive skill [23 points in 29 games with Providence] and he’s a good puck mover with good size. McQuaid is a pretty big, pretty tough, solid all-around defenseman, [he’s] physical, he’s very good at taking care of his own end. He keeps the game simple but he brings that element as well and he’s been playing well for them lately [10 points in 29 games]. So we’ve got two pretty good candidates. One that joined our organization this year [Wozniewski, who signed as a free agent Sept. 9] who has done a good job of giving us some depth and the other one [McQuaid, who was dealt to the Bruins from the Blue Jackets in May 2007] who every year has just gotten better and better. We know what kind of defenseman he’s going to be, so it’s nice for him to get his first regular-season call-up here and get an opportunity to maybe play with us.’’
The first line had Marc Savard centering Marco Sturm and Michael Ryder. Center Patrice Bergeron was skating with Daniel Paille and Mark Recchi; David Krejci was centering Blake Wheeler and Byron Bitz; and center Vladimir Sobotka was between Steve Begin and Shawn Thornton.
Julien will be looking for substantial contributions from Savard’s combination in particular.
“Both those guys [Sturm and Ryder] are known for being able to score some goals,’’ he said. “Although they have, they still probably haven’t to the extent that we think they can. That’s probably the bigger issue right now of our hockey club. From that part of it, we have a lot of guys who haven’t scored probably at the rate they should be scoring. We talked about our back end, we had better production from the back end. So it’s really an overall team thing, that everybody has to kind of pick it up a little bit. In [Savard’s] case, he’s got some guys now that hopefully if they can finish around the net, he’s going to find ways to get them the puck and we’ll see if that helps us a little bit. Hopefully the other lines contribute in some way.’’
Julien said he likes what he’s seen from Sobotka’s line.
“If you can get production from those kinds of players and those lines it certainly helps take the pressure off the other guys that right now are probably feeling more pressure than they need to,’’ he said.
“Right now with [Milan Lucic] being out and certain injuries, you’ve kind of got to move guys around. If we could get that comfort zone, where certain guys fit in with certain guys, and stay as healthy as we can, that would help. Right now, we’ve got to find ways to move those guys around and get results.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com.