Regrouping after Savard
Krejci might get chance to be center of attention
WILMINGTON — Yesterday the Bruins went about their business with a morning practice at Ristuccia Arena in preparation for tonight’s home game against the Canadiens.
But it was far from business as usual as the Bruins must find a replacement for center Marc Savard, who has been shut down for the season because of his concussions.
“Obviously everyone feels bad for Savvy,’’ said Milan Lucic. “How could you not feel bad? For myself, being a good friend of his and knowing how much he loves the game and lives the game and lives and breathes hockey, to see him go down like this twice, it was definitely tough to watch from my end and I know how tough it is for him, too.’’
Savard suffered his second concussion in 10 months on a hard (but clean) hit from former Bruin Matt Hunwick Jan. 22 at Colorado. It followed a head injury Savard suffered March 7, 2010, when he was waylaid by Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke.
“Obviously, it’s upsetting to hear, for his sake, after having to go through what we went through again,’’ Lucic said. “We know we have a job to do with or without him. It’s an opportunity for guys to step up and raise their game, and we’re going to need that.
“I don’t know of any team that’s won because of one guy, two guys, or one line. It’s going to take all 20 guys, no matter who’s in the lineup.’’
Coach Claude Julien agreed that replacing Savard would be a team effort.
“You don’t go out and replace a guy who’s normally a point-a-game player for you — and sometimes even more — just like that,’’ said Julien. “I think it’s going to take the whole team to really pick up our game and make sure we play well and maybe down the road we can get some help from the outside, whether it’s from the minors or through a trade.’’
David Krejci expressed a desire to help fill the void at center, as he did when Patrice Bergeron went down with a concussion in the 2007-08 season and when Savard went down last season.
“I think he thrives on being relied upon and he likes those kinds of challenges,’’ said Julien, “so I would like to think that it’s going to happen again.’’
Bergeron nicked With one center on the shelf, the Bruins appeared to take another hit at the position when Bergeron skated off the ice after a puck off Johnny Boychuk’s stick ricocheted off the partition in the glass and hit Bergeron in the chin.
Bergeron dropped his left glove, cupped his chin, and hunched over in pain. He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for stitches and X-rays as a precaution. The X-rays were negative, according to Bruins spokesman Matt Chmura.
“You never like to see those kinds of things,’’ said Julien, who expects Bergeron to be available tonight. “Those partitions in the glass are dangerous things. From what I hear right now, it’s just stitches.’’
Caron is up for it Brad Marchand was one of the first players to greet Jordan Caron after the 6-foot-3-inch, 205-pound forward arrived at Ristuccia after being called up Monday from Providence. Caron, last seen around these parts Dec. 6, was pleased to be greeted by another familiar face: Zach Hamill, who was called up last Thursday.
“It was fun to see Ham this morning,’’ said Caron, who was the Bruins’ first-round pick in 2009. “It was a long time no see. He had left a couple of days ago and now we’re back up here together, so it’s fun to see him.’’
Caron, who played in 20 games for the big club and scored three goals before getting reassigned, said his confidence level was much improved since his previous stint in Boston.
“It’s much higher,’’ said Caron, who skated with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton on the fourth line, splitting shifts at left wing with the suspended Daniel Paille. “I mean, I was pretty confident when I was playing here, but it was just the fact they sent me down that made me start thinking a little bit.
“I had a few games where I wasn’t playing like I wanted to, but after Christmas I started over and was playing much better and I feel like my confidence is very high.’’
No issue for Ference Andrew Ference, who was called out by former Bruin coaches Don Cherry and Mike Milbury for characterizing Paille’s hit on Dallas’s Raymond Sawada as “a bad hit,’’ said he was not compelled to clear the air with his teammate because it was a non-issue as far as he was concerned.
“You don’t have to resolve an issue that never existed,’’ said Ference, who added that he talks with Paille every day. “Really, the issue was with Don Cherry and Mike Milbury and making it into something that never was.
“I think it’s the way of the world. You have people who scream really loud about things and make an issue of it when they really don’t have any idea. I don’t know if it’s unique to our team, but we have a really open room and a strong room and that’s great.
“The concussion issue, we’ve dealt with it on a receiving end that we have a better understanding of the seriousness of it. I think there’s a lot of guys on the team who if it was their turn to talk to the media probably would’ve said the same thing.
“Even Bergy told me afterward that he had said the same thing after the game. He said, ‘So what’s the big deal?’ ’’
Power switch The Bruins spent the first 20 minutes of practice working on their power play, which is tied with Ottawa for 20th at a 16.8 percent success rate. Mark Recchi moved to the point of the top unit with Zdeno Chara patrolling the other side, while Bergeron and Lucic worked down low and Krejci took Savard’s spot on the half-wall. The second unit had defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Steven Kampfer working the points with Marchand and Campbell down low and Michael Ryder off the half-wall. The Bruins were 0 for 4 on the power play in a 2-0 loss last Saturday to the Sharks. “We’ve kind of tweaked our personnel around and hope that we get better in that regard,’’ said Julien. “That’s something that since the beginning of the year we’ve really been working hard to turn around to make it better.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.