The six-week period that the Bruins will be without Brett Connolly is step one of an undesirable two-step process through which the team will have to work. After that comes the other hard part.
No injuries are easy to return from, but it can take a long time for a player returning from a finger injury to feel right. The fact that Connolly will go through the re-acclimation process in the postseason is far from optimal.
“It sucks,” Torey Krug said Thursday, and he would know.
Krug suffered a broken left pinky finger suffered on a slash from Zach Parise Oct. 28. Though he returned after four games out of the lineup, his time getting comfortable again far eclipsed the length of period he stayed out of game action. A player who’s bread and butter is his slap shot, Krug was limited to wrist shots and landed three shots on goal in just one of his first 11 games back. He had only one point (a goal) in that span.
“For me, I was always thinking about my finger and wondering how it was going to feel,” Krug said of his return from the injury. “When I had the puck, I was wondering if somebody was going to try and slash my hand again, so it was just a lot of thinking. It took me a while to get to the point where I didn’t have to think about it anymore.”
How long? About two months, by Krug’s estimation. He’s now playing with a new glove he received that has an extra-thick block of padding around the left pinky, which gives Krug peace of mind more than anything.
The slap shot issue won’t be a major problem for Connolly given that he’s a forward and doesn’t need to take many slappers, but Krug feels bad that Connolly’s first games with the Bruins will be spent trying to forget about an injury.
“He’s looking for a fresh start and was very excited about the opportunity that he had here to have that,” Krug said. “We were equally excited to have him. Being a forward in that position, you’re playing with the puck maybe a little bit more and you’re shooting the puck and you’ve got to handle it quicker. I can definitely feel for him, for sure.”
Connolly, who will undergo surgery on his right index finger, becomes just another name on a lengthy list of Bruins who have missed stretches of time due to injury this season. He joins Krug, David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller and Gregory Campbell.
“I know it’s happened a lot this year, but it’s just of how things have gone,” Krug said with a laugh, almost in disbelief. “We were very excited about what he could bring to the team, but now we can’t sit here and dwell on it. We have guys in this room that are capable of stepping up and filling voids, and they’re going to do that.”