Brad Marchand will not travel with the Bruins to Columbus, coach Claude Julien said after Thursday’€™s practice.

It’€™s been four weeks to the day since Zdeno Chara suffered a torn PCL on Oct. 23 against the Islanders. His anticipated recovery time was 4-6 weeks.

Chara has been seen around the team at various points, his limp subsiding in the weeks following his injury as he’€™s walked through the press box at games and –€” if you can believe it — even eaten from the dessert tray on the ninth floor of TD Garden. He could be seen doing agility drills in the hallway Tuesday morning, but he has yet to be spotted on the ice.

“He’€™s getting closer,”€ Cam Neely said Thursday. “€œI mean, you put that time between when he got hurt and now, there’€™s been a lot of forward progress for him.”

Neely said that Chara has handled being out of the lineup well. Given his competitive nature and the fact that he hasn’€™t missed more than five games in any of his previous eight seasons, this might not be the easiest time for the Bruins’€™ captain.

“€œIt’€™s frustrating for anybody that’€™s been out of the lineup for any length of time,”€ Neely said. “€œRegardless of if you’€™ve been relatively healthy your whole career, no one likes watching.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Joseph Morrow

Joe Morrow

Peter Chiarelli will probably never say how many NHL defensemen he thinks he has again.

Since saying that he felt he had nine this offseason, the number has been tested significantly. After trading one of them in Johnny Boychuk, Chiarelli has seen five of his defensemen get hurt in the first 20 games of the season. Of the nine NHL-caliber defensemen Chiarelli said he felt the Bruins possessed, the only three who haven’€™t suffered an injury this season have been Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski.

That is rough, rough stuff for the Bruins, but it does allow that list of NHL defensemen to get longer. Games played as injury replacements have been the avenue to the NHL for many of Boston’€™s young defensemen, with Hamilton really the only one who was actually given a job to begin his NHL career.

Adam McQuaid filled in for an injured Mark Stuart and took his job in 2011. Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski earned their sweaters in the 2013 postseason. Kevan Miller and Zach Trotman got their feet wet a season ago with injuries to various blueliners, while Joe Morrow initially came up to replace the struggling Bartkowski this season but will remain in the lineup in part because of Boston’€™s ailing back end.

Krug thinks that’€™s a respectable way to become an NHL player. He feels jumping in to replace a hurt player leaves less room for thinking, which is a good way to avoid mistakes for a young player.

“It doesn’€™t leave you time to think about what could happen or what could go wrong, because you’€™re the only option,”€ he said. “€œThey’€™re putting you in the game and you’€™ve just got to go out and do your thing. All the guys that have gone out and done so so far have taken the right mindset.

“€œThat’€™s the only reason I’€™m here right now, is because there was an opportunity with a couple guys hurt in the playoffs, and I [made] the best of it. I think these guys are doing a good job of taking these opportunities and running with it. It’€™s fun when you earn things like that.”

McQuaid had gotten off to a very encouraging start to this season coming off an injury-plagued 2013-14 campaign that saw him dress in only 30 games. With a broken thumb putting his season on hold for 6-8 weeks, the Bruins have to go back to their group of young defensemen for bigger and tougher minutes.

That won’€™t be easy, but given the job that Miller did replacing him last season and the play they’€™ve gotten from other young blueliners, the Bruins are confident they can handle the loss.

“€œIs it a silver lining? It is in a way because we really felt we had some good depth on the back end,”€ Claude Julien said. “I think it’€™s showing now. Whoever we bring up seems to be doing a decent job. A lot of guys that are here now are going to make it difficult for us when it’€™s all said and done. There’€™s a pretty good competition going again on our back end.”

Morrow, a 2011 first-round pick, has proven to be a better NHL player than he was an AHL player. Trotman, meanwhile, was replaced by Bartkowski on Saturday and eventually sent to Providence, but now he’€™s back with the NHL club. Neither player was on Chiarelli’€™s unofficial list of nine this summer, but they can add their names to it with strong performances.

Given their injuries, the Bruins’€™ list of NHL-caliber defensemen isn’€™t anything like what it was in the offseason, but as players return to the lineup, the B’€™s could eventually find themselves at a point where they have more guys capable of handling NHL minutes than they did immediately after trading Boychuk.

“I think that number’€™s grown,”€ Krug said. “€œYou’€™re witnessing Joe come in and do a great job, and Trots is getting the experience and he’€™s doing well. I think that number’€™s getting higher and higher. Hopefully at some point, we have that many guys that the coaching staff has to make a decision who to play.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Brad Marchand will not travel with the Bruins to Columbus, coach Claude Julien said after Thursday’€™s practice. Marchand participated in the practice, but shared left wing duties on his line with Matt Fraser.

Friday’€™s game against the Blue Jackets will be the second consecutive contest Marchand has missed due to an undisclosed injury that was suffered in Saturday’€™s win over the Hurricanes. Julien said that Marchand is “doing better,” but that he remains day-to-day and the team wants to give him more time to recover.

Dougie Hamilton practiced Thursday after missing Wednesday’€™s practice with the flu.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Dale and Michael get Jack Edwards' 'state of the B' report and talk about the win over the Blues at the Garden on Tuesday.

Adam McQuaid is out 6-8 weeks with a broken thumb, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced Wednesday.

Adam McQuaid

Adam McQuaid

Adam McQuaid is out 6-8 weeks with a broken thumb, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced Wednesday. McQuaid suffered the injury in the second period of Tuesday’€™s win over the Blues when he was hit by a Kevin Shattenkirk shot that went off Chris Kelly.

McQuaid joins Zdeno Chara and David Warsofsky as Bruins defensemen who are currently out with injuries. Kevan Miller and Torey Krug also missed time earlier in the season.

Until suffering the injury, McQuaid had played in 20 straight games, the longest stretch of consecutive play he’€™d had the last two seasons. He was limited to two 15-game stretches in a 2013-14 season that was plagued by lower-body injuries.

Prior to Tuesday’s game, McQuaid had averaged 19:55 per night — the highest of his career by nearly four minutes — for the Bruins, often serving as a top-four defenseman who played against the opposition’s better forwards. He had proven himself to be a key piece of a Boston defense that had multiple players go in and out with injuries.

“It’€™€™s great to be back and a part of things here and being with the guys on a daily basis and being in the same routine,” McQuaid told WEEI.com hours before Tuesday’€™s game. “When you’€™€™re not practicing and playing and traveling, you’€™€™re still at the rink and you still see the guys and stuff, but it’€™€™s not quite the same. I’€™€™m really enjoying that part, being back in and being on the ice. Feeling like you’€™€™re a part of wins is nicer than anything.”

This is the last season of McQuaid’s current contract, which has carried a $1.56 million cap hit for each of the last three seasons. He will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

Both Dougie Hamilton and Brad Marchand missed Wednesday’€™s practice as well. Marchand is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, while Claude Julien told reporters Hamilton is battling the flu.

Hamilton and Dennis Seidenberg are the only members of Boston’s opening night defensemen that have played in every game this season. Both players missed significant time last season — Hamilton missed 18 games between multiple injuries, while Seidenberg missed 48 regular-season games and all of the postseason due to a knee injury.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Andy Brickley joined the show and touched on last night's convincing win over a good team, Matt Bartkowski needing a wake up call, and the NHL review process.

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For one of the few times this season, Tuukka Rask felt like the Bruins showed their true potential.

Maybe it was his 33 saves in a 2-0 shutout over the Blues. Maybe it was the better play he saw in front of him in the defensive zone. Or maybe it was just beating a team that could wind up in the Stanley Cup finals. Whatever it was, Rask had a lot to like about the way he and his teammates played Tuesday night at TD Garden.

“Well, it’€™s always a good team we beat, but then again we know when we play the Bruins hockey, we can beat anybody and we’€™re a tough team to beat ourselves,” Rask said. “It just goes to show again, when we play that style of hockey it works. Hopefully we realize it one of these days and keep it consistent too.”

The Bruins were consistent for 60 minutes Tuesday in an effort that handed the Blues just their second loss in 12 games. Rask was asked if it were the best 60-minute effort of the year.

“It was, yeah absolutely,” Rask said. “We started off really hard. Right off the bat we took the puck in their end and played there. The first period was probably the best one, you know, twenty minutes’€”you’€™re always going to get a little ups and downs through the games but for the most part we kept things tight and played a good game.

“I think pretty much everybody was going today, you know, full 60. We’€™re a good team when we have everybody going. As far as the team effort goes, in a 60 minute effort, that was our best game I think.”

Rask could see his forwards joining his defensemen in keeping the puck to the perimeter all night, not letting the Blues get the puck to danger areas.

“It’€™s the same as every game. I just try to give us a chance to win,” Rask said. “As far as the team goes, whenever we play a defense like that and keep them on the outside, for the most part, it makes my job easier and I expect to make those saves. Today that was the case for the most part and helps my job, as I said. It doesn’€™t matter if you play against the best team in the league or the worst team in the league, if you give them chances in the slot, chances are they’€™re gonna score, so today we pretty well eliminated that.

Whenever we didn’€™t turn the puck over in the neutral zone we didn’€™t really give them anything. I think in the third period we kind of got away from our forecheck a little bit and gave them some space there to come up in the rush and stuff and find that late guy, but as far as the net front goes we were really good.”

The judge of a truly great goalie is stopping shots when the pressure is dialed up, as it was in the third period when the Blues outshot the Bruins 15-3. But Rask was more than up to the challenge.

“Third period probably wasn’€™t our best period today,” Rask said. “We started off good but then obviously their D’€™s are gonna join the rush and they’€™re gonna have four or five guys jumping. We gave them too much room in the middle of the ice to make those cross-ice passes and they came in and found the late guy too many times. Something we have to fix I think, but two goal games, or two goal leads are the worst ones in hockey and I feel like I have to stand up and today. Myself and the defense did a good job in front of the net.”

Added Claude Julien, “I think he deserves a lot of credit because he was outstanding for us tonight. But I certainly don’€™t want to diminish the fact that I thought our guys played well tonight against a team that’€™s been extremely hot, extremely good as you can see. No matter how well you play defensively they’€™re still going to get their chances and when they did, Tuukka [Rask] made the big saves. But I liked their effort overall tonight.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Ever since scoring the overtime goal against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of the second round last spring, every Bruins fan knew the kid could score.

But on Tuesday night, they saw a different side of Fraser, the tough, gritty side, giving the Bruins exactly what they needed with Brad Marchand out with an unspecified injury.

Fraser played all 20 shifts with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith as the Bruins beat the Blues, 2-0, at TD Garden.

“Obviously, I like scoring goals,” Fraser said. “I like to be an offensive threat. But you’€™re not going to be that kind of guy every night. There’€™s going to be times when you have to be relied upon to be a defensive, sound player. I think on this team, that’€™s more my ‘€“ it’€™s not my job, but I have to broaden my game a little bit because every guy in this room is good defensively. That’€™s how this franchise has built their system: you got to be good defensively. You got to make sure you’€™re good in all three zones.”

The irony is that Fraser did score a goal – with nine seconds left in the second period – but it was disallowed when referee Chris Lee ruled Fraser slammed into Blues goalie Brian Elliot before Elliot could play the puck.

“To me it should have been a goal,” coach Claude Julien said. “In my mind the puck’€™s in, it hits him, and it goes in before he even touches the goaltender. But those are unfortunately not reviewable, so he gets deprived from a goal. But the other part ‘€“ he deserves a lot of credit for his, he was on the line that played against their top-scoring line and defensively I thought he was very reliable. He played big, he played strong with Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] and [Reilly] Smith. I think that line did a great job against the [Vladimir] Tarasenko line.”

What did Lee tell Julien about Fraser’s non-goal?

“Goalie interference, I guess,” Julien said. “That’€™s what the call was for ‘€“ the goaltender didn’€™t get a chance to stop the puck. I mean this is, you know, I go in my office and I look at two or three times in slow motion and say no, I don’€™t agree with that. But he’€™s got to make that call on the ice and then he doesn’€™t get a chance to review it and it’€™s not reviewable. It’€™s tough; it’€™s tough to take. I think again, we’€™ve been on the wrong side of two goals, I think in the last two games. We’€™ve got to suck it up and keep playing here and that’€™s what we’€™re trying to do.”

Without scoring, it was the little things Fraser did that did count. A forecheck of Blues defenseman Ian Cole in the first period forced a turnover that wound up on the stick of Bergeron, leading to the game’s first goal.

“It’€™s one those plays where we want to be harder on our forecheck,” Bergeron said. “Matt Fraser was definitely great on using his speed as [first forward] there on the play and I was trying to follow up to be there and try to have a good read as [second forward] and he caused a turnover and I was lucky enough to get the puck there.

“I think he’€™s a smart player, he’€™s in good position all the time, he wants to learn, he’€™s always asking questions, uses his speed a lot and its not just about his shot, I think, everybody says he has a great shot but it’€™s the way that he plays and the way that he works. Right now, I thought tonight he had a great effort.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia