The Bruins come into the playoffs with a few injuries of note to Johnny Boychuk and Nathan Horton, but backup goalie Tuukka Rask is still out with a groin/abdomen injury that’s kept him out of action since early March.
Now with the playoffs about to start this week and things not looking good for Horton, attention has turned to Rask to see if he’ll be able to backup Tim Thomas as the Bruins look to defend the Stanley Cup. CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty hears it from Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli that Rask is right on schedule for when he’s due to return.
“I’d characterize Johnny [Boychuk] and Adam [McQuaid] as day-to-day in their respective injuries. I think Tuukka’s is maybe a little bit more than day-to-day. He’s been pretty aggressive with his rehab,” said Chiarelli. “I don’t have my calendar in front of me but I think he might be bang on [with a six-week rehab]. We’ll see how he goes the next couple of days, but we certainly have a capable backup in [Anton] Khudobin [if Rask can’t play].”
If you’re wondering about Marty Turco, he’s not eligible to play for the Bruins in the playoffs because he signed out of Switzerland after the trade deadline.
It’s just the backup goalie position but we’ve seen backups play more-than important roles in the past and the Bruins would like to be fully squared away in goal. Looks like they won’t be too far off from that after all.
Travis Zajac’s recovery from a torn Achilles is nearly at an end.
According to Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice, Zajac skated on the third line in practice this morning and it’s looking like the Devils may just get their top center back in the lineup this weekend, perhaps as early as Friday against Dallas.
(Update 12:17 p.m. ET: Katie Strang of ESPN New York tweets that Zajac will be in the lineup on Friday night.)
Getting Zajac back in the lineup will be a huge lift for New Jersey and give them some surprising depth thanks to the surprising play of rookie Adam Henrique. With Zajac back as their eventual first line center and Henrique or Patrik Elias in place as the second line center, the Devils’ top six looks a lot more formidable than it looked before the season started.
Dealing with the Devils is tough enough as it is with how tough they play defensively, but with three solid play makers up the middle to go along with Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk (even with his struggles) gives the Devils plenty to work with offensively.
When Patrick Kane went in for surgery on his left wrist last month the plan for him was to rehab for 6-8 weeks and get back to action by the time training camp rolled around. Of course, training camp is now just a few weeks away and Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman had an update on what’s going on with Kane as time ticks away until camp begins in mid-September.
While Chicago’s season ended in the first round of the playoffs against Vancouver after nearly coming back from being down 3-0 in the series, a healthy and rejuvenated Blackhawks team shapes up to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference and a threat to get back to the Stanley Cup finals. Having Patrick Kane at 100% would go a long way towards getting off on the right foot to start the season.
CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers spoke with Bowman and got a very positive status check on Kane.
Patrick Kane is “doing great, right on schedule” after having left wrist surgery last month, Bowman said on Monday. Bowman said they’ll check on Kane as training camp nears, but so far so good.
“He’s feeling good and he’s still able to do a lot of the cardio-type stuff,” Bowman said. “He’s staying in shape; he’s excited.”
Kane’s been excited all summer about the upcoming season, especially with the added toughness the team brought on board in free agency. With guys like Steve Montador, Jamal Mayers, and Dan Carcillo they’re certainly going to have more of a nasty edge to their game. For guys like Kane, newly extended scorer Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, and Jonathan Toews having that extra snarl to the team’s game should bode well for them in the postseason.
While the Blackhawks needed a bit of good luck in making the playoffs last season, this season they’re already shaping up to be a critical favorite in the Western Conference. Kane’s importance to the Blackhawks can’t be understated. In 73 games last season, Kane had 73 points (27 goals, 46 assists) and finished second on the team in points behind Toews. Being a point per game player in the NHL is a big deal and making sure he can play every game will keep the Blackhawks atop people’s prediction lists for the upcoming season.