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Despite Injuries, B's Fight On

by Samantha Wood / Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins' Marc Savard talks about his possible season-ending injury during a news conference before the start of an NHL hockey game between the Bruins and the Calgary Flames, Saturday, March 27, 2010, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Boston, MA – As the Bruins begin their first round playoff series in Buffalo, they will be without several key players in the lineup, though that’s nothing new.

With a total of 191 man games lost due to injury, the B’s season has been one riddled with aggravated previous injuries and brand new ones as well, ranging from the mild to the severe.

Only two Bruins, Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler, have maintained a perfect attendance record, with neither missing any games this season.

With the postseason warming up, Marc Savard (concussion), Mark Stuart (hand), Dennis Seidenberg (arm), and Andrew Ference (day-to-day, groin) all remain out of the lineup.

Only Ference, who has missed a total of 31 games this season, has been confirmed by Bruins head coach Claude Julien as a possibility for the Bruins series against the Sabres.

“I haven’t been given the green light on him yet,” said Julien, referring to the medical clearance necessary for Ference to return. “Obviously we’ll know hopefully sometime today or tomorrow.

“There’s no guarantees in his situation when he does come back. I think he’s been clear in telling you guys the same thing that I’m telling you now.

“It could go well, and maybe not. There’s nothing that we can do about it.”

Julien went on to say that although how his injury will react to the stress of game is unclear, sometimes the reward is worth the risk.

“There’s only one way to find out,” Julien said.

Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (44) drops Buffalo Sabres right wing Jason Pominville, bottom, to the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Monday, March 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
After missing 17 of the last 21 games, Ference said he’s anxious to get back and help in any way he can, as long as he’s healthy enough.

“It’s important that healthy people are in there that can benefit the team,” he said. “So if my injury’s good enough, then obviously you do anything you can to get in the lineup. I’ve said it before, you need to know where that line is of being selfish and helping the team. If it’s not good enough, then it’s not going to help the team to be in there.”

Marc Savard, who has been struggling with a concussion since a tough hit from Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke on March 7, has recently been included in discussions of a return should the B’s advance to the second round. Though nobody knows if he’ll be well enough to consider an earlier-than-expected comeback, his improvements are encouraging.

“The doctors are great here and they’re going to make the good decision for him, whether it’s to come back or not,” said Patrice Bergeron, who missed almost an entire season after suffering a severe concussion in October of 2007. “Savvy [Savard] knows his body well and he’s going to be honest to make the right decision for him.”

After sitting out for the remainder of the regular season after his injury, Bergeron was expected to return for the 2008 playoff series against the Canadiens. He was held back by the team doctors and did not play again until the following season.

“I wanted to get back out there, but it was a good decision, looking back at it,” Bergeron said. “The doctors have been awesome.

“It’s afterward that you realize it was probably the best decision.”

Boston Bruins' Mark Stuart, right, checks Calgary Flames' David Moss, left, as Bruins goalie Tim Thomas clears the puck the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 27, 2010, in Boston. The Bruins won 5-0. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Also at the center of some rumors is Mark Stuart, who has been out for two weeks with cellulitis in his hand. However, unlike Savard, his prognosis is more black and white, according to Coach Julien.

“Nothing’s changed on that,” Julien said. “We’ve released that stuff and nothing’s changed.

“I don’t know if somebody’s hoping for miracles, but right now it is what it is and the timetable is what’s been said.”

Stuart underwent surgery on his hand, and was expected to miss at least two weeks as of April 4.

With three defenseman and one forward out of the picture at least for now, the remaining Bruins were forced to step up, especially on the back end, in order to make it into the playoffs. And now that they’re officially “in,” they seem to have no intentions of changing the plan that has worked so well.

“I guess our belief here and what I’ve tried to instill in our hockey club is that it’s a team sport,” said Julien. “You lose players like Savvy, there’s no question there that you have a big loss.

“Having said that, it’s still a team sport and that’s where everybody’s got to pull together. I don’t believe that one guy can replace a player like that,” he added.

“As a team, as a whole, if you play well together, you can certainly compensate a little bit for that loss and that’s what we’ve tried to do.”
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