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Krejci Concussion Yields New Look for B's

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON -- Unfortunately, it's not an unusual occurrance. Only the name has changed. First Patrice, then Marc and now David


Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) is helped off the ice by teammates Zdeno Chara (33) and Andrew Ference after being injured during the overtime period of Boston's 2-1 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues in a NHL hockey game in Boston Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
"I just wanted to give an update on David Krejci," said Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli on Monday morning. "He sustained a concussion the other night, as we had earlier reported. It’s a moderate concussion,

"They used to grade it by numbers, but now you go mild, moderate and severe. There was no unconsciousness. He felt better yesterday and feels a lot better today.

"He’ll be re-evaluated tomorrow."

For a club that is missing two top forwards (Marc Savard and Marco Sturm) and one of its best defensemen (Johnny Boychuk) the words were sobering. For a team that, over the past few seasons, has lost two top players to significant time because of concussions (Savard and Patrice Bergeron) the words were downright scary.

"He’ll be here tomorrow and, as far as time frame goes, I don’t know," said Chiarelli. "The first two or three days following a concussion are the most critical as far as gauging the prognosis and he’s been good in that time period."

Claude Julien, the B's head coach, talked about his club having to play without without Krejci and acknowledged that it is a tough hit to the roster.

But the B's bench boss said that the situation is -- unfortunately -- not unusual.

"We’ve dealt with those situations before and we’ll continue to deal with them," he said. "But this is a team game and everybody’s got to knuckle down and compensate for that loss and I think that we’re capable of doing it."

Blake Wheeler stepped into the role of center between Jordan Caron and Mark Recchi this morning.

"I think it certainly doesn’t hurt," said Julien of Wheeler's ability to play in the middle. "We’re in a situation right now where somebody’s got to replace him and Blake...is one of those guys that’s played that position until he came here so the opportunity to take advantage of the experience that he’s had in the past and maybe bail us out for the time being."

Fellow forward Daniel Paille, who has been a healthy scratch for all but the B's opening game versus Phoenix, was wearing a gray jersey during practice today and should see time versus Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

"I think the one thing about Dan [Daniel Paille] is that he works hard," said Julien. "You see him every day in practice, and he pushes himself and he does the extra and fills those shoes and if anything, I think he’ll be chomping at the bit to get back in there and that might be.

"He’ll have a good impact, I’m sure, on our hockey club."

Julien and Chiarelli also talked about Patrice Bergeron centering Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton.

"Certainly he can make plays with that group," said Chiarelli. "It’s going to be a strong, heavy line -- not that Krejci isn’t heavy. Krejci protects the puck very well, but I think you’ll see a little bit more forecheck on that line.

"Bergy makes good plays in close, inn tight, so I would imagine he’s looking forward to it."

Julien looks forward to seeing what the new trio can do.
  
"I think it’s a guy that’s...probably one of our better centermen and he’s going to have a couple wingers right now that are pretty hot," said the coach. "Hopefully it works out well for him and works out well for our team, but he’s very versatile.

"He can play with anybody, and I’m sure he’ll adapt very well with those two guys and hopefully take advantage of it too."

As for Krejci, now it's just a waiting game for David and the Bruins.

"Again, everyone has their problems with concussions in the league," said Chiarelli. "I was just talking earlier this morning with somebody and...we talk about why there’ve been more concussions.

"One, there’s obviously the bigger, stronger, faster element, but two, there’s the fact that there’s less obstruction and it’s a faster game. That’s got to be part of it too.

"Who knows in that instance if someone would have held up Oshie or held up Krejci so they didn’t come to that point. You just have to deal with it and deal with it properly and unfortunately, we’re getting a lot of experience dealing with it."
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