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"Next Man Up" Mentality For Bruins

The Black & Gold are battling through injuries

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins /

OTTAWA - Following the Bruins' 2-1 victory over the Senators in Game 1 on Wednesday night, Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy spoke about the team's resiliency. 


"I've used the word resiliency a lot and I think it's become a bit of our middle name," Cassidy said. 


After having a healthy lineup towards the end of the regular season, the Black & Gold have been hit with injuries in the last week. Still, they're powering on with a "next man up" mentality - a mentality that helped them battle to their Game 1 win. 

The Bruins picked up the win without David Krejci, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo, and Noel Acciari, and they lost Colin Miller to a lower body injury in the second period. 


Krejci was a late scratch before game time with an upper body injury, causing Sean Kuraly to answer the call up front. On the back end, the defensemen went their third straight game losing a member of their corps, when Colin Miller was not able to return. 


Veterans Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, and John-Michael Liles raised their games, and 19-year-old defenseman Charlie McAvoy rose to the occasion in his NHL debut. 


"You look at the infirmary and the guys that we've got trying to get back and the minutes that they've played throughout the whole year," David Backes said on Thursday from the team hotel. "And to get another skill guy in there who has the confidence that Charlie does and he's able to make the plays and come in and just kind of say 'hey, I'm going to do what I do,' and what he does is right what we need, moving pucks and rolling that first power play and that will only get better as they get more familiar with each other and what they're going to be doing."


"And him along with Sean Kuraly who doesn't really know he's playing until five minutes before the game when Krech is unable to go," said Backes. "Colin Miller back in the lineup [to start], John Liles who's been out of the lineup for the last month, month and a half, and for those guys to go out there and contribute to a win in big ways, that's huge for our team to have."


"We'll keep working with the guys who are out, hopefully they're back sooner than later and then Butchy has some decisions to make, but those are good decisions to make when you've got too many bodies and not enough spaces, rather than too many spaces and not enough bodies." 


The team was given a day off the ice on Thursday, so the statuses of Krejci and Colin Miller for Saturday afternoon's Game 2 are not yet known. 


"Nothing new to report there," Cassidy said. "We're off today, so everyone gets their treatment and then tomorrow we'll have a better idea when we hit the ice. So hopefully they're able to go, but until tomorrow, until they get on the ice and practice, we won't know."


The Bruins are set to practice on Friday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. ET. 


If Colin Miller is unable to go on Saturday, Cassidy laid out the options. 


"Our first plan is Joe Morrow who's been here all year. He's played games for us. It would allow us to balance our left and right sticks," said Cassidy. "After that, the health of the guys [on defense plays a role] - are they out, are they in, are they going to be any better for Saturday? And then the guys in Providence as well."


"So it's always been a next man up kind of mentality. When your sweater's hanging up and you're in the lineup, you're expected to do your job, so whoever we choose, we expect they'll be able to do it."


As of Thursday, there were no further updates on Krug and Carlo back in Boston. 


"Right now, it's day to day, so no updates on them," said Cassidy. "Obviously we'd love it if they were healthy enough to play, but right now, I can't say that they are."


Up front, the Bruins could get Noel Acciari back in the lineup on Saturday. Acciari took part in pregame skate on Wednesday morning in Ottawa. The B's would not doubt benefit from his heaviness around the puck, and ability to shift momentum with his physicality.  


"He's close," said Cassidy. "Day to day, and certainly possible for Saturday."


No matter who is in or out of the lineup, veterans like McQuaid know the job that needs to be done - and that job revolves around the team, not any one individual. 


"I think there's a lot unknowns going into games, and it's just kind of the old saying, 'you take it one shift at a time,' and just be focused on what you need to do when you're out there," said McQuaid. " Whether that means you have to play a little bit more some nights than others, then that's the case. I think it's just important to communicate with one another and support one another."


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