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Wagner Put It on the Line

Blocked shot in Eastern Conference Final may have ended his season

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - Chris Wagner made his way to the interview room just like the rest of his teammates on Sunday afternoon, donning his Stanley Cup Final cap and sweatshirt while answering questions from the assembled media.

But there was one difference. The winger will not be on the ice when the Bruins kick off their Cup quest on Monday night against the St. Louis Blues.

During the final minutes of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Carolina Hurricanes, Wagner put his body on the line by blocking a Justin Faulk slapper with his right forearm, leaving him in what appeared to be excruciating pain as he made his way back to the Boston bench.

"Didn't feel good," said Wagner. "You can tell, if you watch it, from my reaction. Probably kind of blacked out a little bit. It hurt."

Still, Wagner has no regrets.

"Oh, yeah," Wagner said when asked if he'd block that shot again. "It's Sunday, so I told my mom I was gonna drop a bible quote. Jesus said, 'There's no greater love than laying down your life for your friend.' We're all friends and we all love each other. Why would I not say that?"

Video: Wagner talks for first time since injury

The severity of the damage to Wagner's arm is not known publicly, but it is clear that a return for the Final is unlikely. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said last week that he would be "surprised" if the bottom-six stalwart was ready for the series with St. Louis.

"I feel pretty good. Obviously can't give you guys much, but I feel good," Wagner told reporters during Sunday's Media Day at TD Garden. "I don't know if I'm allowed to - I wanted to come up here and be like Bill Belichick and just say, 'We're on to Cincinnati.' But yeah, right now I'm kind of just hanging out."

Which, during the Stanley Cup Final, is certainly not an ideal scenario.

"It's been a little tough watching them get ready and not being on the ice. It's been really tough," admitted Wagner. "But you just want to stay supportive and we've gotten this far. It's not about me, it's about the team, and we've had that attitude from whoever is in or out of the lineup. Like we keep saying, next man up."

That team-first approach was on full display following Game 4 in Carolina, as the Bruins celebrated their Eastern Conference championship. With Wagner and injured defenseman Kevan Miller back in Boston for medical treatment, Zdeno Chara patched in his teammates via FaceTime so they wouldn't miss the postgame festivities.

"It meant a lot," said Wagner. "Honestly, at this point I wouldn't expect anything less, which is funny. Ten years ago, if I was getting a FaceTime from Zdeno Chara I probably would have been like, 'What the heck?'

"It was pretty cool to almost feel like you're in the locker room. For them to think of me in that moment, it means a lot to me."

During the call - which could be seen on the latest episode of Behind The B - the Walpole native passed on the game puck that had been awarded to him following Game 3.

The recipient? Patrice Bergeron - or as Wagner called him, "Mr. Perfect" - who potted two goals during the clincher against the Hurricanes.

"Even in practice he's not taking a drill off or anything," said Wagner. "As a guy who has watched it for a while….you finally get there and see him, how he prepares and stuff. It runs throughout the team. How he is on the ice, but off the ice too with both [Bergeron and Chara].

"They create the buzz in the locker room and the camaraderie and it goes a long way because you don't want to let them down and we don't want to let each other down."

Video: Watch Behind The B: Season 6, Episode 16

Mr. Mayor

In an unrelated note, Wagner also dished on the origin of his "Mayor of Walpole" nickname. The 27-year-old, an alum of Xaverian High School and the South Shore Kings, said that he thinks Danton Heinen might have had something to do with it.

"I don't know where that started. I think Heino would take credit for calling me the Mayor," said Wagner. "But he calls [Matt Grzelcyk] the 'Mayor [of Charlestown]', too. It's funny that it actually stuck and it got rolling. The support locally is something you kind of dream of playing here. Not having them turn on you either because I've seen that before too.

"It's another special part of playing at home when you have that support. Even though the random people can sometimes be a challenge, it's more fun than anything."

Video: Check out the sights and sounds from Media Day

Krejci Skates, Marchand Sits

David Krejci, who missed Thursday's scrimmage and Saturday's practice with an illness, was back on the ice in his familiar spot between Jake DeBrusk and David Backes. The center said that he will be "100% tomorrow night, for sure."

"Obviously, I was a little sick. No one likes to be sick, right?" said Krejci. "We did have Friday off. I wasn't able to skate [on Saturday]. Made a decision with the doctors that we'd be better just to get one more day. Just pretty much missed one day.

"I'm going to go over the meetings with the coaches, go through them, and shouldn't really be any issue with that."

While Krejci made his return, Brad Marchand stayed off the ice on Sunday for a maintenance day, with coach Bruce Cassidy saying the winger will be ready to go for Game 1.

"I just told Butchy I want a day off, I had enough of practice," Marchand said with a smirk. "I'm good."

Video: Marchand had maintenance day on Sunday

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