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Ryder out 2-3 weeks; Julien not panicked

by Dan Rosen
BOSTON - Boston coach Claude Julien needed someone from the media to tell him that Michael Ryder, the Bruins' second-line right wing, was going to be out two to three weeks while recovering from the orbital bone surgery he had Monday evening.

It's not that Julien couldn't find out on his own from either GM Peter Chiarelli or the team doctors. He could have been just playing coy with the large gathering he faced Tuesday morning. But in reality, he just doesn't care too much about it.

Julien is too focused on the task at hand, which Tuesday meant dealing with the San Jose Sharks, the top team in the Western Conference. The Sharks and Bruins square off for the only time this season tonight at 7 ET. The game can be seen live in the United States on VERSUS.

"As a coach, you are going to work with what you have and right now I don't have him," Julien said while his team was on the ice. "It's a big loss for our team, but certainly something we've had to deal with quite a few times this year so we're used to it."

Chiarelli said Tuesday morning that Ryder, who had 19 goals and 17 assists, had successful surgery to repair three small fractures on the bridge of his nose, the result of taking Antoine Vermette's high stick to his face last Thursday. Doctors inserted three small plates.

"He'll be out two to three weeks," Chiarelli said. "He'll be back riding a bike in two or three days."

Asked if Ryder will be wearing a visor upon his return, Chiarelli said, "I would suspect so. I would if I were him."

Two to three weeks was actually a positive verdict for the Bruins, who lead the NHL with 85 points.

At first, Chiarelli said, Ryder thought he would be able to play in Sunday's game against Philadelphia. Then the fractures were detected, and Chiarelli thought Ryder would be out until well into March due to the facial surgery.

"When you hear fracture in that area you'd think he'd miss more," Chiarelli said. "Relatively speaking, yeah (it's good news), but any time someone has a fracture to their face it's not good news."

"As a coach, you are going to work with what you have and right now I don't have him. It's a big loss for our team, but certainly something we've had to deal with quite a few times this year so we're used to it."
-- Bruins coach Claude Julien

The Bruins didn't need to make any roster moves today because Ryder already missed a game. They practiced Monday with Petteri Nokelainen, who had been in and out on the fourth line, on the right side of David Krejci and Blake Wheeler.

Julien said the strategy of his second line, or his team in general, would not change with Ryder out of the lineup. Of course, he does not expect Nokelainen (0 goals, 2 assists) or whoever fills Ryder's void to all of a sudden play like a 30-goal scorer, so that means Wheeler and Krejci have to pick up their play as well.

The young duo has combined for 89 points this season, but only seven in the Bruins' seven games since the All-Star break.
"Whoever steps in there, obviously we hope he's able to bring an element to that line that will keep it going in the right direction," Julien said. "David Krejci and Blake Wheeler have to play a part in that and not just rely on the other guy being the only guy who will replace Michael Ryder."

Chiarelli suggested that Krejci and Wheeler, who are each 22 years old, have hit the proverbial wall that most young players hit at this time of the season.

"It's a long year and it's hard to play hard all year," Chiarelli said. "We demand that from them, but we also recognize that they can't do it all year."

They'll need to find a way over the wall for the Bruins' production to stay status quo without Ryder, who Chiarelli lauded for not only his goal scoring prowess, but his ability to play strong on the puck and flawlessly fit into the Bruins' defensive system.

Wheeler, who has 15 goals in his rookie season, said he does not feel any more pressure to put the puck in the net.

"When Michael is out there he's a dynamic player and he has a big shot," Wheeler said. "We're going to miss him, but we have to work hard and do what we always do. Whoever is playing on the right will do a great job. Guys have stepped up all year for our team and have kept it status quo. It's exciting for another guy to get an opportunity to step up."

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