-- San Jose Sharks
coach Todd McLellan
said before Game 1 of his team's Stanley Cup Playoff series with the Colorado Avalanche
, "We're completely healthy. We'll have no excuses."
The Boston Bruins
and Buffalo Sabres
can't say that.
Sabres left wing Jochen Hecht
, who also excels on faceoffs, missed the final three games of the regular season, didn't practice Thursday, won't play in this evening's Game 1 (7 p.m. ET, CBC) and may miss the entire series.
"Jochen was re-evaluated and he has to have further work done," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff
said of the injury, a broken pinkie. "He's out now for what would be weeks rather than days. He had a small procedure. Disappointing, but now it will be better. It's not infected, just further damage.
"The playoffs are about replacing people and people stepping into bigger roles," Ruff said. "He's been an important part of our team for the year and now someone has to step in and fill that void for us."
Injured Bruins defensemen Mark Stuart
and Dennis Seidenberg
watched their team's optional practice from the stands. Leading scorer Marc Savard
, who suffered a head injury a month ago, was nowhere to be seen. The Bruins have adapted to playing without all three, but they'd be stronger with them. Seidenberg and Stuart are big bodies, a pair of 215-pounders.
Seidenberg suffered a severed arm tendon April 3 against Toronto and underwent surgery. The upper part of the tendon rolled back up his arm, under the skin, and had to be stretched back to be sewn back onto the lower part. Seidenberg displayed pictures of the operation.
"The playoffs are about replacing people and people stepping into bigger roles. He's been an important part of our team for the year and now someone has to step in and fill that void for us."
-- Lindy Ruff
Stuart has missed the past five games with a hand injury that also underwent surgery. Both players wore arm casts Thursday. Stuart will be back at some point, but Seidenberg is likely done for the year.
On the positive side, the Bruins will get back defenseman Andrew Ference
for Game 1. He last played on March 25, missing the final nine regular season games with an off-again, on-again groin injury that has cost him 31 games altogether since it first flared up in January.
Also, Johnny Boychuk
, Adam McQuaid
and Jeff Penner, call-ups from the AHL Providence Bruins, have filled in well. Boychuk is logging a lot of ice time and McQuaid replaces Seidenberg's right-hand point shot.
"We've done it the last little while," Bruins coach Claude Julien
said. "We've lost Seidenberg and Stuart for quite a few games now. We've handled it the best we could and it's worked out for us. I don't see why we'd change those kinds of things. We've added Ference for tonight which gives us that experience but I don't know if there's any special things we need to do to make those matchups better."