Bruins notebook: Concern grows that Patrice Bergeron may miss opener
For the second straight year the Bruins might open their season without center Patrice Bergeron.
Bergeron, who missed the first three games of a last season because of an ankle injury, did not practice Wednesday at TD Garden after he left a workout early on Tuesday because of a lower-body injury. The 32-year-old didn’t practice at all on Monday and is considered day to day.
Coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t reject the notion that Bergeron could be questionable to play in the season-opener Thursday night at the Garden against the Nashville Predators.
“Well there is [a question] simply because he didn’t skate today,” Cassidy said after practice. “Tomorrow I can’t predict how he’ll be. We hope it’s just a minor setback, but yes there is concern simply because he didn’t skate today.”
Last season David Backes filled in admirably for Bergeron between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. But on Wednesday Backes missed practice because he was “under the weather” so his status for the Predators game won’t be known until Thursday morning.
Ryan Spooner centered Marchand and rookie Anders Bjork during drills Wednesday.
Defenseman Torey Krug, out since the second game of the preseason because of a fractured jaw, continued to practice with the Bruins in a red no-contact jersey. The Bruins placed him on injured reserve Tuesday so he’s unlikely to play. Charlestown native Matt Grzelcyk will most likely fill Krug’s spot, skating 5-on-5 next to Adam McQuaid and quarterbacking the second power-play unit.
Orchestrating a power-play group with four forwards and no other defensemen could be challenging for a player with two games of NHL experience. But Grzelcyk has an idea of how to handle the task.
“I’m going to try to move the puck as quick as I can and get it in the forwards’ hands,” Grzelcyk said. “Let them make plays down low. I think that’s where we’re going to capitalize hopefully, making some nice little plays to the net. I think my job is to facilitate as best I can.”
Cassidy also lauded Grzelcyk’s agility walking the blue line, in addition to his ability to distribute the puck, as a reason the rookie was the right choice to replace Krug.
“He can move well, he’s looking to pass first, draw some people out, he has some composure. Those are things we like,” Cassidy said.
During battle drills Cassidy emphasized to his players that he believes the league’s crackdown on slashing will carry over from the preseason into the regular season.
“So we’ve instructed our guys to check with your feet, your stick on the ice and body position. And we’ve got to kind of grow that mentality,” Cassidy said. “You’re always going to take a whack here or there and I think there’s room in the game for that, toward the stick and the puck area, not the hands. I think that is something they should try to get out of the game. It’s unnecessary I think.”
After a lengthy search and audition process, 98.5 The Sports Hub, the flagship radio station of the Bruins, named Judd Sirott as the new play-by-play voice to work with analyst Bob Beers. Sirott served as the fill-in play-by-play man for Chicago Blackhawks games on WGN-AM for the past 10 years. Sirott replaces Dave Goucher, who left last month to do television for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.
“We are very excited to have someone with the exceptional reputation and experience that Judd has, join our team at The Sports Hub,” CBS Radio vice president of programming Mike Thomas said in a statement.