When Bruins General Manger Peter Chiarelli announced that center Patrice Bergeron was out indefinitely with a mild concussion, fans and media alike started to predict what the Bruins lines would look like when they hit the ice for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Today the Bruins practiced for the first time since sending home the Philadelphia Flyers after a dominating four game sweep and with the first practice came our first look at what the lines could look like whenever the Bruins and Lightning kick off the series.
The top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton remained intact. Chris Kelly moved up to the second line, filling the role Bergeron held prior to his mild concussion. Kelly was centering Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi.
It looks like rookie Tyler Seguin will be making his NHL playoff debut. At today’s practice Seguin was centering Rich Peverley and Michael Ryder. The fourth line of Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Pallie will stay as is.
As sad as it is to hear about in the injury to Bergeron who has been the best Bruins forward, Bruins fans should be excited to see what Seguin brings to the team in the postseason.
Seguin struggled throughout his rookie campaign and thus hasn’t seen any playing time because of it. Bruins head coach Claude Julien knows it’s been tough on Seguin, but knows the rookie is ready to show why he deserves to be in the lineup.
“I had the conversation; I don’t necessarily think I told him you’re the odd man out more than you got to be ready. We don’t know what’s going to happen here from day-to-day. But he knew we were going to start with that lineup that we started with and experience was one of the things that we were looking for and where guys fit into certain spots. We felt we had good line combinations but I always told him to stay ready. And the reason we dress him for every warm-up was that I needed him to, I guess get the experience of seeing how guys are getting ready for playoff games. And he was in the dressing room before it started, and I think those are things that hopefully will have allowed him to grow and get even better. So those things were done purposefully and his opportunity when it comes to step in there and show that he’s going to be a contributor to our hockey club.” said Julien.
Julien had more to think about than whom he would insert into the lineup, Julien and staff had to make sure they didn’t mess up the chemistry that the lines have shown through the regular season, and so far during the playoffs.
One positive coming from the lineup changes was the announcing that defenseman Adam McQuaid would be inserted back into the lineup after recovering from his neck sprain suffered in Game 2 against the Flyers. Julien confirmed that the gritty defenseman is ready to go.
” Well you know I think he’s getting much better and obviously today there wasn’t much restriction on what he could or couldn’t do. So we anticipate when the playoffs come – that I guess the next series comes – around that he will be ready.”
Certainly the loss of Bergeron is going to hurt a hot Bruins team, but the depth at the forward position is deep enough to keep the Bruins confidence high.
The Eastern Conference Finals cannot start until the series in the west wrap up. The longer those two series goes the more rest for Bergeron and the closer to his return we get.
So its simple folks, go Red Wings, go Predators, and more importantly, go Bruins.