As if Thursday’s 8-5 loss to the Vancouver Canucks wasn’t chaotic enough, the Boston Bruins had an even more eventful practice Friday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, with Tuukka Rask, Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson generating headlines.
Rask, who played 25:07 in relief of Jaroslav Halak, missed practice attend to a personal matter and will not suit up for this weekend’s tilts with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights at TD Garden. The issue is neither health nor performance related according to Bruins GM Don Sweeney.
“I thought it would be helpful if I clarified with Rask,” Sweeney told the media during his press conference in Brighton. “Tuukka is going to take a couple of days to address a personal matter. It is not health related so I think it is important for everyone to respect his privacy and allow him to deal with it for the next few days.”
Several of Rask’s teammates, including captain Zdeno Chara and alternate captain Patrice Bergeron, expressed support for their veteran goaltender during Friday’s media availability.
“I’m not going to go into any deals because I don’t know them, it’s a personal issue. We’re all behind him and supporting him 100 percent,” Bergeron said. “He’s a great friend and we’re all here for him.”
“We respect that, obviously it’s very important. We support his decision..hopefully it’s solved soon and he’s going to be back with us,” Chara added. “Obviously we miss him, he’s our teammate, our brother and has been here for a long time. In absence we support him and think of him and obviously have to play without him.”
Halak, who allowed five goals on 19 shots Thursday night, will likely start both games this weekend.
Charlie McAvoy (top) and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (bottom) generated headlines as part of a busy Friday afternoon in Boston. (Angela Spagna, Bruins Daily)
The Bruins received some good news with McAvoy. The former Boston University standout skated briefly before practice in his first appearance since exiting the Edmonton game back on Oct. 18.
This is an encouraging sign because of the sparse updates since McAvoy returned home from Western Canada after sustaining a concussion. The 20-year-old defenseman has been out for almost three weeks now and his injury specifics were relatively unknown until Friday. The Bruins announced that the young defenseman is slowly, but surely, progressing through concussion protocols.
“Charlie was back on the ice briefly today. Charlie’s timeline is such that he had some vestibular issues in and around training camp but definitively coming out of the Edmonton game had a conversation with our doctors and medical staff that he had more concussion symptoms,” Sweeney noted about McAvoy.
“At that point in time we sent Charlie home and he’s clearly been in protocol since and progressing. Until we have definitive answers on things we like to continue to allow our medical staff to have full and correct diagnosis. we are at the stage where he is making progress but there is no timeline.”
The Bruins also recalled Forsbacka Karlsson from Providence ahead of their back-to-back homestand. ‘JFK’ will likely make his Boston debut Saturday night as third line center alongside left winger Danton Heinen and either Anders Bjork or David Backes at right wing.
The 22-year-old was among a trio of young centermen — Jack Studnicka and Trent Frederic being the others — that were vying for that third line center position at training camp. With the ongoing third line struggles, Forsbacka Karlsson now has a second opportunity to step in and produce at the NHL level.
“Obviously it’s a great feeling, this is where you want to be,” the former Boston University standout stated. “When I got called up earlier [in the preseason] I thought I was ready to but obviously I have a little more experience this time and know more of what to expect. Definitely ready for it and excited about it.”
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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