BOSTON (CBS) — When Zdeno Chara left Wednesday night’s game early due to a lower-body injury, it was bad news in and of itself. But in the larger picture of the Bruins’ health issues along the blue line, the loss of the captain became even worse.
That much was made crystal clear on Friday morning, when the Bruins partook in their morning skate in Dallas, ahead of their Friday night matchup against the Stars. And it was during the morning skate that the Bruins’ health issues on defense really stood out.
Paired with Torey Krug was Connor Clifton, a 23-year-old fifth-round pick from 2013 with zero games of NHL experience to his name.
Paired with Matt Grzelcyk was Jeremy Lauzon, a 21-year-old second-round pick from 2015 who’s played in six games for Boston this year.
And paired with Steven Kampfer was Jakub Zboril, the first-round pick from 2015 who’s yet to make his NHL debut.
With Dallas ranking 23rd in the NHL in goals scored per game, it’s possible that the Bruins can manage to gut out a win despite being so clearly shorthanded on the back end on the first leg of their back-to-back road games. (The Bruins will play in Arizona on Saturday.) But it’s nevertheless a rough welcome back to the ice for Tuukka Rask, who will make his first start since returning from his leave of absence this week.
The calls for deep reinforcements are necessary because of the injuries to Chara, Charlie McAvoy (concussion), Brandon Carlo (upper body), Kevan Miller (hand), Urho Vaakanainen (concussion) and John Moore (lower body).