The Boston Bruins have had their defensive depth challenged recently, and it doesn’t seem like much will change heading into Sunday’s game against the New York Rangers.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy had hoped defenseman Matt Grzelcyk would return during the team’s three-game New York trip, but that doesn’t seem likely.
Cassidy told reporters Saturday he would consider Grzelcyk “doubtful” as he continues to recover from a lower-body injury.
The news isn’t much better for fellow blue liner Kevan Miller. Miller was held out of the Lake Tahoe trip for what was described as load management, but his knee has not responded well upon returning. Miller did not travel to New York, and while Cassidy hopes it won’t be anything long term, he didn’t have any resounding news.
“He’s back there (in Boston) and he’s doing some off-ice stuff and feeling a lot better, but until he gets on the ice that’s just speculation,” Cassidy told reporters. “So, probably say status quo at best. When we get back into Boston and get back on the ice Tuesday, obviously, we’ll have a better answer if he’s with us or not.”
Cassidy explained how Miller, who worked his way back after injuries forced him to miss much of the 2018-19 campaigns and all of the 2019-20 season, remains “disappointed” he hasn’t yet rejoined the team. He hasn’t played since Feb. 18.
“He was disappointed that he had a setback,” Cassidy said. “He put in a lot of hard work, made it through a good month at least and had very minor issues — day off here or there, more out of maintenance — and it kind of flared up on him.
“We’re all keeping our fingers crossed. Medically, there’s been nothing that says this guy is going to be out for an extended period of time. I think it’s just a little bit of what happens after a couple surgeries that may need — that does need time to calm down. To what extent I don’t know. But yes, he wanted to be back in the lineup. (He) felt he was doing everything he could to get back, was playing well, doing his job, contributing. And to have the setback it affects you mentally, but we’re trying to keep it as positive as possible with him. And again, hopefully it’s just a one and done thing and he’s ready to go soon.”
Defenseman Jeremy Lauzon, you may have heard, will miss the next four weeks after he underwent hand surgery. The issues have mounted on the Bruins blue line, and it’s tested the team’s depth, to say the least.
Boston tried to help offset those injuries and absences by claiming Jarred Tinordi off waivers. Cassidy is hopeful Tinordi can bring the size and “stiffness” that the Bruins are missing without Lauzon and Miller.