Bruins Facing More Questions After Taylor Hall’s Injury

Hall's injury is more serious than originally thought

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October 2

The Bruins already knew they were going to be shorthanded going into the 2022-23 NHL season with Brad Marchand recovering from offseason double hip surgery.

Now Boston may need to test its depth early on with its forward group.

Taylor Hall was injured in the Bruins’ preseason 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. He played just 8:13 before removing himself from the game. It’s unclear just when Hall suffered the injury, but he was on the receiving end of a no-call high-stick from Ronnie Attard that caused Hall to land awkwardly on the ice.

Head coach Jim Montgomery seemed optimistic after Saturday’s win, saying he believed both Hall and Fabian Lysell — who also was injured in the win — would miss a “day or two of practice.”

While that appears to be the truth about Lysell, Montgomery revealed after Sunday’s practice that Hall’s injury was “more significant” than the Bruins originally thought and listed the forward as “week-to-week.”

We know the B’s will be without their second-line forward for at least this week and it’s unclear if he will be ready for the Oct. 12 season opener against the Washington Capitals. If Hall’s unable to go, just how do the Bruins fill that void?

The top line seemed set with Pavel Zacha, Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk all looking good in Saturday’s win. Zacha in particular looked really strong on the boards and in front of the net, creating opportunities in dirty areas. But now that Hall may be out, Montgomery said he was thinking about moving the newcomer to the second line with David Pastrnak and David Krejci.

“The Czech Line” as some on social media called it, certainly isn’t a bad idea. We know the chemistry Krjeci and Pastrnak share, and Zacha looked to play some of his strongest hockey alongside Bergeron that you have to think the same would translate to a line with Krejci — a player who elevates whoever is next to him.

“They come from the same school of thought, with their upbringing, so let’s see what it looks like,” Montgomery told reporters of a line with Zacha, Krejci and Pastrnak. “It’s the same for Russians, the same for Swedes. There’s a school they were brought up with, a style of play that makes it a little simpler for them to understand each other. It’s not a language thing.”

So the second line probably is figured out should they need to substitute for Hall. But what about the first line?

Montgomery hinted that Trent Frederic, Nick Foligno and A.J. Greer all will get looks. Greer really has impressed in camp and had two goals — including the game-winner– against the New York Rangers last week. The six-year veteran skated with Bergeron and DeBrusk on Sunday at Warrior Ice Arena and indeed has made a case for a roster spot out of camp.

“That’s what the rest of camp is for. We’re going to try things out,” Montgomery told reporters. “Obviously Bergy’s going to have a huge say in who that person is, because I’m going lean on him as far as chemistry. Him and Zacha is still an option. Hopefully we’ll figure it out in the next 10 days here.”

Of course, Lysell also could get more of a look in a top-six role over the next few days. Montgomery expressed disappointment in not being able to see more of him Saturday due to his injury because the head coach believed he was the best skater while he was out there. Lysell showed flashes of his offensive upside. But, as with any young player, he suffered some growing pains when he lost the puck on a Bruins power play and committed a hooking penalty.

In a perfect world, Hall will be healthy and Montgomery won’t be forced to shuffle the top six. But sometimes things don’t always go according to plan and we need to have a fallback idea. As Montgomery said, “that’s what the rest of camp is for.”

The next few days will be crucial for those like Greer, Foligno and Frederic, who all are fighting for a roster spot regardless of Hall’s status, and we’ll probably see our first look at a new top line Monday night when the Bruins return to preseason action against the New Jersey Devils on the road.

Puck drop from Prudential Center is set for 7 p.m. ET and you can catch the game on NESN+.

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Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images
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