Every single team that has gotten this far in the battle for the Stanley Cup has dealt with injuries. The Boston Bruins are no different. Veteran leader Kevan Miller and key secondary forward Chris Wagner have both missed considerable time this spring. They will both miss Wednesday night’s Game 7 at TD Garden.
Just like every team that has gotten this far has dealt with injury, every team that reaches this point is tight. It’s a cliché, but the best teams in the NHL are the closest teams, the ones that play for each other every night. The Bruins might just be the tightest group in the NHL.
No, they aren’t the ‘Big, Bad Bruins’ anymore, but this is one tough group. All playoff long fans have been treated to this team not only flashing immense skill but also finishing their checks and giving up the body. When you play like that, injury is inevitable. Wagner suffered his injury blocking a shot against Carolina in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Miller has yet to play this postseason. Even Matt Grzelcyk, a key cog all postseason, has been out since Game 2 with a concussion.
Even though these men cannot play, they have remained a part of this team. Wagner and Grzelcyk just returned to traveling with the team, while Miller has been unable to leave Boston throughout the course of this run. It hasn’t mattered. All three of these men have remained a part of this group. For the guys in the room, it’s like that trio never left.
Torey Krug has dealt with these issues before. In each of the previous two postseasons, Krug dealt with injury and was unavailable to the Bruins. He’s played a significant role in keeping the guys involved this spring. Asked on Monday just how the team keeps these players involved, Krug explained.
“Through text chains, different things like that. We obviously see (Miller) when we’re at home. Chris Wagner has been on the road with us, he’s been able to travel, but Kevan not so much” responded the blueliner. How tight is this Boston group, and why are these guys taking the extra step to keep their fallen teammates in the loop?
“We’re all pulling for each other. We love each other” Krug continued. “What Kevan has done for this team has not gone unnoticed. When you care about someone so much, they’re not able to perform at the level they want, be here with us, we feel for them.”
The leadership of guys like Miller and Wagner, even while on the mend, cannot be understated. Boston’s locker room is one of the strongest in the league. The love that Krug alludes to between this band of brothers is a significant reason why.
Perhaps that is why, even though they are no longer the ‘Big, Bad Bruins,’ Boston remains one of the toughest, tightest groups in the league.