The Boston Bruins recalled defenseman Urho Vaakanainen from the Providence Bruins Monday and announced that defenseman Torey Krug will not play against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden Tuesday night. Krug suffered an upper-body injury in the third period of the Bruins’ 3-2 shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday night.
Following practice Monday, head coach Bruce Cassidy told the media there was no update on Krug’s exact status other than he won’t play and that it will be decided tomorrow prior to faceoff whether Vaakanainen or fellow rearguard Steven Kampfer will suit up.
“We will re-evaluate as the week goes on,” Cassidy told the media. “We’re not taking him out of the equation this weekend. He was here [in the building], but again, until I get more [information] I’ve got nothing for you.”
#NHLBruins coach Bruce Cassidy talks about the recall of Urho Vaakanainen and provides the latest updates on injuries to Torey Krug, Jake DeBrusk, David Backes, and Kevan Miller: pic.twitter.com/eAgCFenepf
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 11, 2019
Vaakanainen Ready For The Call
Vaakanainen has just two assists in 15 games with the P-Bruins this season but has been playing well as of late and is hoping to continue that improving play in Boston if given the chance.
“I’ve been defending well, skating well, found the flow in my game. It’s been a good two, three weeks, playing well. I feel good right now,” said Vaakanainen. “When you get a chance, you’re gonna take it. I haven’t been thinking about it too much. I don’t want to stress myself if someone gets injured or if I get called up. I just want to be myself.”
Cassidy likes the trajectory of the second year defenseman – who was drafted 18th overall by the Bruins at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft – and cited acclimating to the North American game as a reason Vaakanainen may have struggled early on.
“Defending better. I think early on he was getting stuck wide. I don’t know if that’s a European-sized rink issue or the way they played over there. But that was an issue early on,” Cassidy said. “It showed on the goals against, he was getting beat to the middle. Moving the puck better, just more engaged in the game. Been told he’s practicing hard too, becoming a better pro, all good things. His game is falling into place now as well.”
Miller Skates With Teammates But No Timetable
Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller (knee) hasn’t played a game since April 4 and two fractured kneecaps later, he may finally be closing in on a return but as the rugged blueliner pointed out, it’s difficult to give an exact date because of all he’s gone through.
“Trying to get back to 100 percent, day by day so far,” Miller said. “It’s kind of been ticking away and I’m feeling pretty good…couldn’t put a number [on how I feel] right now. There’s no timetable, it’s up to the docs and how things are going. It’s just because of the nature of the injury, there’s a feeling-out process and you’ve got to check the boxes as you go. Slowly checking boxes.”
“Now we’re getting closer,” he said. “I would rule him out this week. Next week, let’s see how he gets through the practices. Wednesday’s a scheduled [off day], Thursday’s a scheduled practice. Friday, Saturday [are games]…he’s not getting enough reps to say automatically next week. Some of it will determine how much he can get integrated with the group. Our practice schedule is actually hurting his timeline a little bit. But that’s fine, we’ve got a lot of games and we’re not rushing him.”
Here’s what the lineup looked like at practice Monday
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Danton Heinen – David Krejci – Charlie Coyle
Anders Bjork – Par Lindholm – Zach Senyshyn
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Urho Vaakanainen – Connor Clifton
Steven Kampfer-Kevan Miller