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BHN Puck Links: Boston Bruins’ Foligno Talks Leafs Back Injury

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The Boston Bruins have to hope that 33-year-old Nick Foligno can avoid the kind of injury that sapped his effectiveness down the stretch last season after being acquired by the Maple Leafs at the trade deadline. The hard-nosed, intense Foligno suffered a back injury just a handful of games into his stint with the Leafs last spring and that impacted him the rest of the way through the season, including dressing for just four of the seven playoff games against the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“I was just dealing with a really bad back injury that was debilitating,” said Foligno to “Good Show” earlier this week. “There was nerve pain. Shut down my whole right leg. It was really disappointing that happened at the time it happened. Anything else you can play through a lot of times. This I couldn’t. I tried and I just couldn’t be the player — I like to hit and forecheck and do the things necessary in order to win the hard minutes of the game.

“So when that kind of got taken away now I had to rely more on my positional play and trying not to hurt the team, instead of trying to help the team it felt like. That bothered me a lot as a player just because I knew I could give more, I just physically couldn’t.”

Now Foligno is 100 percent healthy after a long offseason following Toronto’s first round exit in the playoffs and won’t be expected to carry a heavy load with newfound depth and the Perfection Line taking center stage for the Black and Gold. Instead Foligno will be counted on for leadership, sandpaper, tough interior play around the net and the occasional goal as a veteran third line player that’s been a 31-goal scorer at the NHL level previously in his career.

“I’m looking forward to building relationships with all these guys and showing them that I’m here to push the same direction as everybody else. How bad did I want it? My work ethic. I think all those things, you have to build the trust of a team before you can act like a leader,” said Foligno, at his introductory zoom call with the Boston Bruins media. “That’s something that I enjoy. I enjoy building relationships so guys can trust you and know that you’re in the trenches with them. I look forward to doing that with this group. I like that part of the game. It’s something that I feel like I thrive in, is having that voice or that work ethic and lead by example.

“Listen, there is no shortage of leaders on that hockey club. It’s a reason why I joined. I wanted to learn from a guy like Patrice and Marchy and the list goes on of that team. I’m looking forward to being around those guys and absorbing what they do and the recipe for having success they’ve had. And try to add to it and also take some stuff in my game and try to help the team even more.”

Provided Foligno can stay relatively healthy as he approaches his NHL middle age years, everything else should fall into place for a veteran guy that’s going to be a natural fit with the Bruins.

*The NHL sent out on Thursday their COVID protocols for the 2021-22 NHL season that will pretty harshly deal with unvaccinated players, and amazingly Boston Bruins D-man Connor Clifton sent out a message on social media that he contracted COVID on his honeymoon. Wishing the best for him for both his health and navigating an angry wife that wasn’t looking for this during the honeymoon. (Boston Hockey Now)

*With NHL players headed to the Olympics George Richards takes a look at which Florida Panthers might be headed to Beijing for the Winter Games. (Florida Hockey Now)

*Similarly, Dan Kingerski takes a look at Mike Sullivan and his coaching staff for Team USA as they get ready for the Olympics. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke ranks the top prospects at the defensemen and goaltending positions for the Boston Bruins. (New England Hockey Journal)

*I know this isn’t Jaromir Jagr, but I really, really, really wish this was Jaromir Jagr with an amazing story to tell when he finally finished skating.

*In case you’ve missed it, we’re hiring writers in a number of different NHL markets at National Hockey Now. So check it out!

*Tim Horton’s raised over $200,000 for the Hockey is Hers campaign with a Hockey Barbie campaign. That is pretty awesome. (Tim Hortons)

*The Anaheim Ducks could be worth watching in this trade market as a team with some interesting names part with. Ryan Getzlaf could be a difference-maker for a playoff hopeful at the NHL trade deadline. (SI.com)

*For something completely different: Tom Brady is awarded the TKO for crushing Mike Vrabel with this harsh, merciless trash talk.

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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Rick W Murray

Horrible horrible free agent pickup I’ve heard of scoring droughts but this guy’s been stuck in The Mojave Desert for what seems like an eternity. He’ll play a couple of game look slightly out of place then go LTD forever.

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