BRIGHTON, MA – For those wondering what has at least partially factored into the Boston Bruins callup of 6-foot-5 center Joona Koppanen from Providence, it’s related to an upper body injury that Tomas Nosek is playing through that’s altering his ability to take faceoffs.
Nosek missed a couple of games headed into the Winter Classic with an undisclosed injury and is being moved to right wing for the time being with the Boston Bruins looking to avoid the winger taking draws right now. It’s a testament to Nosek’s value as a penalty killer and a fourth line presence and obviously a statement on the Czech center’s toughness as well while gutting it out to keep playing for the Black and Gold.
“One, he’s a really tough player,” said Montgomery, when asked why Nosek continues to keep playing through the injury that’s keep him from playing his natural center position. “And he’s been a huge part of our success. He builds our game really well from our goal line right through to their goal line. We think he’s invaluable so that’s why [he keeps playing]…he’s at no risk at getting further injured so there’s no worry there.”
Nosek has three goals and seven points in 38 games this season for the Boston Bruins and has a plus-5 rating while averaging 12:32 of ice time.
Instead the 24-year-old Koppanen will center Nick Foligno and Nosek in his NHL debut on Thursday night against the Seattle Kraken, and give the Boston Bruins a left-handed faceoff specialist after performing well on draws at the AHL level. Koppanen’s ability to play a strong center position was the main reason why dependable, physical veteran winger Chris Wagner was sent back down to Providence following the three-game road swing through California where he performed well while slotted into the lineup.