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Boychuk and Bruins Dodge Injury Bullet: Fan Take
The defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins received great news on the injury front on April 5, when defenseman Johnny Boychuk was diagnosed with a mild knee sprain and listed as day-to-day. In a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 3, Boychuk's knee bent in an unnatural direction during a collision with Arron Asham and the average fan response was along the lines of, "see you next year." While his status for the playoff opener is unknown, the fact that he could be back on the ice in the near future brought a collective sigh of relief to Boston.
Boychuk ranks third among Bruins' defensemen in average time on ice with 20:37 per game. He spent most of the season paired with Zdeno Chara, but now that the Chara and Dennis Seidenberg pairing has been reunited, he leads Boston's second defensive pairing. Boychuk is a big part of the team's penalty kill and would be a very tough player to replace heading into the playoffs.
Losing Boychuk would push Joe Corvo back into the top six and give the Bruins a similar obstacle to the one they faced a year ago when they tried to hide Tomas Kaberle in the sixth defenseman slot. With the addition of Brian Rolston and the return of Rich Peverley, there is little need for Corvo to contribute as a point man on the power play. Ideally, the Bruins would like to roll out defense pairings of Chara and Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Boychuk, and Adam McQuaid and Greg Zanon.
The Bruins have been locked into the number two seed in the Eastern Conference for nearly a week and they reached the 100 point mark with their win over the Ottawa Senators on April 5. McQuaid returned to the lineup against the Senators after sitting out the last week of games with a cut above his eye. That leaves Boychuk as the main health concern entering into the playoffs.
Boston has one more regular season game on Saturday, April 7 against the Buffalo Sabres. Because the Boston Celtics have a home game on the opening day of the NHL playoffs, the Bruins will likely play their first postseason game on April 12.
Douglas Flynn, "Johnny Boychuk diagnosed with mild knee sprain, is day-to-day after scary collision against Pittsburgh," April 5, 2012, NESN.com
William Menna is a native New Englander and longtime Boston sports fan.
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