Bruins Notebook

Boychuk struck in head

Wayward shot fells defenseman

By Kevin Paul Dupont
Globe Staff / February 7, 2010

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Rookie defenseman Johnny Boychuk was struck down on his third shift yesterday with 8:22 gone in the first period and the Canucks spread out around the box on a power play (and Matt Hunwick off for holding).

Fronting the left post, Boychuk buckled to the ice when Mikael Samuelsson’s rising one-time slapper smacked him on the head, just under the helmet near the left eye. His blood pooling in Tuukka Rask’s crease, Boychuk lay belly-down and motionless, save for his right leg, which he kept flexing as a means to deal with the pain.

“The only thing I know is, he’s at the hospital and he’s being looked at,’’ coach Claude Julien said after Boston’s 3-2 shootout loss. “The severity of it, I don’t know. He got the puck on the side of the head there, so basically that’s all I know.’’

After some on-ice attention from trainer Don Del Negro, the 26-year-old Boychuk was able to get to his feet and make his way to the dressing room, as Del Negro continued to press a bandage on the rookie’s forehead.

The loss of Boychuk left the Bruins with five blue liners: Zdeno Chara, Dennis Wideman, Adam McQuaid, Derek Morris, and Hunwick. Wideman and Chara each finished with more than 30 minutes of ice time. Morris and Hunwick logged nearly 24 each. McQuaid finished with 13:23.

Andrew Ference, sidelined since the start of January with a groin injury, skated in the warmup but did not suit up. He has been officially activated on the roster, while Mark Stuart (finger surgery) has been placed on IR.

“I think there is some experience missing back there,’’ said Julien.

“When you don’t have that, to me, a defenseman is like a quarterback on a football team. If you’ve got guys moving the puck well, your offense benefits from it as well.’’

Julien added that Ference, who was on the club’s flight to Montreal, possibly could return to the lineup in today’s matinee.

“He’s a possibility,’’ said Julien. “He’s getting better and better. I’d say he’s a good possibility.’’

Slight power surge
Some of the numbers have been looking up for the embattled Bruins. They finished 2 for 6 on the power play and have at least one power-play goal in each of their last four games (6 for 25, 24 percent). And although they have struggled to put pucks in the net, they also have outshot the opposition in each of the last eight games. “I don’t think we sat back at all,’’ said Julien. “We kept going at these guys and we had some real good quality chances.’’

Rest area ahead
Following today’s visit to Montreal, the Bruins have only three games before the league shuts down for the two-week Olympic tournament . . . Savard had an outstanding afternoon at the faceoff dot, winning 13 of 17 drops (76 percent) . . . Wideman picked up a minus-1, dropping him to a club-worst minus-16. At one point on a Boston power play, a leather lung in the upper bowl bellowed, “Someone please get Wideman off the ice!’’ . . . Milan Lucic was a minus-2 and now stands minus-8 for the season . . . Tim Thomas likely will get the start today, but it wouldn’t be astonishing for Julien to go back to Rask. The coach praised the young goalie’s work after the loss.

Getting punchy
Shawn Thornton hooked up in the day’s only bout, exchanging shots with Darcy Hordichuk out of a first-period faceoff. Hordichuk got in the better of the blows, but Thornton was still standing in the end and resisted the temptation to deliver a righthanded smack to the fallen Hordichuk. A show of honor and respect for the code . . . Curt Schilling, spectator, had his jowly mug flashed on the big screen over center ice. Perfect opportunity to play the “Flintstones’’ theme over the PA, but the folks in game entertainment obviously thought better of it.

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