Updates on Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews, no suspension for Johnny Boychuk, Joe Sakic on his club’s plans with the first overall pick, and an update on NHL participation in the Sochi Winter Olympics.
BOSTON GLOBE: The status of Bruins center Patrice Bergeron for Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final tonight in Boston remains uncertain. Bergeron left Game Five and was taken to a hospital in Chicago for observation, leading to speculation over the nature of his injury. Bruins coach Claude Julien claimed Bergeron was “day-to-day” with a “body” injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s suspected Bergeron may have either injured his ribs or an internal organ (spleen? kidney?), though obviously the Bruins won’t elaborate. Whatever the injury is, it’ll be a significant blow for the Bruins if Bergeron can’t play tonight. If he does, his effectiveness could be hampered by this injury. Obviously, we’ll have to await the end of the Stanley Cup Final to discover the truth behind Bergeron’s injury.
CHICAGO SUN TIMES: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said captain Jonathan Toews was doing much better and was expected to play in Game Six tonight in Boston. Toews was benched in the third period of Game Five after suffering an “upper body injury” (suspected concussion) from a hit by Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could give the Blackhawks an edge over the Bruins if Toews can play but Bergeron is sidelined. The Blackhawks were a noticeably different team in the third period of Game Five with Toews sidelined, and if he’s shaken off the effect of that injury, it’ll provide their offense with a significant boost.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk won’t receive supplemental discipline for his high hit on Jonathan Toews.
DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche executive VP of hockey operations Joe Sakic denied speculation he was “bluffing” when he stated last week his club could pass over defenseman Seth Jones in favor of Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin or Alexander Barkov with the first overall pick in the upcoming NHL Draft. Provided, of course, they don’t trade the pick first.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Avalanche retain the pick (and at this point, I believe they will), they’ll get a terrific young player in MacKinnon, Drouin or Barkov. I suspect, however, they’ll either shop for blueline depth or try to land a free agent defenseman or two. If they’re going to pass over Jones, they still need to bolster their blueline.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: cited a recent report from CBC’s Elliotte Friedman claiming the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has agreed to cover insurance costs for NHL players participating in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While other issues remains to be sorted out to ensure NHL participation in the Sochi Games, I expect these will be sorted out before the end of August.