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Bruins Breakup Day Recap: Injury Updates and Free Agency Outlook

Two days after being eliminated from the postseason by the New York Islanders in Game 6, the Bruins’ breakup day and end-of-season media availability took place this morning. In total, 23 players spoke to the media over the span of four hours and 20 minutes. The only players not to speak to the media were Jaroslav Halak, Ondrej Kase, John Moore, Trent Frederic, Karson Kuhlman, and Jack Studnicka. Here’s what we learned about injuries, plus insight into the mindsets of the pending UFAs and RFAs.

Tuukka Rask Will Have Surgery For Torn Labrum But Wants to Return

Perhaps the player Bruins fans were the most anxious to hear from today was Tuukka Rask. Not only is he a pending UFA, but it was common knowledge that he was playing through an injury that he said he would talk about today. It was long suspected to still be the hip or back injury that had been ailing him since March, and that turned out to be the case.

The injury is expected to keep him out until January or February of next year. Rask also said his back seized up as a result of trying to compensate for his hip injury, to the point where he couldn’t walk for a week.

As for his future, Rask made it clear that he has no interest in leaving Boston and said that he wants to keep playing. He also spoke about wanting to be there for the Bruins’ young goalies, which he’d alluded to in the past.

Unless you’re one of the numerous Rask-hating psychos out there (about which Rask spoke, which you can find here), this is welcome news. Even though I had a feeling he’d keep playing, I was definitely worried that Wednesday night was the last we’d see of Rask. But, as long as everything goes well with his surgery and recovery, it seems to be all but a guarantee that Rask will be back in the black and gold next season. My guess is they’ll wait at least until after the expansion draft to put pen to paper. It may even a bit beyond that to see how Rask recovers. But, I’m nearly certain it will get done at some point.

Numerous Other Players Spoke About Rask

On top of Rask himself speaking, several other players spoke about him playing through injury and the amount of unwarranted criticism he receives. Here’s what they had to say.

Hall Wants to Stay in Boston, Willing to Take Less to Do So

Taylor Hall said today that he hasn’t been dealing with any injuries, contrary to what were already widely assumed to be false reports. He then reiterated what he has said numerous times since being traded to the Bruins at the deadline: he really wants to stay in Boston, and he is willing to take less to do so.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Like I said earlier, this isn’t the first time Hall has said these things. But, it’s still great to hear him continue to say it because he has been excellent during his time in Boston. Because of that, and his willingness to take a discount, I don’t see any reason why a deal doesn’t get done. I assume it will be after the expansion draft on July 21st so the Bruins don’t have to protect him, but I doubt it’ll be long after. They have plenty of time to agree to a deal between now and then and then just put pen to paper after the 21st. 

David Krejci Only Wants to Play For Bruins, But Not Sure of Future

One of the other big UFAs for the Bruins this summer is David Krejci. When asked about his status, Krejci revealed that he only wants to play in Boston. But, he will take a few weeks and talk with his family before making any decisions.

While Krejci wouldn’t give any definite answers about his future, it seems as though he’ll be back next year. He later said that his next deal won’t be about money, and since he’s thinking about that, it means he’s fairly certain he’ll be back next year. He just seems like a guy who’s exhausted and wants to spend some time with his family, which is completely understandable, and that’s why he wouldn’t give any concrete answers.

Mike Reilly Already Having Talks With Bruins

Mike Reilly spoke a bit about his contract status today, and unlike the other Bruins, he revealed that he’s already had talks with the team.

Reilly was a great fit after coming over from the Senators at the deadline, and given the fact that he’s already having contract talks, I think it’s safe to say they’re both motivated to get a deal done. So, I expect to see one, but likely not until after the expansion draft so he doesn’t have to be protected.

Miller Concussed on Orlov Hit, Uncertain About Future

Kevan Miller has not had an easy time these past few years. He returned to the Bruins this season after missing a year and a half due to several different knee injuries and subsequent surgery but continued to be hit by the injury bug. First, it was his surgically repaired knee acting up, then he had an infection in his foot, and last but not least he was concussed by the Washington Capitals’ Dmitry Orlov in the first round of the playoffs. Regarding the hit, here’s what Miller had to say.

Miller went on to say that he most likely would’ve been cleared for Game 7. He then gave some insight into his future, and here’s what he had to say.

It won’t be surprising if Miller decides to hang up the skates given all the injuries he’s dealt with over the past few years. But, at the same time, I can also see him wanting to continue playing. I’m conflicted as to what I want him to do. On the one hand, he seems to constantly be out of the lineup due to something, which is hard to count on. But, on the other, the Bruins were better this year when Miller was in the lineup. His physicality and leadership really helped a young Bruins defense. If he was willing to come back for around league minimum in a seventh defenseman role, I’d like to see him back. 

In the end, my biggest hope is that he does what is best for him and his family, regardless of what that might be, as that’s what matters most.

Carlo Not Worried About Long-Term Health

Brandon Carlo didn’t say exactly what was ailing him after the Cal Clutterbuck hit. He said that he feels perfectly fine off the ice, but would get dizzy when skating. Carlo also made sure to say that he has no issues with the Clutterbuck hit whatsoever, calling it a “great hit.” When asked whether or not he was concerned for his long-term health given how many head injuries he’s had over his short career, Carlo had this to say:

Carlo also said that, unlike most players, he doesn’t want to take a break. He’s frustrated with how this season went with injuries, so he wants to start training immediately and hit the ground running next year. He’s an RFA with arbitration rights this summer, and while that wasn’t addressed at all in the Zoom, I think it’s safe to say he’ll be back, likely on a long-term deal.

Craig Smith Played Through Groin Injury

Next up on the list of injured Bruins was Craig Smith, who revealed that he was dealing with a groin injury, which kept him out of Game 2. Luckily, he will not need surgery this summer. 

In addition to speaking about his injury, Smith revealed that he plans on staying in Boston for at least a few more weeks to explore the city. 

Then, when asked about both his linemates being UFAs this summer, Smith had this to say.

Steven Kampfer Tore Wrist Ligament, Unsure About Future

Steven Kampfer also spoke to the media today about his hand injury, which was a torn wrist ligament. Here’s what he had to say about it:

On top of the injury, Kampfer was asked about his future. Specifically, he was asked about the reports that he’d signed a deal with a team in the KHL.

I’m honestly not sure what will happen with Kampfer. If he wants consistent playing time, it’d be smart for him to look over the KHL, or maybe to a rebuilding team in the NHL. But, if he wants to stay in the NHL and he’s not concerned about playing time, I can see him coming back in the same role he had this year. He’s an excellent seventh defenseman and was always ready to play. But, that being said, the Bruins don’t really need him anymore, particularly if Miller returns in that role. So, it’s pretty much a toss-up as to what happens with him this offseason.

Lazar Suffered a Sprained MCL

Curtis Lazar revealed today that he sprained his MCL and bruised his ACL, which was better than they initially feared.

Luckily, he will not need surgery this offseason.

Wagner Gets Candid About Mental Health

Chris Wagner also spoke to the media today. He didn’t have any injuries to talk about, but he did get candid about mental health.

It’s nice to hear Wagner open up about this because I’m sure he is far from the only one who felt this way. He’d previously spoken about these issues and revealed that he’d deleted social media because of it. Hopefully, he can get back into a good headspace this season, because he deserves it.

Offseason Surgery Still Bothered Marchand Until Recently

During his media availability today, Marchand was asked about the sports hernia he had surgery for this offseason.

It’s absolutely crazy that Marchand was not at 100% and played at the pace he did this year. Not only did he finish third in scoring as Matt Porter said, but according to Amalie Benjamin of NHL.com, he also played at the highest point per game pace of his career (1.30). If that was Marchand not at 100%, I cannot wait to see what he can do next year.

Jeremy Lauzon Had Hand Surgery During First Round

Jeremy Lauzon revealed today that he had surgery on his hand after Game 1 of the Bruins’ first-round series versus Washington. He had been playing with a splint since.

I hope this stops some people from firing Lauzon into the sun after a good regular-season but rough playoffs. It turns out there was a reason for that after all, which, had people been reasonable, they would’ve concluded on their own!

No Discussions Yet Between Kuraly, Bruins

Sean Kuraly was asked about his pending UFA status during his media availability and revealed that there had been no discussions yet between him and the Bruins. He went on to talk about his time in Boston.

I would be surprised to see Kuraly back in Boston next year. He didn’t have a great season, and the Bruins have plenty of young guns waiting in the wings to take his spot. Despite his tough season, I hope people remember how good Kuraly was for most of his Bruins career, and I want to thank him and wish him luck wherever he goes next!

Nick Ritchie Wants to Stay

Nick Ritchie is a pending RFA, and when asked about his future and the possibility of being picked by the Seattle Kraken this summer, he made it clear that he wants to stay. 

I’m assuming that Ritchie will end up being protected this summer since it’s pretty much either him or Trent Frederic, who isn’t a big risk to expose. So, I have a feeling that a fair deal for both sides will get done.

Final Thoughts

To say that a lot of information came out today would be a massive understatement. So would saying the Bruins were banged up these playoffs. Thankfully, all of the pending free agents expressed a desire to stay in Boston. Many even said they’ll be willing to take less to do so. That should make GM Don Sweeney’s life easier this offseason, and the lives of Bruins fans less stressful. I doubt we’ll see any signing between now and the expansion draft unless it’s one of the RFAs (who will have to be protected anyway or risk exposure). But, once that’s over, I bet we’ll see a flurry of deals.

For more coverage of today’s end-of-season media availability, head over to the Twitter feeds of Conor Ryan, Amalie Benjamin, Ty Anderson, Evan Marinofsky, and Matt Porter (or any other Bruins’ beat writer), as they were covering the whole thing.

-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)

Featured image courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images.

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