Krejci out for short-handed Bruins

Updated: May 7, 2010, 1:08 AM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

PHILADELPHIA -- David Krejci is a tough hockey player.

Krejci
Krejci

So when the Boston Bruins centerman suffered a season-ending wrist injury in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, you know it wasn't good.

The Bruins released a statement late Thursday morning indicating Krejci dislocated his wrist and had surgery to repair the damage following the game at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. Dr. Thomas Graham, who is the surgeon-in-chief at the hospital, performed the procedure. Graham is on the Flyers' staff and was in attendance when Krejci was injured. Graham, who also worked with Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz when he suffered a wrist injury two seasons ago, drove with Krejci to the hospital.

Krejci was on the receiving end of a clean open-ice hit by the Flyers' Mike Richards in the first period on Wednesday. He was clearly shaken up on the play and made it to the bench on his own before leaving for good.

"We were fortunate enough to have one of the best hand surgeons in the country, is what I've been told, on hand here yesterday," Bruins coach Claude Julien said Thursday. "He works out of Baltimore, he lives there and was nice enough to bring David back with him and do the surgery last night.

"He's been really good for David and our team. I thought it was nice for him to do it that way. We were fortunate enough to have him on hand."

Prior to the injury, Krejci had four goals and four assists for eight points in nine playoff games.

"It's obviously a huge loss for us," Bruins forward Marc Savard said. "He's had such a good playoffs up to this point. We'll have to get someone who will step up as good as he can."

With Krejci out of the lineup, Julien was forced to mix and match his line combinations, especially on special teams. Fortunately for the Bruins, they finished with a 4-1 victory Wednesday and have a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Flyers.

"Anytime you lose a good player, it certainly has an impact on your team," Julien said. "That's why you expect other guys to step up and replace him. ... I think we'll make the best of it. It is what we've been dealt with, and it's up to us to find the right solution."

Time and again during the regular season the Bruins faced adversity through a slew of injuries to key players. Even now in the postseason, Boston has lost Krejci and Marco Sturm (knee) to injuries.

"This is another test for us that we're going to have to overcome," Bruins forward Milan Lucic said. "He's a big-time player for us. He plays a lot of minutes. He's on the penalty kill, power play and has a lot of offensive skills and he's a threat. It's a big loss for us, but it's something we've dealt with all season long. We have a little bit of experience playing without key guys in the lineup."

Bruins players sounded disheartened by the loss of Krejci on Thursday, especially because of the two-way hockey and offensive explosion he provides.

"It's very tough. He's an unbelievable hockey player and he will be missed," Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton said. "A guy like him is tough, almost impossible, to replace."

With Krejci out of the lineup, either Brad Marchand or Trent Whitfield will be asked to step in and fill that open spot.

"This is what we've been staying in shape for," said Whitfield, who participated in the team's optional skate Thursday afternoon at Wachovia Center. "Whether it's Marchy or myself who gets the call, we feel like we're ready to contribute anyway that we can."

"We haven't played in a month, so it's always tough to get back into it," Marchand said. "But the way we've been practicing, working hard off the ice, we're in great physical shape right now. If the time comes, we'll be ready."

Julien says he'll wait until Friday to make a decision on who replaces Krejci, and he will likely have a decision to make on the blue line as well.

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was also injured in the first period of Game 3. He suffered a "lower-body" injury and is doubtful for Game 4, according to Julien. McQuaid is listed as day-to-day.

Julien said he hasn't received clearance from the medical staff on whether defenseman Mark Stuart (hand infection) will be able to return to game action. He has been skating for more than a week and the coach is certain Stuart will be ready to go once the decision is made.

"He's good enough that we could throw him in there if we needed to. Again, it's a situation where we'll make a decision tomorrow," Julien said. "Obviously, we've got some defensemen who are logging a lot of minutes right now and they're capable of doing it. It's up to us to make that decision whether we feel [Stuart] is ready to handle the minutes we want to give him."

Stuart, who has been out since April 2 with a nasty infection in his hand, skated Thursday afternoon and believes he's ready to go.

"Anytime a guy goes down it's unfortunate, especially in the playoffs," Stuart said. "He was playing really well. I hope it's me, but if it's not, we've got some other guys who can step in and play really well."

Also, defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (out since April 3 with lacerated forearm) had his cast removed Monday and was told by doctors it will take another four weeks of rehab before he can return to action. He's been working out with the team's strength and conditioning coach, John Whitesides, and hopes to be back sooner that expected.

The Bruins are not about to let this latest setback to their lineup affect their goal of advancing in the Stanley Cup playoffs. A win in Game 4 and Boston will move on to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1992.

"We're not rattled. We've seen it before. We've dealt with it before and it's just a matter of staying the course, understanding what needs to be done," Julien said. "Whoever you have in your lineup needs to step up and do that job. We're good when we are a team and that's what we have to keep doing, no matter who we put in there."

Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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