NHL notes: Bruins get good news on Boychuk
|Johnny Boychuk of the Boston Bruins and Arron Asham of the Pittsburgh Penguins collide in the third period on April 3, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Elsa/Getty Images/AFP)
The Boston Bruins breathed a collective sigh of relief Thursday.
Defenceman Johnny Boychuk, hurt during Tuesday's loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, likely won't need much time to recover from what was diagnosed as a mild sprain of his left knee. He's listed as day-to-day, according to Bruins coach Claude Julien.
"It's good news," Julien said after the Bruins' pre-game skate in Ottawa.
Boychuk's injury originally looked severe. He needed help getting off the ice after a knee-on-knee collision with Penguins forward Aron Asham.
It's probable that the Bruins will hold Boychuk out for their regular-season finale, even if he is healthy enough before then. The Bruins will likely play Game 1 next Thursday, giving Boychuk a full week to heal.
The news wasn't so good for concussed forward Nathan Horton, who skated for the first time in two months Wednesday.
"Don't read too much into it," Julien said. "He just started skating. It's still a situation that he's still not even close to where you guys might think it is."
EKBLAD TOP ROOKIE
The Ontario Hockey League's youngest player was named its top rookie for 2011-12 Thursday.
Defenceman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts, who just turned 16 in February, was named winner of the Emms Family Award as rookie of the year, beating out Kitchener Rangers forward Radek Faksa and London Knights forward Max Domi. Ekblad had 70 points in voting done by the league's general managers, while Faksa had 55 points and Domi 26.
Ekblad was allowed to enter the OHl a year early after being granted exceptional player status. The Belle River, Ont., native had 10 goals and 19 assists in 63 games to become just the award since it was first presented in 1973.
"Going through the exceptional player process last season was stressful but playing this year, I have no regrets," Ekblad said. "We have a great staff (in Barrie) and just a great team that helped me out along the way and we had a successful year."
Ekblad was joined on the all-rookie first team by Faksa, wingers Nick Ritchie of the Peterborough Petes and Connor Brown of the Erie Otters, defenceman Olli Maatta of the London Knights and goalie Daniel Altshuller of the Oshawa Generals. Domi, wingers Jason Dickinson of the Guelph Storm and Stephen Nosad of the Petes, defencemen Trevor Carrick of the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors and Darnell Nurse of the Sault Greyhounds and goalie Spencer Martin of the Majors made up the second team.
Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter should be ready for the start of the playoffs, provided his team actually makes it in. Carter skated briefly Thursday but is unlikely to play before the playoffs begin ... Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Nicklas Grossman will probably play Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Grossman, who will play with braces on both knees, has been out since being hurt last week against Pittsburgh ... Penguins forwards James Neal and Steve Sullivan and defenceman Matt Niskanen didn't dress for Thursday's game against the New York Rangers. All three could also miss Saturday's finale but coach Dan Bylsma expects them to be ready for the start of the playoffs.