Bruins feeling injury squeeze

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

BOSTON -- The playoff march of the beat-up Boston Bruins is starting to resemble that famous Spirit of '76 painting with the three battered colonists on fife and drums, marching off to fight the British.

Just throw black and gold sweaters on the trio and you've got Marc Savard, Chuck Kobasew and Patrice Bergeron, all key elements to the B's, but whose status for games in April is up in the air.

On top of the bad news that Eastern Conference assist leader Savard has a cracked bone in his back, specifically a transverse process, Kobasew emerged from the medical room on crutches yesterday with a fractured left foot. One of two 20-goal scorers on the defence-first Bruins, Kobasew was hit by teammate Zdeno Chara's shot in the opener of the home-and-home with the Maple Leafs and will be out up to six weeks.

Savard will be re-evaluated in the next few days and, while Bergeron passed a neurological exam on Wednesday, he still has to get through some full-contact practices before getting clearance to play. He has been out since Oct. 27 with a concussion.

The Bruins are closing in on 330 man-games lost to injury, having surpassed last year's total of 162 at the halfway point of the NHL season. Yet, Boston is closing in on its first playoff spot since the lockout.

"It's a credit to the guys," coach Claude Julien said. "There are things you can control and things you can't. We asked them from Day 1 to put the excuses away."

NOT AT RINK

Savard wasn't at the rink yesterday morning, but his injury is not expected to be long-term.

The glum Kobasew, meanwhile, waited in vain all day Wednesday for the pain to subside after being struck at the top of his skate boot by one of the league's hardest shooters.

"Sometimes you just get hit in the wrong spot," Kobasew said.

Bergeron can see the light at the end of the tunnel after passing his latest round of tests. He will wear a specially padded helmet when he does return.

"It took me five months of headaches and nausea, but I'm symptom-free," he said. "It just proves that hockey is my life."

Two other Bruins are scratched, defenceman Andrew Alberts with a concussion and defenceman Andrew Ference with a knee sprain.


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