Some six months away from the puck dropping on the 2016-17 season, the Bruins have plenty of time to lick their wounds, both metaphorically and physically. The most serious of the latter, GM Don Sweeney confirmed on Thursday, is a hip injury David Krejci soon will have surgically repaired.
“He’s got an FAI,’’ said Sweeney, referring to a femoracetabular impingement, similar to a condition the 29-year-old veteran center had fixed some six years ago. “He needs to go in and have the surgery to repair that.’’
Sweeney, meeting with the media for the first time since the Bruins were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday, added that winger Matt Beleskey “had a hand injury that he’s taking care of, “and that defenseman Torey Krug continued to monitor a sometimes nagging shoulder injury.
‘’There’s a possibility there as well,’’ said Sweeney, referring to potential surgery for Krug, who is a restricted free agent. “A strong possibility.’’
Chris Kelly, whose season was cut short by a broken leg in November, continues to recover. According to Sweeney, the unrestricted free agent hopes to be given ‘’a clean bill of health’’ next month. With his deal, and $3 million cap hit, now expired, Kelly is among the club’s free agents Sweeney said he would consider bringing back, although Kelly almost certainly would have to take a substantial cut in pay.
“There was a void there with Chris not being part of our locker room,’’ said Sweeney, earlier referring to the veteran winger’s “glue’’ quality. “Claude and I had a lot of talks about that. Sometimes, those guys, it’s not necessarily the stat line always, but there’s some glue there that you do miss when he’s not [in the lineup] — he’s a little underappreciated in that regard.’’
Whatever his regrets, Sweeney said his moves at the trade deadline, specifically holding on to Loui Ericksson, aren’t among them. He felt the club as constituted, including Ericksson at the wing, could slip into the playoffs — and those chances were bettered by the additions of Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles.
“We weren’t a complete team, per se, but we were a team that was well-positioned to be in the playoffs,’’ said Sweeney. “Loui was having a fantastic year . . . and was a big part of our success to that point. I’ve never discussed what may or may not have been thrown our way [as a trade offer]. There’s been a heck of a lot of speculation in that regard, but they’re not getting it from me.
“This team at that time deserved the opportunity to have players to add to our group. We needed to. And in Lee’s case, he had a very good year and went in and for the most part fit well into the [Patrice] Bergeron-[Brad] Marchand line and gave us some secondary scoring. John-Michael [Liles] had an unfortunate ankle [injury] that kind of hurt us a little bit at a key time coming down the stretch. We had identified that we could probably have a little experience and move the puck a little cleaner, those are why those additions were made.’’
His Hub of hockey
Up until Sweeney announcing that Claude Julien would be back as coach, rumors ran rampant in Ottawa all week he would snapped up by the Senators as coach if the Bruins cut him free. Julien grew up in the Ottawa suburbs and speaks French, further adding to his value in the nation’s bilingual capital city.
Julien wasn’t oblivious to the rumors, but was clear about his desire to stay put in the Hub of Hockey.
“Do I still have the ear of the dressing room? Are they still hearing?’’ said Julien, recounting his self-assessment the last few days. “By the time I was done with my evaluation, when I met with Don on Sunday morning, I [wanted] to be here. I want to bring this team back to where we once had it and I know that there’s some bumps along the way.
“I’m going to be honest with you, would it have been easier for me to go somewhere else and say, ‘Oh geez, I’m going to go somewhere fresh and start?’ That’s not what I want. To me, this organization’s been good to me, they’ve been loyal to me. I love this city, I love our fans, I love just the environment here.
“You want to be somewhere where people are really passionate about the game and there’s a lot of people here, including players, that have helped me become the coach that I am, and I don’t want to be that guy that bails just because all of a sudden you hit a bump in the road. I want to be that guys that perseveres.
“And things that went through my mind is, you know, it’s OK to be remembered right now to be the winningest coach in Bruins history, but I’d rather be remembered for a guy who had enough character to go back to the trenches and dig his heels in and help turn this organization around — versus the other way that could have been.’’
The ticket line
Moments before the news conference began just after 10 a.m., season ticket-holders received an e-mail from the Bruins, apprising them Julien had been retained as coach. Season ticket-holders still have weeks to renew for 2016-17, with offseason moves often critical in a fan’s decision whether to buy in for a new season. Retaining Julien no doubt will influence some to bail, placing some extra pressure on management to make deals and free agent signings that will reinvigorate fan interest . . . Sweeney sounded as if Danton Heinen, the University of Denver sophomore forward signed this week and assigned to AHL Providence, will need a couple of years of minor pro seasoning before getting a shot at the varsity. But with a team bereft of goal finishers, the 20-year-old from Langley, B.C., could get a shot at the varsity. He likely is a candidate to be here in July when the Bruins hold their annual development camps for draft picks and prospects . . . Had they made the cut, the Bruins would have opened their postseason run Thursday night in Washington. But with the season finished, the TD Garden floor was all dressed up for basketball, awaiting for the Celtics to come home to face Atlanta in Games 3 and 4 of their first-round series.