By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins winger David Backes has yet to serve the second game of his three-game suspension and Bruins winger Brad Marchand missed Saturday night’s overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres with an upper-body ailment. Oh, and the Bruins enter New Year’s Day with the fourth-fewest even-strength goals in all of the National Hockey League.
They’re also playing their next game at Notre Dame Stadium as part of the 2019 NHL Winter Classic.
And Anders Bjork, who has posted one goal and 10 points in 13 games with the Providence Bruins since his demotion, played his college hockey in South Bend, and would certainly fit the bill as a player that could help spark the B’s offense.
As if life itself was indeed a movie, a call back to the NHL to play at his alma matter was seemingly the perfect plan.
Not to Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, though, it would appear.
“I think that’s too much pressure,” Cassidy said of a Bjork recall for Jan. 1. “We all know the deal with Anders. He was a terrific player for Notre Dame, but our roster is what it is. So if he comes in, what about the guys that have helped us get here? Let’s say, Colby Cave, who’s toiled and fought his way up. It’s hard to give to one and take from another. And there’s still time, I guess. We need to feel he’s one of the best 20 guys we can put on the ice. Then we’ll make that decision.”
First of all, slightly discomforting knowing that the Bruins are officially considering Colby Cave, one of the club’s billion fourth-liners and he of points in just two of his last 10 games fame, among their lineup’s untouchables right now.
And secondly, Cassidy’s roster is what is right now, yes, and that’s a group without game-breaking wingers that can generate legitimate offense, something that feels a little too obvious to even an optimist when you see centers Sean Kuraly (overtime goal or not) and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson moved into top-six winger roles.
Nevertheless, in case Cassidy’s comments were not enough, he by all means confirmed that the 22-year-old Bjork, who tallied one goal and three points in 20 NHL games this year, will not skate with the B’s at Notre Dame Stadium.
“It’s not looking that way right now,” Cassidy confirmed. “He’s doing well in Providence down there, but we’ve kind of settled on our lineup here with what we have. That’s kind of where I’m at. No, any conversations with Anders were always about how to make him a better player, to respect the American Hockey League when you’re down there and work at it every day, because a lot of players go through what he’s going through. Hopefully it works out for the best for him. I believe it will.
“He’s a good kid. He works hard. But time will tell.”
Perhaps fate didn’t want this plan to be on the table at all, though, as Bjork was reportedly injured in Sunday’s P-Bruins loss.