Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli revealed the bad news today.
Or maybe it’s good news considering the four to six weeks Rich Peverley is scheduled to miss should allow him to return to action this season.
But Peverley, who was sent home to be examined yesterday, suffered a third-degree MCL sprain in his right knee Wednesday night in Montreal, according to Chiarelli. Peverley was hit by Canadiens defenseman Hal Gill in the third period of Boston’s 4-3 shootout win.
The Bruins are now down two top-line right wingers, as Peverley had been filling Nathan Horton’s spot on the No. 1 line. So you can expect Chiarelli to intensify his efforts to add help up front before the Feb. 27 trade deadline. He has plenty of salary-cap space, prospects and draft picks to work with. He just needs a trading partner, which can be hard to find in a NHL that features all but a handful of teams within striking distance of a playoff spot.
Dominic Moore was already dealt out of Tampa Bay, and the Washington Capitals say they’re not moving Mike Knuble. Phoenix has pulled into seventh in the West, so Ray Whitney seems like an unlikely trade asset. Boston might be best to look West toward Edmonton, where Ales Hemsky might make a nice fit. Or maybe the Bruins could convince Colorado that it’s out of the race and pry away David Jones. There’s always the Teemu Selanne option, but there are too many obstacles there — starting with Anaheim’s continued rise in the standings. You also have to convince Selanne to OK a deal and come up with the proper compensation for the Ducks for a guy who would be the ultimate rental because he might not even play beyond this season.
In the short term, the Bruins will use in-house candidates to fill in the gaps. According to several reports from this morning’s skate in Winnipeg, Benoit Pouliot skated with Milan Lucic and David Krejci, while Chris Kelly centered Daniel Paille and Jordan Caron and Josh Hennessy jumped on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.
Pittsburgh has done a remarkable job maintaining its excellence without several key players for long stretches, including nothing more than a cameo by the world’s best player, this season. Now it’s the Bruins’ turn to prove that its resiliency and depth are as strong as they often brag about.