Bruins winger Nathan Horton returned to the ice to practice Friday afternoon at the United Center, two days after leaving Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Blackhawks with an apparent upper-body injury.
Bruins coach Claude Julien continued to list Horton as day to day and said he would make a decision today about his status for Game 2 tonight.
“It was encouraging to see him out there today,” Julien said. “And if he feels good tomorrow, he’s in the lineup. Simple as that.”
Horton skated on the top line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic for much of practice, and Julien said if Horton plays it will be in his usual role on that line. Tyler Seguin, who filled in during Game 1, would presumably take Horton’s spot should he not play.
“If he’s in tomorrow, it’s about him playing,” Julien said. “If he can’t play and I can just use him once in a while, might as well put somebody who can play the minutes. If he’s in, he’s in where he belongs.”
If Horton can’t go, the Bruins will reportedly use either Jordan Caron or Carl Soderberg on the third line with Rich Peverley and Daniel Paille. Kaspars Daugavins would drop down to the fourth line with Chris Kelly and Shawn Thornton.
Horton has been a major contributor on the Bruins’ top line with Krejci and Lucic, totaling seven goals and 11 assists and posting a league-leading plus-22 rating in the playoffs. He assisted on Lucic’s goal in the first period Wednesday.
Game 1 victory in the Stanley Cup Final is apparently not enough to satisfy Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.
NHL coaches hardly like to tinker with unbroken things come playoff time as lines are defined, but he is an obvious exception. He again changed lines at Friday’s practice the day before the Hawks host the Bruins in Game 2 at the United Center.
The most notable reward for his play in Game 1 was Brandon Saad, the rookie who broke out of a post-season scoring slump with a goal that put the Hawks on the scoreboard. He was elevated to the top line along with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.
“Regardless of what line you’re playing on you’re going to come to the rink and do your job and work hard, especially at this stage this late in the season,” Saad said. “To be on this line helps out. Those are great players. We played pretty much the whole year together so the chemistry developed.”
Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean was named NHL coach of the year on Friday, as the league announced a number of award winners.
MacLean won the Jack Adams Award by accumulating 206 voting points, including 28 first-place votes, in the balloting by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association. Quenneville was second with 22 first-place votes and 160 points, and former Manchester Monarchs coach Bruce Boudreau of the Anaheim Ducks was third with six first-place votes and 88 points.
MacLean guided the Senators (25-17-6) to a berth in the Stanley CupToews won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward. He beat out second-place Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings for the honor in balloting by hockey writers.Ray Shero of the Pittsburgh Penguins was named the NHL General Manager of the Year. Shero received 14 first-place votes among the 39 ballots cast from a panel of NHL executives and media. He had 94 points to win a close three-way race over Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks (88) and Marc Bergevin of the Montreal Canadiens (75).
Right wing Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” St. Louis received 47 first-place votes and 824 points. Kane was second and former Manchester Monarch Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders (741) third.Bergeron of the Boston Bruins won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice and who has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his community.”
Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson won the Mark Messier Leadership Award, which is given to “the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season.”
Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding was the recipient of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”