Boston Herald

Derek Forbort expected to miss rest of regular season

Tough luck for valuable D-man

- By Steve Conroy sconroy@bostonhera­

Bruins’ management knew it needed to shore up its defensive depth for the playoffs. It is already being tested.

Coach Jim Montgomery said on Tuesday that penalty kill workhorse Derek Forbort is not expected to return before the end of the regular season.

The exact nature of Forbort’s injury has not been detailed by the club, but the defenseman left the March 16 game in Winnipeg when he blocked a shot on the PK. The puck appeared to catch Forbort on the right foot or ankle, where there is no padding. If it’s a broken bone, the usual timeline for such an injury is four-tosix weeks, the front half of which would bring him to the start of the playoffs. The post-season is scheduled to begin on April 17.

The good news is that Forbort will not require surgery, said Montgomery.

All hockey players’ jobs are hazardous, but it is especially true for a player like Forbort, who makes a good part of his living on the PK, requiring him to eat a lot of pucks. He leads the team in blocked shots per 60 minutes at 5.51 and is tied with PK tandem mate Brandon Carlo for the team lead in kill time at 3:08.

This is the second extended stay on the shelf for Forbort. After getting hit on the hand with a puck in Pittsburgh on Nov. 1, he missed most of the month with a broken finger which did require surgery. …

Forward March

Speaking of depth, the B’s appear to be getting closer to full strength in the forward corps. Taylor Hall, out since Feb. 25 with a lower body injury he suffered in Vancouver, skated with the team in the club’s morning skate, albeit in a red non-contact jersey. Nick Foligno, out since suffering a leg injury in Calgary on Feb. 28, skated on his own before the team skate.

Montgomery continued to paint their potential availabili­ty in vague terms.

“They’re checking boxes, they’re progressin­g well but there’s no timeline for us yet,” said the coach.

Where they eventually fit will be up to Montgomery, who said he hasn’t started going through those machinatio­ns in his mind. While most coaches would salivate over the kind of depth that the B’s now have up front, it is a jigsaw puzzle he’ll have to piece together.

Montgomery is more than fine with that.

“I don’t think it’s a problem. It’s a great situation,” said Montgomery. “You get to see, when they get back, who plays with who. A deep lineup is going to get even deeper, It’s a great problem to have.”

If everyone’s healthy — always a big if (see Forbort) — someone undeservin­g is going to come out of the lineup. It’s a good bet that they’d both go back in the bottom six with Foligno most likely headed to the fourth line left wing with Tomas Nosek and Garnet Hathaway. As well as the relatively inexperien­ced A.J. Greer and Jakub Lauko have played, that would appear to be a fairly easy switch.

But the third line of Tyler Bertuzzi-Charlie CoyleTrent Frederic has been very good, giving the B’s a true, heavy line that can pop in some goals. Montgomery could shift Bertuzzi to the right wing and drop in Hall at the left wing. That would leave Frederic, who could reach the 20-goal plateau and has changed the trajectory of his career, out of the lineup.

Whether or not Frederic would be the odd man out, the rugged winger is only thinking about the positive aspect of the depth.

“It’s not really something I’m thinking about. I’m still trying to play every game and see where it goes from there,” said Frederic. “I think it’s a good thing for the hockey team. It’s only going to make us a better. Hopefully we’re going all the way and you need good depth, you need good good players, you need everyone.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the lineup, out of the lineup, whatever your case is. If you’re trying to go all the way, everyone’s going to be a part of it.” …

Coyle steps it up

As good of a 200-foot game Coyle has played all season, he has elevated his play in the offensive end lately. He’s got 1-3-4 totals in his last three games going into Tuesday. The thing that stands out to Montgomery is where he’s going with the puck these days.

“I think he’s made a more concerted effort to get inside the dots with the puck,” said Montgomery. “He’s always been a good puck protection player for us, but he takes pucks to hard areas, inside the dots, and that’s where you score goals. And he’s looking to shoot more often. He’s always had the ability to make plays and find his open teammates but I find he’s creating his own shot more now.” …


Greer and Jakub Zboril were the healthy scratches against Ottawa on Tuesday.

 ?? MATT STONE — BOSTON HERALD ?? Charlie Coyle (13), Pavel Zacha (18) and Derek Forbort (28) of the Boston Bruins watch goaltender Linus Ullmark deflect the puck during the third period of a Dec. 19, 2022 game against the Florida Panthers at the TD Garden.
MATT STONE — BOSTON HERALD Charlie Coyle (13), Pavel Zacha (18) and Derek Forbort (28) of the Boston Bruins watch goaltender Linus Ullmark deflect the puck during the third period of a Dec. 19, 2022 game against the Florida Panthers at the TD Garden.

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