Boston Bruins: Is Chris Kelly Done In Boston


Last night, the Boston Bruins lost more than just a game against the Dallas Stars. They lost a member of the 2011 Cup team, an alternate captain, and one of their most underrated players on their squad. Chris Kelly went down just 1:40 into last night’s game.  He suffered a broken leg and had surgery on it earlier today.

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Things don’t look well for Kelly. The expected rehab time is from six to eight months and it looks like he’s done for the season. When Claude Julien talked about Kelly’s injury last night, the press room had a feeling that was more funerary than athletic. The Bruins head coach was obviously somber and did his best to explain how severe the loss would be to the Bruins.

“Well, you hope we can someone compensate for his loss, but I think people are going to realize how important he is to our hockey club,” said Julien of Kelly after the game.  “And not just on the ice, but also in the dressing room. Around the team, he’s a guy that’s extremely respected by his teammates, and on the ice, he’s given us everything we’ve asked for.”

“He’s been moved around in all different positions, never says a word but just thrives on the opportunity to play in those spots that we’ve put him. So he was a very versatile player that we really counted on, so no doubt he’ll be missed.”

Chris Kelly played on every line this season except the line centered by Patrice Bergeron. He played on the center and both wings. When the Bruins were really hurting early on, Kelly would practice as a defenseman at Ristuccia Arena. He was a player that was really willing to do whatever was asked for him, and that kind of player would be hard for any NHL team to replace.

Realistically, last night’s game was likely the last NHL game Chris Kelly plays in a Boston Bruins uniform. Unless he has a phenomenal rehab (and the Bruins surprise enough people to make it into the postseason), he won’t be back on the ice in time to play another game for the Black and Gold.

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    He can be easily replaced off the ice. Maxime Talbot is not a terrible short-term filler for the team. There are enough young players in Providence who could help fill in the bottom six in Boston.  Alexander Khokhlachev could end up with that spot on the roster once David Pastrnak returns. If Khokhlachev doesn’t fit the Boston club, Providence forward Frank Vatrano could be the player that gets it done.

    His contract.  Kelly is in the final year of a four-year, twelve million dollar contract. In a tight salary cap world, it seems crazy to pay three million dollars a year for a player that is spending the majority of his time in among the bottom six forwards.  It’s highly unlikely the Bruins will pay him that kind of (‘Chiarelli contract’) money next season. (By putting him on long-term injured reserve, the B’s might find a quality replacement by the trade deadline.)

    The leadership is there in the locker room.  A lot of Boston media talk more about Kelly’s contributions off the ice than on it.  He’s a great motivator and even a supplementary coach to all the younger players. It’s rare to see Chris Kelly spewing trash talk. While he is a solid presence in the locker room, that room is full of potential leaders.  Right now, there are a few players on the roster that are equally deserving of having the ‘A’ on their jersey. Dennis Seidenberg is certainly deserving of that ‘A’. One could even make a successful case for Brad Marchand getting that letter on his sweater.

    Hopefully, Chris Kelly will have a solid rehabilitation and will prove me wrong.  Regrettably, I don’t think he will be able to.

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