<
>

Boychuk diary: Dealing with broken wrist

Johnny BoychukBruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk continues his season-long diary by touching on the slight wrist fracture he suffered during Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers, how he had been playing on the same line with Zdeno Chara, the team's trip to Europe, the message being delivered to the rookies and a little advice for Halloween. (as told to Louise K. Cornetta)

I remember getting slashed by [Rangers winger] Brandon Dubinsky and that it was really painful. I went straight to the bench and then the ref asked to see me again for some odd reason. I don’t know why because it’s not like he was going to give Dubinsky a five-minute penalty when there was no cut on the wrist. Then I came back out to play and finished the period. I think it was just my second shift when the injury happened. We hadn’t even played 10 minutes yet.

So I finished the rest of the period and then I went to get my wrist X-rayed in between periods at the rink. That’s when they told me I couldn’t play anymore, I knew anyway because I could see a little break in the wrist, just a small one. I have no idea how I was able to continue playing the first period. I remember the first shift that I went back there was more or less nothing that I could see on my wrist, it just felt pretty sore.

So I just got it taped up after that shift. Then I finished the rest of the period with just my wrist being taped. I didn’t think anything of it until after we got it X-rayed and I was told I can’t play anymore. I was just like, ‘Oh, OK.’

Mentally, I’m OK, I guess. I’m happy I don’t have to have surgery or anything like that where I have to be out for a long, long period of time, but I’m not happy that I got hurt. Monday I got the cast put on, a black one for the Bruins. I’ve never had a cast before. I think I am able to get the cast changed once a week, so it shouldn’t be too bad. I can shower with it on and work out with it. Luckily, I am right-handed and it’s the left wrist.

I’m not in any pain even now. What I can do now is just try and stay positive. I will be cheering my teammates on watching from high above the rink like I did last year when I wasn’t playing to start the season. If I see anything, I’ll let them know. I’m pretty sure I can still skate, but I don’t know when I will be able to. So I think for the first couple of days, I’m just going to ride the bike. Starting maybe next week, I don’t know when, but I hope to start skating. I know I can work out and do everything else, but it’s just going to be hard to do anything with my stick.

I expect to be out approximately four weeks. It is frustrating, but I know it could be way worse. I’m just happy it’s not as bad as it could have been. You see some guys having to have surgery right at the start of the season and that’s terrible. Me being out for four weeks is better than it could have been.

On a happier note, the trip to Europe was awesome. [Editor's note: Here's the photo galleryPhoto Gallery we promised] We got to see a lot of places and experience different foods and cultures. I enjoyed seeing a different part of the world. We got to Belfast and the first thing we did was eat in a private room, which I've never done before. We walked around for a bit and had a team dinner and then went to bed as soon as possible.

The next day we went on a tour. A bunch of us did the Black Taxi tour that was more or less the whole day, then we had another team dinner. This dinner was with the mayor of Belfast, I believe they call him Lord Mayor.

The third day we had a game, but I didn't play. Those of us who didn't play instead went and checked out out Carrickfergus Castle. It was great to go and check out things like a castle. Beats sitting around the hotel room and taking a nap like we normally would do on the road.

Then in Prague all we really did was walk around the Old Town Square. It was a good place to look around because there was a lot to see and do there. The last day we were there, about 10,000 Scottish soccer fans were in the square to watch the Scottish team play. They were having fun kicking around a soccer ball and just drinking and having a good time. It was pretty funny to see 10,000 people drunk in that square chanting and trying to kick around the soccer ball.

The games were fun over there. As I said, I didn't play in Belfast, so I don't know about that one. The one against HC Liberec in the Czech Republic was pretty interesting because all the fans were chanting and there were drums being played throughout the whole game. The ones in Prague were really cool too because there was chanting. It was like a soccer game more or less over there. It really felt like a different atmosphere. After we lost that first game, it was nice to get the win the next game. At least we got a split.

We're starting to click and it's nice to see us scoring a lot of goals. Having five days in between games when we got back from Europe really helped. As soon as we got home, I went to bed at 9:30 every night for three nights then I woke up between 4 and 6 in the morning. It took a while for me to get back to a normal sleep schedule, which I'm on now.

Last time, I said my goal was to make the team. Before everything happened Saturday, I was on the team and it felt great because I had been playing with Z [Zdeno Chara]. I was happy because we were playing really well. I really enjoy playing on the same line with Z. We get to shut down the first line the opponent sends out there, well, try to at least. He's a great competitor and captain. It's fun playing with him because I've played with him enough now to know more or less where he's going to be the whole time if I need to pass over to him. I like that Z brings it every game. He likes to play physical and throw his body around. He also has that big shot too.

I got my contract this summer, so it was absolutely great to see Z and Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] get theirs recently. For those two guys, they are the epitome of being a Boston Bruin. They've been here for a while. They are the cornerstones of this team. It was great to see they will be back here for a while to come.

What is hard to see is Savy [Marc Savard] being out. He's a great guy. I just can't wait to see him back on the ice in a game. He brings that aspect of his game that we don't really have from anyone else. There's no one like him on our team that can pass to anybody at any time, anywhere you're on the ice. He also makes you smile when you're in the dressing room. He's a great player and a great teammate. Seeing him do the light skating is encouraging, just seeing him smiling and being around the guys is also good. I just like hanging around with him because he's my friend.

We have a new line called the "Energy Line" with [Gregory] Campbell, Brad Marchand, and [Shawn] Thornton. They've been doing really good because they get in deep, work the puck down low great and they can score goals. It's not like we just look to them for energy, we look to them for energy and goals. They really bring it every night. The reason they've been dubbed the "Energy Line" is because they get the puck in deep and try to hit guys, they fight, they create plays, they also do create energy.

Some others doing well are rookies Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron. They've just been trying to get used to the NHL level of game and have been doing a great job. They both can make plays and shoot the puck. Since they both already have their first goal, they obviously can score too. They deserve to be here. We tell the rookies to just play their game. We don't expect, say Tyler, to get a point or two every night. We just want him to play his game and feel comfortable here. When he has a chance to make plays, then make plays more or less.

My own rookie year [2009-10 season], what I remember about it is not playing the first 20 games. Nah, really it's starting out not playing and then getting a chance to play and never looking back. Finally, getting to play with Zdeno at the end of the year. The people that influenced me as a rookie were the coaching staff, family, girlfriend. The coaches helped me out quite a bit when I wasn't playing. All of them helped me to keep it positive.

We've had Tim Thomas get off to a great start for the us in net, Tuukka Rask as well. It's good to see Timmy playing extremely well right now. We need him to be playing like that. It gives us a chance to win with either goalie now. For the team, we don't prepare any differently because of who the goaltender is. I hadn't heard until recently that the media was fooled for our home opener and most thought Tuukka was starting. He never told them he was, but many just assumed it after our game-day skate. That was great, too funny.

Personally, before everything happened Saturday I had been enjoying having my brother in town. I've gotten to hang out with him the last couple of days. Him and his girlfriend are staying at my place. My brother is like me and likes playing video games. Yes, I can still play video games even with the bad wrist. I just have the cast on the wrist, so I still have mobility with my fingers and thumbs.

Oh, and I also wanted to answer Keith1074, who sent in a comment after my last diary asking if I play Modern Warfare online. Yes, I do. He also asked if I play SOCOM Cold Front online? No. But thanks Keith1074, I appreciate you drafting me on your fantasy team.

Halloween is coming up and I have some advice. Please, if you are giving out candy, give the full-size chocolate bars, none of these ittty bitty ones. When I think about my best costume ever, it had to be when I was Johnny Damon about five years ago. I had my long hair and grew out my beard. I'm sure the team will have a Halloween party again this year. It was actually pretty low-key last year. Nothing too crazy, just a way to get together and meet all the new guys and their families.