The Boston Bruins will begin the 2016-17 season on Thursday in Columbus without three key players in the lineup because of injuries.
The Bruins announced Wednesday that forward Patrice Bergeron, along with defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller, will not travel with the team to face the Blue Jackets in the season opener on Thursday. Bergeron is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. McQuaid suffered an upper-body injury and is also day-to-day.
Bergeron was injured at the end of practice Tuesday, but the Bruins would not elaborate on the nature of the injury or how it occurred.
Coach Claude Julien held out hope Bergeron could join the Bruins later in their season-opening road trip, which continues against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and ends against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
"It's not a major injury; it's minor," Julien said. "But I'm confident it's going to be really short term."
Bergeron has reached the 30-goal mark three times in his career and has won the Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL three times. Last season he led the Bruins with 68 points and was second on the team with 32 goals.
Bergeron will be difficult to replace, but the Bruins are banking on their depth to overcome the loss.
"I think we spoke a little bit to our depth in camp and the tough decisions that we were forced with and our coaches and management were forced with. There's so many capable players," forward David Backes said.
"And we get to test that a little bit earlier than we hoped. ... We'll all have to pick up some of the load that he carries, which is a huge load for this team."
Marchand and Bergeron have been linemates almost exclusively since the 2010-11 season. So the new combination will take some getting used to. Bergeron has missed just 14 games in the past six seasons.
"It's disappointing having him not start [the season], but hopefully he'll be back soon and it just means one of these other guys is going to have to step up and pull a little more weight," Marchand said.
"[Backes is] a great player and it's nice to have the opportunity to play with him there, practice with him at least. Hopefully it goes well [Thursday]."
Miller suffered a fractured left hand and had surgery on Tuesday at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. His recovery time is expected to be six weeks.
As a result, the Bruins have recalled forward Tim Schaller from Providence of the AHL.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.