Prior to last Thursday’s game against the New York Islanders, Hamilton had played in all 39 games this season.
“I don’t think there’s any issue with his reaction,” Julien said. “He’s 100 percent on board with us. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything to hurt a player more than I’ve done to help a player, and he knows that. He needed the rest and those two games gave him X amount of days to rest. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s the guy that’s played the most on our team this year, and with all the stuff he’s been through before he got here, and then the compressed schedule, this is doing the right thing for the right player at the right moment.”
During the lockout, Hamilton, 19, played for his junior team, the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL. He also played for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in December before making his NHL debut with the Bruins on Jan. 19.
When asked what he thought of having two consecutive games off, Hamilton said he totally understands the situation.
“Just playing so much, it feels like the end of the year, which it is, but I think just to get a rest, I guess, mentally, and most of all just to get away from playing and to be able to come back, it kind of feels like junior a little bit when you get the week off and then you go back to playing the weekend,” he said. “Hopefully I didn’t get too rusty over that couple of days, but I think I feel good.”
Hamilton, who has four goals and 11 assists for 15 points with a plus-4 rating, said he understands he’ll need to be rested and healthy for his first Stanley Cup playoffs, so he has no issue with Julien’s decision to sit him the last two games.
“Obviously it’s a lot more fun playing and being in the room and being part of the team, but I thought it was good,” he said.