BOSTON -- Newly acquired defenseman Andrej Meszaros participated in the Bruins' morning skate but will not be in the lineup Thursday night against the Washington Capitals, according to coach Claude Julien.
Meszaros was acquired at the trade deadline on Wednesday from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a third-round pick.
Julien said it will take a few practices in order for the veteran blueliner to learn Boston’s systems.
"I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see,” Julien said. “We’ll have some practice times, and stuff like that, but I don’t think it’ll take him that long. [Philadelphia] plays a different type of game, and every once in a while when players come in they’ve got to adjust a little bit. I think he’ll catch on fairly quickly.”
Fellow defenseman Corey Potter, whom the Bruins claimed off waivers from Edmonton on Wednesday, is expected to arrive Thursday afternoon in Boston.
The Bruins have gone with only six defensemen for a while now, so having both Meszaros and Potter in the mix will give Julien options. It will also create a healthy in-house competition again.
Once Julien believes Meszaros is ready for game action, the coach is expecting a simple game.
“He’s an experienced player and he’s proved that over the years,” Julien said. “He’s a big body, as well. Offensively, he supports the attack well and he’s been known a pretty good offensive-type defenseman. With that big body, and the way we play, I’m sure he’ll defend well. It’ll be a matter of time to see how well he fits with us.”
Meszaros understands he’s not going to be handed a spot in the lineup.
“It’s not easy to crack the lineup,” he said. “It’s up to the coaches what they’re going to do with me and how they’re going to use me. I’m just here to help and play good and hopefully go all the way.”
During his rookie year with the Ottawa Senators, Meszaros was paired with Zdeno Chara for parts of that season. The two were also partners during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. This year in Sochi, they both represented Slovakia but were not defensive partners.
“It’s great to play with him again,” Meszaros said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Chara was asked about his new teammate but had little to say, telling reporters to talk to Mezeros directly.
How about having a fellow Slovakian on the team?
“I don't look at it that way. I look at it as it's nice to have more depth on the team,” Chara said. “That being said, he's a Slovak. Obviously it's nice to have a countryman, but don't look at it what nationality guys are. I just like to have more depth on the team. For sure he brings that dimension.”
Chara added, “I think he broke into the league when he was in Ottawa. We had some good chemistry and we used to play together on national teams, but he's just a normal guy. He's nothing that's different than anyone else. He's just a good guy, works hard, is a physical guy. Strong guy, plays the game that way.”
Now that the trade deadline is over, the Bruins can focus on the final 21 games of the season. Julien and the players are pleased that Chiarelli added to the roster and did not subtract from it.
“He did a good job, and you have to realize he didn’t lose anybody. We like our players here,” Julien said. “So, it’s just about adding some depth, and that he did.”
Prior to Wednesday’s 3 p.m. deadline, Bruins players were joking with teammates and making up their own transactions, but there was a sense of curiosity in the locker room after practice. On Thursday, normalcy returned.
“There’s definitely a different attitude today,” admitted Julien. “As you can see, guys are pretty happy. Yesterday, nobody wanted to see me. Every time they saw me walking around the room they would put their heads down, hoping I wouldn’t point the finger at them. Today, for some reason, they seem to be happy to see me.
“That’s the kind of impact it has on players on trade deadline day, especially if guys are happy, they don’t want to leave. It’s pretty obvious the guys came in today and were happy to still be here and part of this group.”