- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Bruins forward Daniel Paille arrived at the rink earlier than usually Tuesday morning in preparation for his return to the lineup, following his four-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head on Feb. 3.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had four games in a week and a half, so it definitely felt a little bit longer than it was,” Paille said. “I’m glad to be back.”
Paille will be back when the Bruins host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night at TD Garden. Prior to his league-mandated hiatus, Paille had 1 goal and 5 assists for 6 points in 25 games for Boston this season.
He was suspended after he caught Dallas Stars forward Raymond Sawada with a blindside hit, while backchecking. Paille, who is skating on the line with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell, said after Tuesday’s morning skate that he will not change his game because of his recent situation.
“Obviously I’m going to think about certain things, but I’m going to try to stay physical, especially playing with the line I am now,” he said. “It’s how I have to play. I just have to be aware of certain plays and try not to extend the arm out.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien expects Paille to play his game and hopes he’s not timid on the ice.
“You hope he’s not,” Julien said. “You hope he’s aware of what he can do, and the one thing you want to make sure he does, and that’s part of our job, is you’ve got to go out and play with confidence. You can’t hold back and you have to be aware of what you can and can’t do.
“I want him to continue to be aggressive. I want him to continue to skate and forecheck and be on top of guys. I want that part of his game to be there because those are the qualities he brings to our hockey club, so that can’t disappear.”
Due to the suspension, Paille forfeited $23,118. He’s received encouragement and support from his teammates, too.
“I’ve had great support from a lot of people,” he said. “Guys in the room told me to keep my head up. It’s been an easy process for me. Obviously it was tough to sit out for a week, but I’m glad to be coming back today and playing tonight.”
5dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald