Thursday, April 17, 2014
Kelly, Paille, Bartkowski still out
By Joe McDonald
BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins were still without forwards Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and defenseman Matt Bartkowski during Thursday’s practice at TD Garden.
Boston will host the Detroit Red Wings in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Friday, and Bruins coach Claude Julien said he’s still unclear on his lineup.
“I don’t know if it’s official yet on any of that stuff,” Julien said. “Again, today was another day we added another player [defenseman Kevan Miller], so we’ll see what tomorrow brings. It’s hard for me to start giving you my lineup when I don’t know what’s going to happen day-to-day. Hopefully it continues to improve, which it has this week and we’ll go from there.”
Kelly missed the final three games of the regular season with back spasms. Paille appeared to have suffered a head injury last Saturday against Buffalo. Bartkowski’s issue is undisclosed, but Julien explained earlier this week that the flu bug is making its way around the locker room.
Without Kelly’s services, the Bruins earlier this week recalled forward Justin Florek from Providence of the AHL and he’s been on the line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson during practice.
"For sure we’re missing a really good guy, a good leader, and hopefully [Kelly] will get back soon,” Eriksson said. “We can’t really do anything about it, so maybe now we have Florek [Friday] and he’s a good player. We had a chance to play with him last game, too, so we’re going to go out there and try to do the best we can. I think we can do good things out there.”
Boston’s energy line is affected by the injuries, too. Without Paille, fellow forward Jordan Caron has been on the line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton during practice this week.
“I’ve played with him a bunch this year, so we have a pretty good feel for each other,” Thornton said. “I know everyone talks about [Paille], we’ve been with [Paille] for a long time, many years, but Jordan’s come in and done a solid job. We’ve been able to create some energy. When he’s in there he’s strong on pucks. He’s a big body and goes to the net and he’s got a good shot. It should be a seamless transition, on paper anyways.”
Nothing has been made official, but if Paille did suffer a concussion, it will be his third this season.
“It’s an unfortunate occupational hazard sometimes with us,” Thornton said. “He’s such a good guy and such a big part of this team. I’ve said it before but sometimes our line is only as good as he is. We’re hoping he gets better quickly.”
For Eriksson, he hasn’t played in the Stanley Cup playoffs since the 2007-2008 season with the Dallas Stars. After Thursday’s practice at TD Garden, he said he watched some of the Stars’ playoff game against the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night on television, but he went to bed before the Ducks posted a 4-3 victory.
“For sure I’m excited to get going tomorrow,” he said. “Watching the game yesterday it looked so much fun, so I think everyone is ready to get going.”