WILMINGTON, Mass. -- With the one-game suspension the NHL assessed to defenseman Andrew Ference on Thursday, the Boston Bruins know they will have to play Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Saturday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS) without the player who ranked fourth on the team in ice time during the regular season at 19:29 per game.
The Bruins returned to the ice for practice Friday here at Ristuccia Arena after taking a day off Thursday. While coach Claude Julien wouldn't commit to any set lineup the day before facing the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 2, he split up his playoff shut-down pair of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg for the session. Chara skated with Adam McQuaid while Seidenberg worked with Ference's usual partner, Johnny Boychuk, during 5-on-5 drills.
"We mix and match a lot of times," Julien said. "So that's not an issue."
That left rookie Dougie Hamilton, who was a healthy scratch for Game 1, skating on a pair with veteran Wade Redden. Before Game 1, Hamilton was a healthy scratch for six of the final nine regular-season games because of what Julien described as rest. Between his junior team, international play and the NHL season, the 19-year-old played nearly 80 games. In 42 NHL games, Hamilton had five goals and 16 points.
"He might be a young player for the playoffs, but to me at this stage and the amount of games he’s played, he's a veteran," Julien said. "We don't look at guys necessarily as rookies. We look at them as young players. But he's a young player that's probably going to be playing his first game, if not [Saturday], soon, and I think that's the thing with him. He's played enough hockey to understand what's at stake here and we have no issues, whether it's him, whether it's [Aaron] Johnson or even [Matt] Bartkowski that's in Providence [in the American Hockey League]. We have those choices."
Ference is confident in his teammates' ability to fill in for him.
"Guys will step right in and it'll be no problem," he said. "It's hockey. Whether it's an injury or something like this, guys step up and do the job."