BOSTON, MA - After being evaluated by team doctors on Monday, Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was deemed "day-to-day" with a leg injury.
McQuaid missed the second half of Sunday's game in Chicago, and was not able to play on Monday in the Bruins' eventual 3-2 win over the LA Kings.
"The doctors have assessed him as day-to-day. That’s good news," said an optimistic Claude Julien.
Prior to McQuaid being evaluated, Julien was unsure yet if this leg injury was related to the blueliner's other injuries this season. McQuaid has missed two stretches of eight and nine games so far this season due to a lower-body injury.
With the defenseman not able to play, Zach Trotman slotted into the lineup for the second NHL game, after being recalled from the Providence Bruins on Sunday night.
"I thought he handled himself really well. We’ve been picking away at D’s right now and we’re short on the right side so, after seeing him play in Ottawa, he was a logical choice," said Julien.
Another right shot, Dougie Hamilton, didn't travel with the team to Dallas and Chicago, after being diagnosed with a concussion. He's missed the past four games in his recovery, but is trending towards a return soon. The Bruins' four days off from game action, until facing Philadelphia on Saturday, January 25, should help.
"He’s been skating with us being gone here," Julien said on Monday afternoon. "I suspect – I haven’t been told yet that he’s totally in with us [for practice] but that could come any time."
It's been a tough season for the Bruins' blueline, after losing Dennis Seidenberg for the year (he recently had surgery to repair the torn ACL/MCL in his right knee). They've been finding ways to push through, with the help of callups like Trotman, at times.
Kevan Miller has filled in with his steady, physical play. Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug have had growing pains, but have gained more confidence.
Still, the experience factor is tough to replicate. Heading into Boston's game against LA, Trotman, Miller, Bartkowski and Krug had a combined 120 games of NHL regular season experience (playoffs obviously add to the mix), while Zdeno Chara (1,102) and Johnny Boychuk (290) combined for 1,392.
"When you've got four guys that are young players, you've got to rely a lot on your veterans to be at their best and Zdeno was," said Julien, of the Captain's play in the win over LA and through this recent stretch.
It no longer becomes just "getting through" though, for the Bruins. They've had to face tough, skilled opponents like the Chicago Blackhawks without a healthy back end, and have held their own.
"It’s been unfortunate for our case, the injuries always seem to come from the same area. It’s not like you’re missing a winger and then one centerman and one D. Our D’s have been struck with a lot of the injuries this year," said Julien.
"We have four guys who have probably under a year of experience out of the six. So it’s an opportunity, as I always say, for them to show that they can handle themselves and at the same time, we’re looking forward to seeing them handle some maybe bigger situations and you live with that and you move forward and understand that this is part of the game."