BOSTON - Defenseman Adam McQuaid left Tuesday night's game against the St. Louis Blues in the second period, and did not return.
Bruins Head Coach Claude did not yet have an update on McQuaid following the game, and did not know the severity of the situation.
"I haven’t even – they just told me he wasn’t returning, and I don’t even bother asking at that point," Julien told reporters postgame from TD Garden, after the Bruins put up a 2-0 shutout of the Blues.
"I still have to see what it is, and even if I do go see, I don’t think I’ll get the total answer. [The trainers] have to have a look at him first and assess the whole thing."
McQuaid's final shift ended with 15:01 still left in the middle frame.
The Bruins had to finish out the game with five defensemen, and banded together for a solid defensive effort, backed by 33 saves from Tuukka Rask for his first shutout of the season.
Dennis Seidenberg served as the only veteran on the back end, along with Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Joe Morrow.
"You’ve got to take time and look at how young we are back there and the way we’re handling ourselves," Julien said. "Credit those guys for doing the job. Again, we may not be where we want to be right now, but those guys are battling, and like I said, we’re a young crew right now and the way that they handled themselves against pretty powerful team – they deserve a lot of credit."
While McQuaid's status is uncertain right now (Julien will address reporters following Wednesday morning's practice at TD Garden), it's been one hit after another for the Bruins' defense corps, which has been without Zdeno Chara (knee) for nearly four weeks and Kevan Miller (shoulder) for more than a month. David Warsofsky has also been out with a groin injury. Krug missed time with a broken finger earlier this month.
"Last year and this year, it seemed like [injuries have] been hitting us hard, but you go through phases where guys get hurt more and the years before, we've gotten lucky," said Seidenberg. "This is tough, but we’ve got to battle through, and I think we’ll have a healthy comeback soon. So we’ll just have to roll through and try to play our game."
The Bruins do have positives to focus on. Miller has been cleared to play and was a game-time decision for Tuesday night against St. Louis, while Bartkowski has played two strong, confident games since being a healthy scratch for seven games. He earned an assist in Tuesday's win and record a plus-2 rating, while logging a team-high 29 shifts for 20:52 in ice time.
That's encouraging for Julien to see.
"Well, it is, because obviously we need him right now," Julien said. "He sat quite a few games. His play just wasn’t up to par and certainly wasn’t a good asset for us."
"So, we sat him out, but we still worked with him and he kept a good attitude and kept working at things during practice. When he got his chance, he looked like a guy that was ready and I thought he was pretty good against Carolina, and no doubt he was even better [against St. Louis]. That was a strong performance on his part."
"So it was encouraging to see Bart get back to how we know he can be."
Regardless of the prognosis on McQuaid, the Bruins will have to continue to try and power through any adversity that comes their way.
"I think everybody in the locker room knows that you plug in different pieces in different positions, and we can still have success as long as we stick to the system," said Krug. "Play a focused game, and work hard, and I think we can always have success."