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Dougie Hamilton Out Indefinitely as Bruins Focus on Final Nine Games

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

WILMINGTON, Mass. - Dougie Hamilton is out indefinitely, Head Coach Claude Julien announced following the team's practice on Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena.

Hamilton left Saturday's game against the Panthers in Sunrise, Fla., and did not return. He was hurt on a collision with Scottie Upshall and Nick Bjugstad in the second period. Hamilton did not play on Sunday in Tampa against the Lightning.

"He's out indefinitely, and will be re-evaluated in a few more days," Julien said.

Zach Trotman remains with the team on an emergency basis, rounding out the six man defense corps.

"That's what we've had to do all year, is we've had to step up with a number of injuries," said Julien. "And we've got to keep doing it."

The Bruins woke up on Tuesday morning one point outside of the playoff picture, after the Ottawa Senators rolled to a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Monday night. Ottawa has 85 points to the Bruins' 84, with one game in hand.

"You're at the stage right row where you have to worry about what you've got to do here in these next nine games, and that's where your focus has to be," said Julien.

Krejci Still Day-to-Day

David Krejci got in a full practice with the team on Tuesday and stayed on afterwards for more battling drills with David Pastrnak, Brian Ferlin and Reilly Smith.

With the torrid schedule, Krejci had not yet been able to really test out his knee, with starts and stops, the way he would have liked to, apart from the flow of pregame skates.

"It felt pretty good, so we'll see in a couple of days," said Krejci, who has missed the past 15 games since partially tearing the MCL in his left knee on Feb. 20.

"It's about the team, and when I feel good enough and I feel I can help the team, then I'll be back," he said.

With just nine games left, Krejci no doubt feels the urgency to get back into the lineup - but he has to be ready.

"Possibility for next game again," Krejci said, with Julien confirming that his status remains day-to-day and the they are waiting until Thursday to see if he's ready to return.

Nine Games Left

There was a theme in all of the Bruins' answers to reporters' questions following Tuesday's practice.

With nine games left in the regular season, they are out of a playoff position and a Wild Card spot for the first time since January.

"We all know where we are, we all know what we have to do if we want to be in the playoffs, and we just have to react, and win some hockey games," said Julien.

"Again, we can stand here all day and you'll hear the same answers coming out of my mouth - the nine games is what's going to decide whether we want to make a run for it and be there, and it's in our hands."

"We know we're one point behind, but nine games, it's a lot and if we get on a roll, we can make it," said Krejci. "We know it's not going to be easy, but we have to take it game by game."

"Right now, all we're focusing on is we've got nine games left…Every game is the biggest game of the season, so we have to play our best game, and we've got to get it done."

There's no time to focus on the past five games, in which the Bruins went 0-3-2, but Tuesday's highly competitive practice was a step forward in terms of reinforcing good habits, and the need to rely on the system.

"I think right now, you need to understand the schedule is heavy and you've got to get to the point, where [practice] doesn't have to be long, but it has to be efficient," said Julien. "So we're working on the things that we have to work on in order to win some hockey games here."

"We can't give up five goals a game…When we take care of our end, usually the rest takes care of itself."

"It doesn't fall on anybody's shoulders except ours," said Torey Krug. "So we're looking at each other in the locker room, and we're going to try and pull ourselves out of this and make sure our game is improving so we can win hockey games."

All the Bruins can focus on now is these remaining nine games. That's it. There's no room to focus on any potential fallout. There's no room to focus on the thought of potentially not making the postseason.

"You can't think like that right now," said Milan Lucic. "With only nine games, we know what's at stake and we know how hard we have to play. This is playoffs, we've been talking about playoff hockey, being in that mode, for the last month. Now it's even more of a reality than before."

"It's about going out there and proving that we can do it."

"I think we've talked enough," said Tuukka Rask. "It's time to go out there and play."

"It takes a lot of mental strength, and that's what we need to do - we need to go out there and execute our game plan. It's that simple, but it takes a lot of mental ability to do that."

Connolly Continues to Skate

Brett Connolly continued skating and conditioning with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides prior to practice, while his right index finger heals from being broken in practice on March 4. He took part in shooting drills.

"Skating, but still not with us," said Julien.

Practice Lineup March 24

Gold Jerseys: Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Krejci - Daniel Paille

White: Milan Lucic - Ryan Spooner - David Pastrnak

Gray: Reilly Smith - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Burgundy: Chris Kelly - Gregory Campbell - Max Talbot - Brian Ferlin

Defensemen: Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, Adam McQuaid, Dennis Seidenberg, Zach Trotman

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Niklas Svedberg

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