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Game Day: Predators vs. Bruins

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
6:43 p.m.

Click here for the In-Game Live Blog. Enjoy the game!

6:40 p.m.
The Bruins Lines...
Stuart-Boychuk Hunwick

6:29 p.m.
Tim Thomas will be in goal for Boston. I do not see Shawn Thornton. I do see Daniel Paille and Trent Whitfield. Brad Marchand will also play.

Dan Ellis is in goal for Nashville.

5:15 p.m.
Press Box Notes
Storylines:  The last four days on Causeway Street have been filled with a flurry of transactions, as the Black & Gold have made a number of recent roster moves. Today the club placed leading scorer Marc Savard on long term injured reserve with a broken left foot that will force him to miss four to six weeks. The injury happened in practice before the season started and was re-aggravated at practice Tuesday.

“I took a shot in practice off the foot and the doctors checked it out,” Savard said earlier today. “It wasn’t hurting that much and I just re-aggravated it yesterday.  We took some MRI’s and CAT scans and stuff and it’s broken so, the best thing right now is to shut it down for a couple weeks here and let it heal.”

To fill the void left by Savard, the team recalled centerman Trent Whitfield from Providence. Whitfield was signed by the Bruins as a free agent this offseason on July 13, 2009, although he was originally a fifth round pick of the Bruins in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.

“I guess this is 12, 13 years later, I’m back, so it’s nice,” said Whitfield after the team’s morning skate today. “I’m excited. It’s a good organization. I went down to Providence, we were playing well down there as a team and now a few things go on up here and I get an opportunity so I’m excited.”

The moves this morning overshadowed the news from yesterday evening, when the Bruins announced they acquired Daniel Paille from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for two draft picks in 2010 (Boston’s natural third rounder and a conditional fourth rounder). Paille flew in from Florida last night and was with the team this morning for the B’s pregame skate.

“He has a left shot, left wing, very strong on the puck,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. “Good defensive presence, had a year of 19 goals and last year he had 12 so he can score. Very good speed, very good strength on the puck, good on the walls. I would characterize him as a good defensive forward with upside.”

The Predators have encountered some injury woes of their own, as they placed their center and captain Jason Arnott on IR yesterday. He is expected to miss one to two weeks while winger Jordan Tootoo is also expected to miss tonight’s game. Dave Scatchard has been recalled from the Milwaukee Admirals to replace Arnott.

Nashville is coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Caps in DC in their last outing on Saturday.

Welcome to the Show: Bruins forward Brad Marchand is expected to make his NHL debut tonight. Originally drafted by the Bruins in the third round (71st overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, he was recalled by the Bruins on October 18.

Wides Returns: B’s D-man Dennis Wideman is expected to return to the Bruins lineup today after missing the previous three games with an injury.

“He has been good all week, and there has been no issue there, so we anticipate him to be in the lineup tonight,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien before today’s game.

4:38 p.m.
Win it for Savvy
FILE -- This is an Oct. 17, 2009, file photo showing Boston Bruins' Marc Savard (91) watching his teammates from the bench as he takes a break during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Phoenix Coyotes, in Glendale, Ariz. The Boston Bruins scoring leader Marc Savard will miss four to six weeks with a broken left foot. The team's announcement Wednesday, oct. 20, 2009, did not say w
Right now Marc Savard is the most disappointed man in New England.

"Very disappointed," emphasized Savard during his pregame media scrum. "That's especially since the team’s struggling a bit right now. I’d like to help.

"But the guys rallied before and I’m sure they will do the same here."

But missing Savard won't make it any easier for the Bruins to even out their play.

"The boys have a tough test ahead," said the center. "Like I said, we rallied around some injuries, obviously with Patrice [Bergeron] and some other things throughout the years and I’m sure the boys will step up.

"It gives guys an opportunity here and I’m sure they look forward to that and hopefully they can fill in and do a good job."

Savard looked around the room to Marchand and Sobotka for a bit of comfort.

"Yeah, like Vladdy [Vladimir Sobotka] he stepped in great last time I got hurt too," said Marc. "You got [Brad] Marchand coming up, you got [Trent] Whitfield, obviously we made a trade the other day so these guys got a good opportunity to get some ice time.

"Claude [Julien] generally runs four lines so they are going to get played and I hope they can put some wins together here and get us back on track."

Until then, Savard knows he has one job.

"I know it’s a tough situation now," he said. "But I think it’s for the best for myself and the team right now.

"I haven’t been feeling 100 percent out there skating and I think the best thing right now is to get 100 percent.

"So, the best thing right now is to shut it down for a couple weeks here and let it heal," he said.

3:29 p.m.
Marchand (photo by Alan Sullivan)
There's a good chance that Brad Marchand will be making his NHL-debut tonight and the rookie winger is feeling pretty good.

"I’m actually really surprised," he said. "I was sitting there at the end of morning skate, [looking] around and [I’m] very surprised with how I feel.

"I’m not nervous right now and I figured I probably would be. But I’m feeling very confident, pretty much expecting it to be like the exhibition games and I was fine in those.

All Marchand has done since he arrived in September is turn heads, so he's not about to change his methods.

"Really, the only thing I can do is show how I play and I’m just going to try and keep everything simple and play my game. If I do that I should be all right," said Marchand.

And a welcoming Bruins locker room has made this most recent transition smooth.

"All the guys are great. They are always joking around with you and they make you feel like part of the team," said Marchand. "They’re all great guys, fun to be around, and it makes it a lot easier."

Meanwhile, Brad's family is on their way for his likely introduction to the Boston crowd.

"Yeah, yeah. The whole family’s coming," he said. "One of my sisters didn’t get the opportunity to come down, but my brother, one of my sisters and parents are coming so, huge night."

I asked Brad if the lead up has been everything he'd imagined.

"Not at all. I never imagined this as a kid," he said. "I never thought it was going to be a possibility and now that it’s come it’s a pretty unbelievable thing.

"I was talking to my brother yesterday and we were talking, it’s so surreal you know?

"You think about it and you’re playing in the NHL, first game in the NHL, and it’s something that very few people get to experience, so it’s extremely special right now," said Marchand.

2:40 p.m.
The Secret of His Success: Persistence

Whitfield (photo by Alan Sullivan)
Way back in 1996 the Boston Bruins drafted Trent Whitfield in the fourth round of the NHL Entry Draft (100th overall).

Just 13-years later, the grinding forward has a chance to appear in Black & Gold for the first time.

"Well like 14 years ago I was here for three camps and things just didn’t work out," said Whitfield this morning after the skate. "I ended up going back to Junior and then just signed as a free agent elsewhere.

"So it’s kind of funny, I guess this is [13] years later I’m back, so it’s nice. I’m excited.

"It’s a good organization. I went down to Providence, we were playing well down there as a team and now a few things go on up here and I get an opportunity so I’m excited," he said.

Paired with Mikko Lehtonen and Jeff LoVecchio in Providence, Whitfield, the P-Bruins captain, is a point producer (3-5-8 in six games) -- that probably won't be his focus here in Boston.

"Well I think [it's] a different kind of role," he said. "There wont be any power play time.

"[In Boston], I think it's more about winning faceoffs, playing solid defensively and taking your offensive chances when you get them.

"So, in a way, you just play more of a defensive role and hopefully you can contribute offensively as well," said Whitfield.

And unlike Brad Marchand, who may make his NHL debut tonight, this situation is not new to the forward -- he's a 32-year old veteran with 177 NHL games under his belt.

"Yeah, it’s basically been the same for eleven years for me," said Whitfield. "You go down there, you score points, you lead and you come up here and you play a role and you do it well and hopefully you get an opportunity to play a few games."

12:41 p.m.
Peter Chiarelli was similarly blunt when he spoke to the media.

"He has a broken foot," said Chiarelli of Savard. "Basically it happened just prior to the start of the season. He was fine, he took a shot just prior to the start of the season on his foot and yesterday it just got aggravated.

"So, he went out for imaging yesterday afternoon and we found out that there was a break in his foot. He will be out for at least four to six weeks. Right now he is placed on long-term injury."

"These things come and go. I would think that there are players that play with little nicks or little fractures, little tiny breaks, fissures in their foot. That is the way this one went, and became re-aggravated," he said.

Chiarelli explained that Savard didn't complain of restricted movement.

"He just said that the top of his foot was sore, very sore," said the GM. "He told me that he changed the tongue on his skate. He had to leave right away after practice [Tuesday] for imaging.

Savard can not return to the Bruins lineup, despite how he might feel physically, for ten games and 24 days.

Chiarelli was asked if this adversity could bring the team together.

"Claude and I talked a little bit last night about [this being] a rallying point for the team," said Julien. "We have lost Lucic and now Savard and there will be opportunities for players to play in more important positions and important roles.

"We’ve had these types of injuries before and we have responded, so we would expect our team to respond."

As for the brand new player on his roster, Paille, Chiarelli explained what the Bruins have added to the lineup.

"He's a left shot, left wing, very strong on the puck," said Chiarelli of Paille. "[He's got a] good defensive presence, he has had a year of 19 goals and last year he had 12, so he can score.

"He has Very good speed [and is] good on the walls. I would characterize him as a good defensive forward with upside."

That characterization led to the inevitable comparison to Chuck Kobasew.

"If I am comparing this player to Chuck Kobasew, Chuck has a good shot has some speed he wasn’t used on the penalty kills, so Daniel is a better penalty killer," he said. "Daniel has better speed.

"Chuck’s a good player. It is just a better fit for us right now, and [Paille] is still young. He was drafted [in the first round] by Jimmy Benning in Buffalo and Doug Houda coached him so we have some pretty good knowledge of this player."

11:56 a.m.
Bruins morning skate is over and Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien and general manager Peter Chiarelli have spoken to the media.

Pragmatic and calm, as usual, Coach Julien did not seem fazed by the headline news of the last week.

"There’s no doubt we’ve been through this in the past and right now it’s about meeting the challenge that’s ahead of us," he said. "You have a couple of players who usually have a good impact on us, that are out of our lineup and I don’t think anyone is going to feel sorry for us around the league.

"I don’t think there’s a need for us to feel sorry for ourselves and it’s more about rolling up your sleeves and then getting ready to take that challenge head on."

Who exactly will be taking on that challenge is up in the air.

"Well, I have an idea in my head of what I want to do," he said. "We had an optional skate this morning, I kind of wanted to reserve [judgment], not just from you guys, but even from the players, and kind of wait and decide what I really want to do tonight.

"I think most of you have seen different combinations this week so it’s not like players have been used to playing with each other and the new guys are the new guys so it doesn’t matter who you put them with, but I’ll try to come up with the best combinations I can and hopefully it works for us tonight.

"If not, then I have to do some adjustments as the game goes on."

Julien talked about the two new Bruins at his disposal.

"He’s got all the attributes to be a good penalty killer," said Julien of Paille. "He’s got speed, obviously he’s got grit, he’s done a good job in Buffalo in that regard and he’s a guy that obviously takes pride in killing penalties so certainly should help us in that area.

"We certainly plan on giving him that opportunity to do that with our team."

Julien seemed excited to see what Whitfield would bring to the table, as well.

"First of all, I thought he got better and better as the camp went on," said the coach. "His games near the end were very good for us and he’s an experienced player, he’s been around the block a few times and his age and the experience he’s got at the pro level will certainly serve us well.

"He’s had a good start with Providence so here’s another guy who can be gritty but can also put up a few points here and there, so he’ll do fine. I’m not worried about him."

With Dennis Wideman looking ready to return, the next question pertains to the viability of Shawn Thornton.

"He’s a big question mark," said Julien. "We put him on the ice early this morning, [and he] skated on his own, but he’s very doubtful for tonight unless the trainers when we get in tonight say, 'You know what, he’s improved a lot.'

"He is a day-to-day player. From the morning until nighttime, he’s improving that much and that’s why we keep mentioning that situation with him as far as he could be available any time."

10:42 a.m.

Oh brother!

"What a revoltin' turn of a events this is!"

It looks like the B's might be without Milan Lucic and Marc Savard for the better part of the fall.

Thankfully, Daniel Paille is here to take one of those roster spots, and hey, the enthusiasm everyone displayed toward Mr. Sobotka and Mr. Marchand is still there. And, sure, Mr. Whitfield has been playing well down in Providence.


It certainly doesn't help the cause when your all-star center will be lost for four-to-six weeks.

Peter Chiarelli will be speaking momentarily, and I am sure I will have quite an update in a few.

Dyan Lebourdais contributed to this blog.
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