BOSTON – With Game 3 just hours away and a question mark still surrounding defenseman Adam McQuaid’s availability for tonight’s match-up with Philadelphia, blueliner Shane Hnidy is preparing as if he might play.
McQuaid crashed head-first into the end boards after missing a check intended for Philadelphia’s Mike Richards during the first period of Game 2 on Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
Bruins head coach Claude Julien said yesterday that McQuaid suffered a neck sprain, and was day-to-day.
This morning, Julien echoed his previous comments.
“Same as yesterday, day-to-day, nothing more to report on that situation,” said Julien.
Although McQuaid’s absence from the line-up has not been confirmed, if McQuaid is unavailable, Hnidy will likely get the call.
“I know Shane Hnidy is a guy ready to play and he is certainly a possibility in our line-up,” Julien said this morning.
Hnidy, who skated in Game 2 of Boston’s first round series against Montreal, has participated in the Bruins pregame warm-ups throughout the postseason, and says he is treating today just as any other game day.
“I prepare to play and you never know what is going to happen. So my preparation doesn’t change. I get ready for the game physically and mentally and then I go from there,” said Hnidy.
Hnidy has 38 games of NHL playoff experience with 4-2-6 totals. Fifteen of those game’s have come with the Bruins.
“This is where experience really comes in handy. Having been in this situation before, in and out of playoffs other years. You have to stay sharp,” Hnidy said. “I’m hoping it comes in handy, but you have to have a certain urgency but a calm at the same time.”
Urgency and calm is something every player must balance as they work towards a return to line-up after intermittent periods of being scratched. While all players look to make an impression in every game they skate in, trying not to do too much can be an issue players have to address within their own game.
“I know what my strengths need to be out there. If I am trying to do too much I am making it hard on myself so it’s about keeping the game simple, doing my job and staying strong,” Hnidy said.
The Bruins defensemen have been collecting a lot of ice time this postseason, particularly with Boston’s multiple overtime games and the loss of McQuaid in the first period of Game 2 against the Flyers -- which limited the Bruins to five defenseman for the remainder of the game.
Hnidy skated for just 4:13 in Game 2 of the Montreal series. McQuaid had collected 12:16 of ice time in Game 1 of the Philadelphia series, the last game he played in full.
Despite the difference between the time on ice of the two players, Coach Julien isn’t concerned about his defense corps ability to pick up the slack, or in Hnidy’s ability to add extra minutes.
“He has got experience and we’re going to utilize him where we see fit. Again, you watch a player play, if he’s showing signs of a guy doing a great job then you give him a little bit more ice time,” Julien said of Hnidy.
“No matter what it’s one of those situations where our guys are able to handle a lot of minutes… I don’t think there is much that is going to change for us tonight in regards to that.”