- Following the Bruins' 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers, the team hit the ice for practice at Ristuccia around 11:30 on Friday, that saw intense battle drills for an extended time towards the end of the practice.
"Just working on some things that we need to work on. It's just a little battle here. When you don't practice much, it's easy to get away from the good habits. That's all it was today," said Coach Julien following the skate.
"I liked the work ethic, we've got two big games coming up, so we need to be, not just physically, but mentally ready for that."
Only Chris Kelly was missing, currently out indefinitely with a broken left tibia, while Adam McQuaid, who Coach Julien termed as day-to-day with a "minor injury" on Thursday, skated the entire practice with the team.
Kelly obviously did not skate, but he did talk to media for the first time since suffering the injury during the second period against Ottawa on Monday night.
"It hurt, but the good thing is I think it could have been much worse, but at the time it was pretty sore," Kelly said about the time right after the injury the occurred when he and the Senators' Chris Neil had a collision in front of the Bruins bench.
"Chris and I are friends. He sent me a text right after apologizing, and I just said, ‘It’s a hockey play.’ That’s all it is," said Kelly.
Currently in his ninth full NHL season, the center could only recall a seven-game stretch that he missed due to a blocked shot, which happened to be all the way back in 2007-08.
It's easy to understand how frustrating the injury could be and the iron man admitted it won't be the "best time," but Kelly, always his smiling, calm and collected self spoke more about how quickly he's trying to recover.
"Just trying to get it better. There’s no real time frame, just come here, work hard and let the medical staff and the trainers do their job."
"It’s one of those things I think everyone heals at different times, and every injury you have might be the same, but there’s always different aspects to an injury."
So, will Kelly's recovery process get him back in time for the regular season?
"I’m hoping so, but, like I said, they haven’t really given me a time frame," said Kelly. "It’s just, it’s one of those things you’ve got to let heal and hope for the best."
"I’m doing icing, stim – we’re trying to get rid of a lot of the swelling that accumulated, and that’s the major thing, but just kind of making sure I don’t lose as much strength throughout the leg that I could."
Coach Julien also talked about Kelly's injury, and hoped that he would see his center back not he ice sooner rather than later.
"Indefinitely means we're not 100 percent sure on anything. You hope that things are going to go well and keep your fingers crossed," said Julien. "We were hoping that it was a minor injury and it turned out it was worse than we thought. It's pretty hard to predict where he's going to be by the end of the year."
McQuaid Back with Team
After not joining the team for a full pregame skate Thursday night, and instead, skating with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides, defenseman Adam McQuaid was back not he ice with the entire team Friday afternoon in Wilmington, taking part in all drills.
Following practice, Coach said "he's a day-to-day situation. He practiced today. It's looking optimistic."
Defenseman Aaron Johnson, who had been a healthy scratch since January 29, got the call in McQuaid's absence and delivered a solid performance with 17:43 of ice time and four hits.
"We have different looks all the time. It depends on the teams, depends on the situation," said Coach Julien, on if he liked the way the defensive pairings panned out, with McQuaid out. "We had four lefties, but we're use to moving guys around. That's certainly not an issue for our hockey club."
When speaking with the media today, Kelly said he wasn't too surprised that the Bruins hadn't encountered a tough injury situation yet this season until his.
"I think we have a pretty strong team. Sometimes you get a little bit of luck on your side to stay healthy, but these things happen I think," said Kelly. "Look at other teams. It might just be bad luck that they’ve got as many players hurt. I think a lot of times when you look at a condensed season it’s a lot of groins or tweaks like that, but for the most part guys are feeling good."
The same can not be said for several other teams, including Washington and Pittsburgh, who the B's will be facing in matinee back-to-back games this weekend. While the Bruins have only 10 man-games lost to injury, the Caps just lost their third top-6 defenseman this season, being currently without Mike Green, John Erksine and Tomas Kundratek.
But even in Kelly's absence, Coach isn't expecting a downfall in the Bruins, who are stepping up without their centerman heading into the weekend against two teams they suffered defeating losses to last week, after carrying at least a two-goal lead in both.
I don't think that emotionally, as a coach, you should have to get these guys up for these games. When you realize what's happened against them, we should be ready to play them and play them hard. That's our test this weekend."