"He skated but I don’t think we’re going to bring him on the trip," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following practice. "We’re going to give him some more time. But he felt much better, so he’s doing better. Day-to-day."
Marchand has been deemed "day-to-day" since last Saturday's game (November 15) against Carolina, in which he didn't finish out the third period. Thursday marked his first lengthy skate of the week. He missed practices on Monday and Wednesday, and only took part in Tuesday's morning skate for a few minutes before leaving the ice and not suiting up against St. Louis. His situation is undisclosed.
Matt Fraser will continue to slot into Marchand's place alongside Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith.
Dougie Hamilton was also back at practice after missing Wednesday's skate with the flu.
Defenseman Zach Trotman joined the group after being recalled from Providence Thursday morning, in light of Wednesday's news that Adam McQuaid is out six to eight weeks with a broken thumb suffered against St. Louis on Tuesday night.
Off to Columbus
Following practice, the Bruins traveled to Columbus in advance of Friday night's game against the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Boston is coming off two straight wins, 2-1 over Carolina, and 2-0 over St. Louis. Though the wins weren't pretty, the Bruins got arguably their best 60-minute effort of the season against the Blues.
The Black and Gold hope to keep powering along, especially against a gritty Columbus team that can put up a fight, despite their 6-11-1 record on the season.
If you thought the Bruins were taking an injury hit, just look at the Blue Jackets, who have lost 124 man games to injury heading into Friday night's tilt.
They recently got back former Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky from injury, but still have six players out, including former Bruin Nathan Horton who has been dealing with a very serious back injury, Brandon Dubinsky (lower body), Mark Letestu (groin), Cody Goloubef (knee), Ryan Murray (lower body) and Fedor Tyutin (knee).
"I think it’s a team that is obviously facing a lot of injuries, we know that," Julien said on Thursday, when asked about Columbus. "It’s just facing a lot of injuries right now, but what you’re seeing from that team is that they’re pretty heavy on the back end, meaning they’re tough on the back end — getting to the front of the net, battling with those guys."
"It’s not going to be easy, so we have to realize that, but at the same time, it’s a team that keeps competing night in and night out."
"So the number of injuries — it’s amazing, how many guys they’ve got that are injured. It makes us look pretty good in the injury department, when you look at that team."
In addition to McQuaid, the Bruins are currently without Zdeno Chara (knee) - though the captain is on the mend - and David Warsofsky (groin). Kevan Miller and Torey Krug were also hit by the injury bug on the back end this season. Gregory Campbell was injured to start the season, David Krejci has missed nine games on and off due to an undisclosed injury, and Marchand will be missing his second straight game on Friday night.
The Bruins have never used that as an excuse, and they certainly won't against a team like the Blue Jackets and what they've dealt with to start the season.
"They’ve still got guys that play hard and there are no easy games in this League," said Julien. "It almost sounds like a cliche, but it’s not so much a cliche as it’s the truth. There are no easy games."
"So we have to approach that as a must-win, when you realize what’s coming up next - i’s not getting any easier with Montreal, Pittsburgh. We've got some tough games coming up, so this is a game that we have to really buckle down here and make sure that we come out of there with a couple of points."
Finding Ways to Still Play the Bruins' Way
Following Tuesday's 2-0 win over St. Louis, Krejci had made it a point to acknowledge those who doubt the ability of this team.
"Well when you’re going in, there’s a lot of people questioning our hockey team and we wanted to prove people wrong," he said after the game on Tuesday. "We wanted to show that we could play hockey again against one of the best teams in the League. I thought it was a great effort by all four lines and Tuukks played really well in the net - so it was a big win for us."
"We know when we play the Bruins hockey, we can beat anybody and we’re a tough team to beat. It just goes to show again, when we play that style of hockey, it works," said Tuukka Rask. "Hopefully we realize it one of these days and keep it consistent, too."
After Thursday's practice, Krejci reiterated his postgame comments.
"We knew lots of people were questioning our team, but we responded pretty well and played a strong game," Krejci said. "But now we have to build on that and show that we can do three in a row."
"I thought we practiced well the last couple of days and we're ready to go."
"Definitely we had high expectations before the season, and know that we have some doubters," said Daniel Paille. "For us, we know we're capable of playing better and against St. Louis was more the standard where we needed to be."
"Even though in the third period we sat back too much, we still stayed composed and didn't panic too much, so it was good for everyone to see us get that result."
"Panic" has been a popular word around the Bruins the past few days.
"I think for the most part, we didn’t really panic," echoed Matt Bartkowski, who played his strongest game of the season against St. Louis, recording a plus-2 rating and picking up an assist in the process.
"Whenever we turned over a puck or anything like that, we just kind of handled it, didn’t slap the puck around like the previous games so I think that’s a big thing."
It's the message that's being sent from the coaching staff as well, especially with the rotating carousel of injuries on defense that has left Dennis Seidenberg as the only veteran back there.
"Well, you don't want to panic. You shouldn't panic, to start with. You don't want to show panic," said Julien. "Right now, we feel we still have people we can put in place that will continue to keep us competitive and I don't think we've been wrong so far."
"With everything we've been through, we're not happy with our game - but we are showing a lot of character by hanging in there and winning hockey games."
The Bruins' goal every season is to be in a playoff position by Thanksgiving. Currently third in the Atlantic Division with 24 points (and a 12-8-0 record) behind Montreal (29 points, 14-5-1) and Tamp Bay (28, 13-5-2), they've accomplished that for the time being.
"You know, I think it's not the ideal start that our hockey team wanted, but it's kind of been a roller coaster where we've played some good hockey games, and some bad games, and I think we're still learning that consistent part, game in and game out, period to period," said Chris Kelly. "But last game I thought was a great game. I thought we played a solid 60 minutes against a good hockey team and it was a step in the right direction."
By doing that, and staying in a playoff position despite any adversity, they'll help set themselves up for stronger performances when the team finally gets healthy.
"Getting everyone healthy back is going to be huge," said Kelly. "And not only that, it gives these younger guys the confidence to know that they can play and be productive, and I think it's a huge step forward for our organization, having so many guys that they can count on and rely on that can play big minutes for us."
Practice Lineup 11/20
White Jerseys: Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Seth Griffith
Gold: Matt Fraser/Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Gray: Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson
Burgundy: Simon Gagne - Gregory Campbell - Daniel Paille
Defensemen: Dennis Seidenberg, Dougie Hamilton, Joe Morrow, Matt Bartkowski, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman
Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Niklas Svedberg