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Need to Know: Bruins at Flyers

Backes a healthy scratch; DeBrusk, Wagner good to go in Philadelphia

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

PHILADELPHIA - It has been quite some time since David Backes was in this position. So much, in fact, that it took a bit for the veteran forward to remember exactly how long it's been since he was a healthy scratch.

"I think it's been 12 years in between them," Backes said following an optional morning skate in at Wells Fargo Center.

That streak will end when Backes sits out the Bruins' tilt against the Flyers on Wednesday night. With Peter Cehlarik recalled from Providence to play with David Krejci, and Jake DeBrusk (lower-body) and Chris Wagner (illness) both good to go after missing Tuesday's practice, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was left with the difficult decision of sending someone to the press box.

"Worst thing as a coach, I've always found, is telling players they're not in the lineup, telling players they're going down to the minors," said Cassidy. "This is one of the more difficult ones. He's a guy that's been a captain in the National Hockey League, a real good soldier, a good player for a long time in this league. But honesty I still believe is the best policy."

Video: Cassidy discusses lineup adjustment

Backes took the decision in stride and spoke with the media following a lengthy on-ice session after the conclusion of morning skate, saying he is opting to go with a positive approach as he tries to find a way back into the lineup.

"You've got a couple options on how you react," said the 34-year-old, who had been playing the right wing alongside Krejci and DeBrusk in recent games. "Either you cry and moan and go into a shell or work your butt off and try to find your spot back in the lineup. The latter obviously has a lot more appealing outcomes than the former and that started this morning with some good work out there."

Both Backes and Cassidy agreed that it has been a challenge for the former St. Louis captain to adapt to the changing pace of the NHL. While he has reached the 20-goal plateau six times in his career - twice scoring 31 - Backes has been known for his rugged, gritty approach, a style that has become far less prevalent in recent years.

"That's part of the adaptation to the new NHL - the younger, faster, more speed emphasis type of league, rather than the station to station," said Backes. "Some of that is foot speed, per se. At 34, am I gonna all of a sudden turn into Jake DeBrusk's type speed? I think that's a fallacy if you're hoping for that.

"But predictability among line mates…I think when I was playing with a more simple, straight, north-south type of line that's predictable, you can anticipate, you can get going more and [it] gives you an appearance that you're playing with a ton of pace and a ton of quickness and speed."

Video: Backes speaks to media about healthy scratch

Cassidy admitted that he believes Backes to be a good fit playing alongside Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari, a spot he succeeded in for a handful of games earlier this season. But with Kuraly, Acciari, and Chris Wagner playing strong hockey of late, it has been hard to find Backes a home.

"When you look at the lineup…well, [Patrice Bergeron's] line is one of the best in hockey. You've got Noel's line that's really come a long way and has been an important factor in us winning games, especially in the last little while," said Backes, who has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 38 games this season.

"The kids [Danton Heinen, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, and Ryan Donato] seem to have found something together. And then I was trying to fit with Krech and JD and it wasn't phenomenal by any means and they're gonna try Peter there.

"You start doing some simple math, and a bag skate and a little bit of a reset was in the cards and here we are."

Having said that, Cassidy did not rule out the possibility of Backes getting right back into the lineup against his former team when the Blues visit to TD Garden on Thursday night. Cassidy also said defenseman John Moore, who has been a healthy scratch for the last two games, could play against St. Louis.

"If this means I sit tonight and I'm fresh against my old squad tomorrow, then maybe we'll find a silver lining there and we can be a big contributor tomorrow night," said Backes. "Tonight I'll be watching from the press box with a couple other good players here. When you've got three good players in the press box, I think that's a good sign for your team's depth.

"We can take it a couple ways, and I'm working to take it the right way and make it a reset and a shake up to let's get going here."

Video: Cehlarik in, Backes out

Opposing View

Following a 3-2 overtime loss to Montreal on Monday night, the Bruins visit the Flyers as they look to right the ship and collect their 10th win in the last 14 games. Philadelphia enters the teams' second matchup of the season fresh off a 7-4 victory over Minnesota on Monday.

Rookie goalie Carter Hart will get the start in goal for the Flyers. The 20-year-old is 4-5-1 with a 2.69 goals against average and .913 save percentage in 10 games.

"They've just come off a nice win at home," said Cassidy. "Their goaltender, a young kid in there, seems to be getting more comfortable. It's been an issue, with the goaltenders they've gone through. They're finding stability there. It's obviously an important factor - and the fact that they've got veteran guys that can score.

"We've seen it with [Jakub] Voracek, [Claude] Giroux, [Wayne] Simmonds, go down the line. They're a big team when they skate, they possess the puck. They're a tough team to handle. For us, we've got to counter that and force them to defend."

Giroux is Philly's leading scorer with 50 points (14 goals, 36 assists) this season, while Sean Couturier paces the Flyers with 16 goals.

Video: DeBrusk talks improvements, Cehlarik

Bjork Banged Up

According to Cassidy, forward prospect Anders Bjork was not considered as a possible call-up this week because of a shoulder injury that has kept him out of the P-Bruins' lineup since Dec. 30. Bjork had a goal and two assists in 20 games with Boston this season, before notching a goal and nine assists in 13 games in Providence.

"I'm not sure where he's at with it, if it's surgery or he's out," said Cassidy. "I know he was out indefinitely. He wasn't factored into this particular call-up conversation."

Wednesday's Projected Lineup

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Peter Cehlarik - David Krejci - Jake DeBrusk
Danton Heinen - Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson - Ryan Donato
Sean Kuraly - Noel Acciari - Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - Kevan Miller

Jaroslav Halak
Tuukka Rask

Scratches: David Backes, Steven Kampfer, John Moore

Video: Cehlarik readies for first NHL game of the season

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