When asked about his status, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said he didn't know, "because he hasn't been cleared, to my knowledge."
"So, he can skate right now. As you know with these things, there’s a protocol, so in the playoffs, I tell my trainers, when they’re ready to come back, let me know. Other than that, they belong to those guys."
"So I’ve had no news about Dan as far as him coming back in the lineup. So that’s all I can tell you right now."
Paille took part in the optional skate on Monday at TD Garden before the team traveled to Detroit, but was not on the ice for their pregame skate on Tuesday prior to Game 3.
Jordan Caron has been slotting in on the "Merlot Line" with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton in his absence. Justin Florek has been helping pick up Paille's penalty killing duties, forming a tandem with Campbell.
Florek has remained in the Bruins' lineup, with Chris Kelly still out, skating on a line with Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg.
Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid also got another opportunity to skate with their teammates during the optional on Wednesday. There's no contact, and the optional skates just consist of simple drills.
Julien had first gone to the Bruins training staff on Monday, asking them if the defensemen could skate with the team instead of on their own.
"A lot of it is for encouragement reasons, you know, just those two on the ice together all the time, it gets tough after a while," Julien had said. "Being out there with more players and being able to do a little bit more is a little bit more exciting for them, so I thought, mentally, it would be a good opportunity for them to be with the rest of the guys."
For both of the blueliners, traveling with the team after months of staying behind has to be just as encouraging.
Postseason Rest and Recovery
During the playoffs, with intensity ramped up and the "whatever it takes" commitment level reaching a new high, players take the days in between games to do what they think is best for their bodies and minds.
Unless there is considerable work to be done on the ice or in the video room, the Bruins go about their business.
For one group of Bruins, including Brad Marchand, Reilly Smith and Patrice Bergeron, that often consists of a spirited game of two-touch soccer wherever they can find a piece of open real estate near the locker room.
Usually a hefty group of Bruins take the option of skating, often led through drills by the assistant coaches. The top minute-loggers like Zdeno Chara and Jarome Iginla often opt to stay off the ice.
"During the game, it’s always on. There’s no pacing it - you’re just going as hard as you can with each shift," said Iginla. "During the series, these are the days that it’s 'get what you need personally.' Some guys want to go out and skate, some guys stretch or however you’re feeling, so you kind of monitor that and it’s just about loading up for the games and giving everything you have on game day."
Turning the Page
With a 2-1 series lead after their 3-0 win on Tuesday, the Bruins aren't letting themselves feel any sort of comfort. They've done that song and dance before. This game can change quickly, and they are well aware.
The Red Wings may be feeling some frustration on their part, only being able to get two pucks past the Bruins' defense and Tuukka Rask so far in the series (he's put up a 0.67 goals-against average through three games).
"Not worrying about it," said Johnny Boychuk, when I mentioned Detroit's frustration.
"You have to go into the next game and do the same things you’ve been doing the last couple games. Even in the first game, we played well but you didn’t get the outcome. You just have to try to play stingy D and take one game at a time and try to get that next win to go back home."
Matt Bartkowski drew back into the lineup on Tuesday night, logging 18:34 in ice time, after finally recovering from the flu virus that hit the team last week.
He finally started feeling like himself again this past Saturday, when he practiced for the first time in a week. Day by day, he's gaining his strength back, like Kevan Miller, Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson, who also had to get past the flu.
"I think we got what we needed to get from Bart last night," said Julien. "When you win a game you take the win and you look at his game and for a guy who hadn’t played or hadn’t skated for almost a week or even played, I though he handled himself well and there’s no doubt that he’ll only get better here as he continues to play."
Marchand Being Marchand
Brad Marchand gets under his opponents' skin, even if they don't want to admit. He causes havoc on the ice, and it can often result in ample scoring chances - when he doesn't cross line.
"Well, I think you said the key word there. We don’t want him crossing the line," said Julien. "He’s got to play his game and he’s got to be, again, respectful of the rules. He’s got to be respectful of what we expect from him as well and the only time he’s ever kind of gotten in trouble with us is when he crosses a line. So right now, I think he’s being the Brad Marchand we know, but as long as he stays within the rules, I’ve got no issue."
Julien Gives Thornton His Credit
When Jordan Caron scored his first NHL playoff goal on Tuesday night to put the Bruins up 2-0 in the first period, he did it by "cleaning up the garbage" after a swift backhand toe-drag by Shawn Thornton in tight.
"I don’t think Shawn gets enough credit for his hockey abilities," said Julien. "And people see him as obviously an enforcer, a guy who can take care of himself and can come to the defense of his teammates, but he’s a smart player. He makes smart plays, he gets pucks out, he flips the puck in the neutral zone, he learns to play with his teammates."
"You’ve seen some of his goals this year are pretty impressive and, even yesterday, the way he drove that net, just created that opportunity for Jordan to pounce on it. So, you know, I think he should get a lot more credit for his hockey than he probably does."
Taking a Step Back
With Montreal sweeping their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Julien was asked his thoughts on possibly facing the Habs in the next round.
Hold the phone.
"I don’t know that were going to play Montreal, because that’s the [worst] thing you could ever do, is expect," said Julien. "The last time I looked, I think we were just up by one game. So before we start thinking and talking about that, I think we've got to start doing our jobs here. So, our minds are a long ways away from that."
The Bruins had a good laugh when they found out three of their teammates - Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand and Dougie Hamilton - were featured on the "Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon in his "Superlatives" segment.
"Someone sent me the link of it this morning," laughed Milan Lucic. "It’s pretty funny. At the end of the day, we had something to laugh about this morning, so that's basically it."