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Practice Notebook: Pastrnak Still Not Skating, Vatrano Showing NHL Poise, Marchand Adding Leadership to Line

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

WILMINGTON David Pastrnak was absent from practice on Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena, as the Bruins returned to work following Monday’s off day.

He did not travel on the Bruins’ recent three game road trip, where they went 1-2-0, picking up a win on Sunday against the New York Islanders after losses to Washington and Montreal.

Pastrnak has not skated in more than a week. He had a bone contusion on his foot after taking a puck there on Oct. 27 when the Bruins played the Arizona Coyotes at TD Garden.

“He’s still not ready to go obviously,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following Tuesday’s practice. “Again, I haven’t much from our training staff but to me, they told me he’s not available. So it doesn’t look good I guess as we speak, because of that.”

“I thought I was expecting him to maybe be back today, so we’ll see what comes out of that.”

A reporter asked Julien if they had ruled out the possibility of Pastrnak having a small fracture in his foot that may not have been revealed by the initial X-ray.

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Julien said. “Really, to be honest with you, I think they’re still assessing that. They gave it a weekend to get through it and I think today [Tuesday] was probably one of those days where they’re going to re-evaluate it again, but I haven’t heard at this moment, whether the evaluation’s been done or what’s come out of the evaluation.”

“It’s happened before and we always fear those things, you know, when guys get hit in their foot,” he said. “And we had a couple of guys last game get hit in the foot as well, so there’s always that fear and sometimes there’s some damage in there is not dangerous, you’ve just got to put up wit the pain and some other ones you have to be careful with, so those are things you have to deal with when there’s foot injuries.”

Torey Krug was also absent from practice. Julien said the defenseman was given a maintenance day.

Marchand, Beleskey Swap Lines

During practice, Brad Marchand skated alongside Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes, with Matt Beleskey skating on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brett Connolly.

“It’s been a little bit of a change, but they’re two great players,” said Marchand, who rarely plays apart from Bergeron. “Haysie has been playing well this year and Spoons has been playing great too, so it’s a great opportunity to try something new and spark something.”

Julien didn’t make the move based on play, but more so on distributing leadership.

“No matter what’s being said out there about March, my main reasoning behind that was that he wants to be a leader and when you put him with a guy like Spooner who’s a young centerman and Haysie who’s in his first year here, it gives him that opportunity,” said the bench boss.

“It’s easy to not have to do too much when you’re right next to Bergy, you know, so I thought he responded well and I thought he played a real good game and helped that line be a real good line, so right now that’s what we had in practice and I don’t see any reason why I should or shouldn’t make that change.”

“So we’ll see as time goes by here and like I said at the beginning of the year, there’s lots of reasons this year to move guys around.”

“I think you want to play the right way and lead by example in that way,” Marchand said. “I’ve got to make sure that I’m playing within the system and get Spoons and Hayser to do the same thing.”

Beleskey adds size to Bergeron’s line and his dogged game is similar to the centerman’s.

“I think he’s got the same type of style that I like to play, which is kind of North-South, go in on the forecheck, create some turnovers,” said Bergeron. “He’s got a great shot so I’m going to try and find him for that also, and he’s relentless, he works hard and that’s definitely something that I like to bring as well.”

“I think so far I like the way we saw each other on the ice and also Brett, I was used to him playing with him and Brad for the last 7, 8 games now so we just need to keep working on that.”

Vatrano Shows NHL Poise

Frank Vatrano has played two NHL games, first making his NHL debut and scoring his first goal in Montreal on Saturday night before playing his second game against the New York Islanders on Sunday.

“Getting accustomed to NHL life has been really good and hopefully I can stay up here for much longer,” said Vatrano.

With the big club, Vatrano has been playing on a line with David Krejci and Loui Eriksson.

“I like the fact that he’s a shooter, that’s why we’ve got him on one of our top lines,” said Julien. “I think he can produce for us there.”

“But at the same time, I like the fact that he’s really taken the other areas of the game seriously and he’s done a great job in our own end and he’s done a great job through the neutral zone, coming back the back check has been good — so all of those areas that are not always necessarily fun to do but that are important, he’s caught on to that.”

“My D zone is something I wanted to work on a lot and I know that’s something I needed to pay extra details to when I’m out there,” said Vatrano. “And I’ve been doing that when I’ve been on the ice.”

While it has only been a two game sample size, Vatrano’s poise has already been oft mentioned.

“He doesn’t seem nervous; he seems confident and he seems determined,” said Julien.

Vatrano brought the confidence from his first pro month in Providence.

“Just staying positive and ‘keep playing the way you’re playing,’” he said of his daily mindset with the P-Bruins. “Eventually, you keep playing good, you’ll get the call. But that wasn’t something I wasn’t too worried about — I was worried about playing down there and getting as much minutes as possible and trying to produce as much as I could so I think just by playing good every day, I got this opportunity.”

Trotman Gets Back Into Action

Zach Trotman slotted back into the lineup over the Bruins’ road trip, suiting up on Saturday in Montreal and Sunday in Brooklyn. It marked his first games since the season opener on Oct. 8.

“There’s that situation where we thought Zach deserved to get another shot,” said Julien, who had said a couple of weeks ago that Trotman had deserved an opportunity to get back into the lineup. “He’s been working hard, so obviously it’s been a little bit of a challenge for everybody to try and get four right Ds [into the lineup].”

Kevan Miller moved to play the left side with Trotman returning to action.

“For the most part Kevan Miller has done a pretty good job of that,” Julien said of the switch. “There’s some adjustments there.”

“But I think Trots himself has handled himself well. He’s been assertive. He had a good scoring opportunity the other day. His shots are getting through, where at the beginning they weren’t so definitely that time off to be able to watch a little bit seemed to help him come in here a little bit more determined to play a tighter game and more assertive game.”

Prepping for Home Stand

The Bruins return from their road trip to host a five game home stand through Nov. 21, starting with the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.

While the recent trip didn’t go as planned, with a lack of discipline and poor penalty kill highlighting the first two games, the Bruins rebounded on Sunday — and will be looking to bring that play into this week.

“We’ve shown some progress from the first few games — we’re a lot more in sync than we have been,” said Julien. “I think right now probably the biggest thing we struggled with is that the consistency in holding our game together from start to finish and I think when we do that, we have success, so I think that’s a work in progress right now, is having some consistency throughout that 60 minute period.”

With only one win this season at TD Garden thus far, Boston needs to focus on building momentum at home.

“I think we’ve seen our team play well at home, but only in spurts,” Julien said. “I think that’s been the biggest problem.”

“For the most part our team’s been really good this year in starting off games, but the fact is we’ve let our game slip at times and it hasn’t taken much for other teams to get back into it and we’ve paid for it. I think the home situation that we’re in right now with this home stretch is going to be about extending those good stretches and making it last as long as we can, but that’s all about consistency.”

Practice Lineup 11/10

Gold Jerseys: Matt BeleskeyPatrice BergeronBrett Connolly

White: Frank VatranoDavid KrejciLoui Eriksson

Gray: Brad MarchandRyan SpoonerJimmy Hayes

Merlot: Zac RinaldoJoonas KemppainenTyler Randell

Defense: Zdeno Chara, Colin Miller, Joe Morrow, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman, Dennis Seidenberg

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Jonas Gustavsson

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