WILMINGTON, Mass. --
Although the plan may change, on Monday Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien said that in the wake of blueliner Johnny Boychuk
's arm injury, his club would keep the number of available defensemen at six.
"I think it’s one of those situations where we’ll take it day by day, I guess," said Julien. "That’s the way that we intend on starting Thursday, as we speak.
"Then if there’s any reasons to want to change something, then we’ll...look at maybe Providence and bringing a seventh guy with us.
"We do have some road games coming up again, and maybe we’ll want to carry an extra body. But as we speak today, we’re content with six," he said.
The remaining defensemen feel that they can handle the load.
"I think we were equipped deep enough...to replace a loss like Johnny," said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg
to bostonbruinsTV. "But again, I think we need to just play our system and support each other well, and we’ll be fine."
Boychuk was a "minutes eater" (averaging 20:11 time on ice) who played on the power play and the penalty kill, so some serious slack must be taken up by the six healthy B's defensemen.
"Everybody is going to have to pick up a little bit," said Seidenberg. "I mean, I don’t know if Zee [Zdeno Chara
, 28:16 average TOI] is going to pick up any more minutes than he played last game, but I think the other guys can definitely chip in a little bit more."
"Collectively, we’ll have to eat up some more minutes," added fellow blueliner Matt Hunwick. "I know Adam is coming into the line-up and you know, he’s been good for us when he’s been in our lineup.
"We’ll have to make some adjustments on our special teams.
"Johnny was a power play guy and a PK, so everyone will have to chip in and we’ll have to be a little bit better."
However, even beyond his sheer size (6-foot-2, 225-pounds) Boychuk has been at the top of his game since he became a full time player last season.
"We’re going to lose a guy that plays, you know, 24 to 25 minutes a night," emphasized Hunwick to BostonBruins.com. "He was our only right handed [defenseman] in the lineup.
"Now Adam is our only right handed defenseman, so you know, we’ll have lefties playing the right side."
"Well, he’s a right-handed defenseman, which was big on our unit," said Dennis. "So that’s going to be missed for sure.
"His shot. He’s got a huge shot. Always plays tough. He plays hard, physical hockey.
"I think his whole presence is going to be missed. Definitely," he said.
Hunwick, however, looked at the schedule and around the locker room and explained that the B's can overcome the absence of Boychuk.
"We’ll be kind of all over the place, but you know, that’s the way it’s been this season overall, so we’re all going to have to come together," said Hunwick. "I think, collectively, our team has been pretty good defensively.
"I think we’ll be all right."
But the Bruins can't play "all right" on Thursday, when Phil Kessel and the Toronto Maple Leafs drift into town.
"I mean, no matter who the opponent is, we have to play our game," said Hunwick. "We have to break the puck out. We have to jump up on the rush and do all the little things that make us who we are, and no matter who the opponent is, we’re going to go out and try to play our best game.
"Toronto brings a physical presence, and they also have some scoring in Kessel and [Kris] Versteeg and their second line has been good this year, so you know, we’ll have a challenge on our hands."