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Whitfield Ready to Contribute

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins – As Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien prepares for his team's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow, there’s a lot of uncertainties in the lineup.

Aside from the injuries to Max Sauve, Tuukka Rask, Nathan Horton, and Rich Peverley, the Bruins have four players who are listed as day-to-day.

If needed, Julien will turn to Providece forward Trent Whitfield, who was recalled today on an emergency basis.

“We’re banged up, we got a lot of questions going into tomorrow,” Julien said today at the Tampa Bay Time Forum. “If we can’t have certain guys playing, then he’s available to us.

“I have no idea if he’ll be in the lineup tomorrow or not – it will depend on our situation here.”

If Whitfield does get the chance to play, he said he’s willing to contribute wherever Julien sees fit. The 14-year NHL veteran often plays center, but he can play all three forward positions if needed.

“I’m sure it will be a game time decision,” Whitfield said. “Where Claude uses me, that’s up to him.

"I've just got to be prepared to do the best job I can.”

Whitfield, who has played 193 NHL games and 755 AHL games, understands that he’s here to help alleviate some pressure with the injuries and is prepared to play to play in any situation.

“I’ve done it periodically over my 14 years – I’ve been up and down quite a bit,” Whitfield said. “I’ve been there before; I just prepare like I always do, like I’m going to play and if I do great, and if not we’ll see what happens from there.”

In 2009-10 season, Whitfield played 16 games with the Bruins, including four in the playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers and Julien is happy to have him back.

“He’s been with us before, I thought he was a really good player for us a few years ago when we had a lot of injuries in the playoffs,” Julien said. “He’s got a real good work ethic, he’s got some experience in this league and right now I think that’s what we need.”

With Providence this season, Whitfield has five goals and six assists in 41 games played.

“I’ve had some tough injuries early in the year, and just trying to get my game in order [and] I started to play a lot better as of late,” Whitfield said. “They’re making a big push down there to get to the playoffs – that’s where the focus was.”

Like the Bruins, Providence is dealing with some injuries of their own, including top goaltender Anton Khudobin.

“Like here, we had some injuries too,” Whitfield said. “I feel like every team goes through it this time of year, you have to find a way to win.”

Whether Whitfield fits into the lineup is unclear, but there’s no question he fits in the locker room. With Boston, he’s surrounded by  Providence players Lane MacDermid and Jordan Caron, who has been with the Bruins since being recalled Feb. 4.

“It’s fun. You come in and feel a little bit more at home, whereas if it was your first time with an organization you’d be a little bit uncomfortable meeting everybody for the first time,” Whitfield said. “Coming in, seeing friendly faces, everyone saying, ‘Hi what’s going on,’ – it’s comforting and helps you settle in a bit.”
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