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Who Will Step Up?

by Samantha Wood / Boston Bruins
More history will be made. Satan and Savard were first. But who's next? (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
Philadelphia, PA – Injuries plaguing the Bruins lineup has been the obvious story of the season. With various ailments taking out almost every player for at least one game, battling injuries is nothing new.

We all know that.

The other, less obvious, and perhaps more compelling, story of the season has been unlikely heroes. From the very veteran Mark Recchi playing like a rookie, to the rookie Tuukka Rask stopping pucks like a legend, to the journeyman Miroslav Satan finding a home in Boston halfway through the season, to the injured Marc Savard making a Hollywood-worthy come back -- they all came in and came up big.

And now, with David Krejci out of the lineup, the Bruins lineup has opened up for one more forward, who will get one more chance to surprise us all.

The obvious candidates are Trent Whitfield and Brad Marchand, both of whom played most of this season with the Providence Bruins. Though the two Canadian centermen have played together both in Boston and in Providence for over a season now, Whitfield and Marchand are close to complete opposites.

In addition to the B’s, the 32-year-old Whitfield has played with the Washington Capitals, the New York Rangers, and the St. Louis Blues, punctuated by several AHL teams over the years as well.

“I’m real excited. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to go in there,” said Whitfield. “I’ve played some playoff games in the past at this level, so I kind of understand a little bit of what to expect. 

“It’s been a few years, so I don’t know what to expect come game time if my number gets called. I’ll just try to do the best I can.”

This season, he saw ice time in 16 games with the Boston Bruins, registering one assist and seven PIM.

“It’ll come back quick for me -- it always has. I’m confident that I’ll be ready to go,” Whitfield added.

The 21-year-old Marchand played his very first NHL game earlier this season with the B’s and has since seen time in 20 games. He’s logged one assist and 20 PIM.

After practice at the Wachovia Center yesterday, head coach Claude Julien insisted that he has not decided which of the two will get the nod to fill in for Krejci.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that have been around our team now for a while,” said Julien. “I think I’m going to keep my decision probably for tomorrow.

“I’ve still got a whole day to sort things out here and we’ve got a lot of guys capable of jumping in and doing the job. It’s a matter of picking and choosing who we want.”

However, no matter whose name gets printed on the lineup tonight, he will have big skates to fill with Krejci out of commission.

In nine playoff games this season, Krejci has put up 4-4=8 totals. The 24-year-old is tied with teammate Dennis Wideman for the Bruins number-three leading scorer.

Though Krejci was busy recovering from surgery yesterday and obviously absent at practice, the wise Shawn Thornton explained the situation for the gathered media.

“He’s an unbelievable hockey player and will be missed,” Thornton said of his teammate.

“The adversity that we’ve been through should help. A guy like that’s tough to, almost impossible, to replace, but having been through it before should help a little bit.

“Somebody’s going to have to step up now. It’ll be an opportunity for other players and you’ve got to make the most of it, whoever it may be.”
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