BostonBruins.com - Matt Bartkowski has an opportunity to claim playing time.
With Monday's announcement that Kevan Miller is out indefinitely with a dislocated right shoulder, Bartkowksi could be sliding into the lineup on Tuesday night as the Bruins host San Jose at TD Garden.
Miller sustained the injury during a fight in Saturday's game against Buffalo.
Through the Bruins' first seven games of the season, Bartkowski has been a healthy scratch for six of them, watching the action from up in the press box. Looking at his game log, one might naturally label him the Bruins' seventh defenseman.
That's not the way Bartkowski has approached it, though.
"You just have to prepare every day," the defenseman said following Monday's practice at Ristuccia Arena. "Prepare as if you're going to play and that's pretty much all you can do in the situation I'm in right now."
"My mindset isn't that I'm in the seventh defensemen role, if that's what you're asking. If I am the seventh on any given night, then I just work hard in the morning after skate and ride the bike, and that's all I can do."
Injuries happen. The Bruins knew at some point during the season, they would be faced with this situation.
"Yeah, you never want to see it under this circumstance. Millsy's a good friend of mine. I never want to see any of these D get hurt," said Bartkowski, when asked by a reporter about getting into the lineup. "But like you said, it's good to get back in and play some games."
BostonBruins.com - General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced on Monday afternoon that defenseman Kevan Miller has sustained a dislocated right shoulder and will be out indefinitely.
The blueliner suffered the injury during Saturday's game in Buffalo, when he dropped the gloves with Nicolas Deslauriers in the first period. He did not return to the game.
"I think when he fell, he hurt himself, and he came off with pain," Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters on Saturday night from the First Niagara Center.
Miller was absent from Monday's practice, as the Bruins were back on the ice at Ristuccia Arena following Sunday's off day and their three game road trip.
The Bruins skated with six defensemen at practice, and Matt Bartkowski is expected to slot into the lineup on Tuesday night against San Jose with Miller out.
"You know, we have some depth. We talk about that all the time," said Julien. "If there's an area I thought we had lots of it - we talked about it during camp, had to make our decisions who was on the back end - so here's an opportunity to take advantage of that depth we talk about."
"You never want to see it under this circumstance. Millsy's a good friend of mine. I never want to see any of these D get hurt," said Bartkowski, when asked about slotting into the lineup with Miller sidelined indefinitely. "But, like you said, it's good to get back in and play some games."
MONTREAL - The Bell Centre hasn't been kind to Tuukka Rask and the Bruins.
Finishing off a back-to-back in Montreal on Thursday night, the Black and Gold fell to the Habs 6-4 in their rival's home opener.
The Bruins are now 1-1 on their three game road trip that ends in Buffalo on Saturday, and 2-4-0 on the season.
Boston overcame a 2-1 deficit to lead 3-2 late in the second period, but the game tipped in the Canadiens' favor with tough bounces and poor defensive breakdowns on the Bruins' part.
Montreal led 4-3 heading to the final 20 minutes, and sealed their 6-4 win late in the third.
"I don't know, I've got to do something about it," Rask said with a sigh postgame in Montreal, of his troubles against the Habs. "You know, I don't know, I'll figure something out."
"We started good, I felt good in the first and then you get that one bounce, 'OK, we'll battle through it.' Then you get another one and you're like 'OK, doesn't matter,' and then you get a third one, and then you're kind of like 'OK, it's one of those nights again', so it's just - I've got no answer."
MONTREAL - A quick look at the schedule heading into the 2014-15 season showed that the Bruins' October 16th meeting with the Canadiens wasn't going to present an easy situation for them.
Boston would be heading into Montreal on the second end of a road back-to-back, with the Habs ready and waiting to kick off their first game at the Bell Centre and put on a show for the home crowd.
The Black and Gold made it tougher on themselves, starting the season at 1-3-0, with just four goals, and the lineup in flux as they tried to find the right mix.
But they made it much easier on themselves Wednesday night, by providing their best effort of the season with a 3-2 shootout win over the Red Wings.
"It helps a lot," Milan Lucic said postgame from Detroit, before the team jetted off to Montreal. "You see when we play determined to win, and when we focus on just playing a hard, heavy game, it gives us success, so we have to have the same mindset going into [Thursday] night."
Lucic knew which question would be coming next, so he decided to rattle off the answer himself.
"We know we're heading into Montreal, home opener, they beat us last year in the playoffs," he said, not blind to the storylines heading into the first Bruins-Habs tilt since Game 7.
"But we can't think about that - we just have to think about going there and winning ourselves a hockey game and coming out successful out of this road trip."
DETROIT - The Bruins needed a win.
They needed something positive, an ounce of that feeling of victory that had been lost since they squeaked out a win in the season opener on October 8.
They finally earned it on Wednesday night in Detroit, taking down the Red Wings 3-2 in the shootout, before quickly jetting off to Montreal to face the Canadiens in their home opener on Thursday.
It was a much needed jolt.
"I thought we played a real good game," Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame in Detroit. "It was a tough win, but a win I thought we deserved."
"You know, it's nice to see us come up with a win in probably the best game so far this year. We did a lot of good things."
"We definitely came out with a lot more energy, played our game more than we we in the last couple, so it was good," Smith said. "I think we showed we're a much better team than what we showed the last four games."
DETROIT - The Bruins hit the ice for a pregame skate on Wednesday morning at Joe Louis Arena, prior to facing the Red Wings for the second time in the past week.
Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. ET in Detroit (NBCSN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
The Bruins come in looking to build off a strong showing against Colorado despite the last second loss. They hope to kick-start their three game road trip with a much needed two points against Detroit in Game No. 5 on the season.
"It's more of a 'need' thing now. We got better last game and we need to build on it," said Dougie Hamilton.
The Wings, meanwhile, sit at 1-1-0 with their only win coming over the Bruins last Wednesday in their home opener. They lost 3-2 to Anaheim in the final 24 seconds on Saturday.
"You don't get any moral victories in this league, obviously," said Detroit Head Coach Mike Babcock. "Both Boston and us have both lost right in the last second there recently. Both teams really need wins. Should be fun."
Boston is in desperate need of goals, having only scored four through their first five games. As a result, Tuesday's practice heavily emphasized crashing the net and finding seams to get more pucks on goal. The talk around the locker room has been centered around scoring goals from the "dirty" areas.
They were at home in Quebec in July, hosting their annual Pro-Am Gagne-Bergeron charity hockey game.
Gagne had been training. He was in good shape. He wanted to return to the NHL.
With a year out of action, a contract would not make sense for NHL teams. He wasn't waiting for a contract. But he was hoping for a tryout.
“I’ll see Peter in the next couple weeks and talk to him about you,” Bergeron told his friend, knowing full well his GM would be the one making the decision on whether to reach out to Gagne or not.
"I just mentioned it to Peter that he was there, available and wanted to play and that was it," Bergeron said. "I definitely didn't make the decision, but I just told him that he looked good on the ice and the rest was up to management and them to make a decision."
As it turned out, Chiarelli called Gagne's agent. Gagne spoke with Julien.
"Things went really good from that point on," Gagne recounted. "A couple days after that, I had the tryout contract on my table and I signed it right away."
WILMINGTON, Mass. - The Bruins hit the ice for practice on Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena before flying out to Detroit to begin a three-game road trip against the Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.
Prior to practice, GM Peter Chiarelli announced that the club had signed forward Simon Gagne to a one-year contract (cap figure of $600,000). In other roster transactions, the Bruins waived Bobby Robins for the purpose of assignment to Providence and assigned Jordan Caron to Providence.
The trio skated together for a significant part of camp as well. Gagne is a left shot but has mostly played on the right wing in his time with the Bruins.
"My conversation with Peter was, 'whatever it takes'," Gagne said following practice. "And I'll be whatever - if I have to be the extra guy, on the fourth line or a guy who will replace some guys when things aren't going well, or injuries, play on the PK, power play, whatever it takes, I'm here to help the team win and I'm really happy I have a chance to get back to the League with a good team, so I'm open to everything."
"And we'll see how it starts [on Wednesday against Detroit] - I think I'm starting with Piesy and Spooner - so if Claude wants me to play there, I'll play there."
BOSTON - David Krejci knows well what winning a game with less than a second feels like, having stolen the Bruins a win early in the 2013-14 season with 0.8 left on the clock.
On Monday afternoon, those emotions were flipped, as he watched Daniel Briere find the back of the net with just 0.4 left in regulation to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 win over Boston.
The Bruins dropped to 1-3-0 on the season.
"It's tough, you know, but nothing you can do about it," Krejci said from the Bruins' locker room postgame. "We thought the last minute, that it was going to overtime, but you've got to play till the last second, and they scored - so it is what it is."
The Black and Gold were coming off two efforts that they deemed "unacceptable" by their high standards, with the latest 4-0 loss to the Caps serving as a tipping point, especially for the Bruins' leadership group.
"It's going to sting a lot more, especially within the last second of the game," said defensemen Matt Bartkowski, who slotted into the lineup in place of Kevan Miller. "More importantly, there were a lot of things we did well and I thought we could have been rewarded a little bit more, but there's a lot to build on, which is a key thing, and what we need to focus on right now."
BOSTON - David Krejci has been cleared for game action, as the Bruins host the Colorado Avalanche in a Monday matinee at TD Garden.
Head Coach Claude Julien confirmed the news to reporters pregame.
Game time is set for 1:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
The Bruins are looking to get back on track, following two straight losses to Detroit and Washington.
Though Krejci's presence will certainly give the team a boost, Julien has stressed that one individual won't make a difference for the Bruins - they need a team-wide effort to have success.
The Avalanche come into Monday having been shut out in their first two games (a home-and-home series against Minnesota), searching for not only their first win, but also their first goal of 2014-15.