Practice in Winnipeg: Kelly Day-to-Day; Iginla, Miller Gameday Decisions vs. Jets
WINNIPEG - The Bruins traveled from Minnesota to Winnipeg on Wednesday and hit the ice at the MTS Centre for a practice, in advance of their game against the Jets on Thursday night.
Jarome Iginla and Kevan Miller both joined the team for practice for the first time since missing the past two games against Philadelphia and Minnesota with what had been deemed as minor, day-to-day situations that they could have played through, had it been the postseason.
Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's skate that he would make any lineup decisions regarding Iginla and Miller on Thursday.
"They skated for the first time here with the team today [on Wednesday]," said Julien. "We've got to see how they are tomorrow and I get to make that decision afterwards."
"I felt good today," Iginla said following Wednesday's skate. "I don’t know for sure anything, but felt good and it’s coming along well and I look forward to getting back in, whenever that is."
"It was just something minor," said Miller of his own situation. "We’re just trying to maintain it and like Claude said, if it was playoffs, it would be a different story. So just trying to be careful with it."
"It’s not something too serious and with some rest and maintenance I’ve felt pretty good, so it’s good; I feel better now."
While Iginla and Miller were back, Chris Kelly was absent from practice.
"Day to day," Julien said of Kelly's status. The forward played just one shift in the third period of Tuesday night's game against the Wild. "It’s not something major but it’s something that needs to be addressed."
On Wednesday afternoon, the Bruins recalled Ryan Spooner from Providence on an emergency basis. He was not at the club's practice at MTS Centre, but was set to join the team in Winnipeg and be eligible for Thursday night's game versus the Jets.
Given that only three games remain in the regular season, Thursday could possibly present another night of lineup juggling. It's something that Boston wouldn't necessarily be able to do right now - resting players and getting them fresh for the playoffs - if they weren't atop the League.
"It is a good luxury, but at the same time, you never want to get out of the lineup," said Miller. "Guys always want to play. You can tell someone’s sitting up there, they’re not happy about it, but it is good going into the playoffs to have guys be 100 percent rested."
Krug Gets Wing Time
Boston played seven defensemen and 11 forwards, with Iginla staying out of the lineup, and David Krejci getting the night off.
"I just asked him yesterday if he’d played forward and he has," said Julien, of the decision. "I thought he did a good job - he knew exactly where to go on draws and the forecheck and stuff like that, and it’s always a good thing to know of a player, because there are times where you want to dress seven Ds or you’re short forwards and you’re not in a position to have a callup."
"I thought he did a good job up there. He made some good passes, he made some good decisions, so it was, I guess, refreshing for me to see that you can utilize one of those guys up front."
The last time Krug had played at forward was when he was in Bantam Major, three or four years before he went to Michigan State. The B's bench boss had spoken to him about it prior to pregame skate, and then told him before warmups at Xcel Energy Center to take rushes as a forward.
"They were excited; I told them to have fun with it," said Krug, of his linemates, Campbell and Thornton. "Feel bad for them, they got stuck with me, but I think we all had a little bit of fun with it."
"You understand the game in general a little bit more and how things work," he said, of getting a greater appreciation - even with just one game - for his teammates' work up front.
"Back and forth, little bit more skating than on defense, and that’s always the case for a defenseman playing forward for the first time — a lot of forecheck, lot of back check," smiled Julien.
Krug added, though: "I'll be excited to move back to defense."
Staying Sharp with Three Games Left
The Bruins are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the Wild in which the they thought they didn't play tight enough, especially in the final minute of regulation when Minnesota scored with an extra attacker to force overtime.
Late in the regular season, with playoffs on the mind, the easy approach could be to let up. As such, Wednesday's skate was down-to-business.
"You’ve got to have a practice like we did today. It was based on being sharp and some intensity and it doesn’t have to be long; it just has to be good," said Julien.
"Guys have to understand that these last few games do mean something. It means staying sharp."
"You don’t want to start the playoffs on a negative note because you just kind of coasted through your last few games. And again, we’re in a position here where we can finish at the top of the League and all we've got to do is show up and play."
"They’re getting lots of rest, short practices; I don’t think our team is fatigued at all. No more than any other team. So we’re fine here."
Seidenberg and McQuaid Skate
Following Wednesday's skate, Julien confirmed reports that defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid had been on the ice on Tuesday at the Bruins' practice rink, Ristuccia Arena, in Wilmington, Massachusetts.
"Yeah, they were on the ice, but they're not even close," said Julien. "Again, we've got to be careful we don't get all excited about this, because in his case, he's just starting to skate and with the injury he's had, he's not even close to being able to get somebody to push on him or you know, take a hit or anything like that, so it's a long-term injury and obviously the rehab is going to take a while, so he's just more out of boredom that he's strong enough to go out there and just skate on his own, but that's all it was, for both of them right now."
Julien added that McQuaid's situation is "nothing different," despite the skate.
"Again, the doctors haven't even told me anything about those guys being close, so I can't count on [having] those guys."