WILMINGTON, MA - Torey Krug was back skating with the Bruins at their practice facility on Wednesday morning before the team traveled to Montreal.
The defenseman had been labeled as "day-to-day" on Tuesday, when Krug and Adam McQuaid were the only two Bruins absent from practice. Most of the team had stayed off the ice Monday, after a day off on Sunday.
The hope was that Krug would be back on the ice Wednesday, and that proved true. The defenseman was out early to work through some skating footwork, before joining the team for the full skate.
"He's doing well, you saw him on the ice today so he's fine," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "Those couple of days really helped him out a lot."
"Yeah, it was good to get back at it today, get out there, skate around, move around a bit," smiled Krug following the skate, clad in his suit before jetting off to board the team plane.
The extent of an injury, if even that, was never divulged, but the defenseman by all accounts appears fine. And will follow Coach's lead in the information department.
"Just going day by day, wait for the Coach to tell me to play, and then I'll do that," smiled Krug, when asked if he'd be ready to play in Montreal.
While Krug remains a question mark, the Bruins' blueline will definitely be without McQuaid, who remains day-to-day after re-aggravating his lower-body injury. He not make the trip.
The defenseman returned for three games after missing eight straight contest with the injury. It's bound to be a frustrating process for McQuaid, who is experiencing this time of injury for the first time in his career.
The Bruins traveled with seven defensemen to Montreal, with the addition of the steady Kevan Miller, who was recalled by the team on Monday. He slides right into the room, especially after recently playing his first three games in the Spoked-B.
"I got some confidence up here and brought that down [to Providence] and then hopefully if I get the call, I’ll be ready to go," Miller said, upon joining the team.
Four days between games doesn't help the hungry fan, but the time provides a benefit for the Bruins, who had finished up eight games in 13 days, with two back-to-backs.
"We had a couple bumps and bruises and the little extra time – because we’ve played a lot of games so far in a row – just to have a couple days in between, is kind of nice after last year having no days off and going that far in the playoffs," said blueliner Johnny Boychuk, one to always play through said bumps and bruises.
"Finally getting a couple days in between doesn’t hurt. We got some rest and we got to work on some things."
It's not just a time to physically rest up, either.
"Mentally, to reenergize and get refocused," said Krug. "Especially guys that play a lot of minutes, and play often and hard, and we are a team that does that, so it's good to reenergize, mental especially, and get that edge back."
Still, it's important to not let the mind rest too much.
"It's the rest that we needed from playing that many games. At the same time, did you lose a little bit of your momentum? Maybe tomorrow will give you a better idea of that," said Julien.
"We practiced hard the last couple of days & we scrimmaged at the end of practice to put us in game-like situations, sot that we could kind of get some of that rust out and prepare ourselves the best we can."
No one agrees more than the Captain, Zdeno Chara.
"It starts I think with these few days we have," said Zee. "We can’t really be complacent with what we’ve done; we have to look ahead and those games waiting for us are tough games and tough opponents."
Fiery Atmosphere Awaits in Montreal -- As Always
While the Bruins have rested, their other Eastern Conference opponents have continued game action. As such, an idle Boston team has seen Pittsburgh jump one point above them in the standings (39 points to Bruins' 28) and Montreal gain ground with 35 points and a game on Wednesday night in New Jersey to pull even closer.
"That's what keeps you going, that's what keeps you on your toes, is the fact that you have some competition around you," said Julien. "And no doubt, it takes away the complacency that can creep into your team and right now, we're in that situation where we can't afford to take nights off right now, you might have some games in hand, but they don't count unless you win them."
The Canadiens right now have allowed two goals or fewer in their last 11 games. They've picked up an 8-2-1 record in that span.
"Their team has really in the last month stabilized themselves," said Julien. "Defensively, they're not giving much, they're right behind us in goals against."
The Bruins have allowed just 55 goals against for tops in the league, with Montreal not too far behind with 59.
"And right now, they're on a pretty good roll as well. I know we're going to have a tough game and that competition between the two teams every year is good, and it's intense, and it's fun, so I'm looking forward to it."
Juilen's squad is welcoming the challenge of the Bell Centre as well.
"I'm excited, the guys talk about it a lot. I had a preseason opportunity to play there, and it was a lot of fun, even in preseason," said Krug, of the atmosphere. "I know it's going to be high energy; they're playing great hockey and we're playing well, too, so it's going to be a lot of fun playing in there."
"They’re really hard fought and really intense," said Dennis Seidenberg. "And for the audience, there’s no better way to get into games than when guys hit hard and there’s fights and it’s a lot of fun."
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