Kessel and Krejci are in tonight’s lineup, Yelle out
|03.12.09 at 11:08 am ET|
David Krejci and Phil Kessel both missed Wednesday’s practice with minor bumps and bruises, but will be in the lineup against the Ottawa Senators tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden. Kessel appeared to injure his left arm during Tuesday night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets while Krejci took a shot off the foot during the game as well. Stephane Yelle will miss his third straight game with an “upper body injury” after tumbling back against the boards versus the Blackhawks.
“They should be good to go,” said Julien of Krejci and Kessel. “Stephane won’t go.
Rookie Byron Bitz will again center the fourth line with PJ Axelsson and Shawn Thornton, a spot that he manned during the majority of his collegiate career at Cornell University prior to signing with the Bruins. So it’s not exactly unfamiliar territory for the unusually composed young guy.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder certainly gives the Black and Gold a bit more of a size and strength package up the middle with smaller centers like Marc Savard, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron holding up the other pivot positions.
“I think he’s done a pretty good job there,” said Julien of “Bitz Cat”. “He’s done a good job because he’s played (at center) most of his career, and he played there a lot when he was Providence last year as well. This was the first year where they utilized him more at a wing and we wanted to see him play that game as well.
“It’s not much of an adjustment when you’ve played (center) most of your career,” added Julien.
–Julien also said that he doesn’t feel that his Bruins club is that far off after watching a solid win over the Chicago Blackhawks and tight, competitive losses to highly motivated hockey clubs in New York and Columbus over their last two games.
“Anybody who has watched us closely knows that the effort has been there the last three games,” said Julien. “It takes timely goals and timely saves that you hope to get along the way. We’re working on those situations and creating them, and our goaltender is trying to make that extra save we need.
“It doesn’t mean because we’ve lot a game that we’re playing bad hockey,” added Julien. “I don’t know that we’ve lost a game 8-0 or 8-2 like some of the teams at the top of the standings have done this year, so we can’t be that bad.”