WILMINGTON — Rugged Chuck Kobasew , he should have his name officially changed given the reckless abandon that he routinely displays on the ice, has been one of Boston’s hottest forwards during the second half of the season, but Kobasew wasn’t a participant in today’s practice — along with P.J. Axelsson, Andrew Ference  and Dennis Wideman  — and saw his name listed with the rest of the walking wounded following Tuesday night’s loss to the Ottawa Senators .
It could be that Kobasew is in the same “maintenance” rest realm that Axelsson and Wideman reside in with three games remaining before the long, cold, merciless road through the Stanley Cup  playoffs. B’s coach Claude Julien  seemed to hedge at simply labeling Kobasew’s undisclosed malady as a simple maintenance issue, however, which begs the question “How serious is Kobasew’s undisclosed issue?”.
”Yeah, it’s a maintenance day,” said Julien in agreement with the maintenance query, ”But having said that, he’s like the other two guys [Axelsson and Wideman]….he’s day-to-day.”
If all three players remain on the maintenance shelf following tomorrow’s morning skate, then Julien could potentially call up a forward or a defenseman to fit his club’s needs. Providence defenseman Johnny Boychuk  was up for a cup of coffee earlier this season when injuries hit and Vladimir Sobotka played in 23 games for the Black and Gold this season — so they would likely represent the P-Bruins front-runners if an injury necessitates a Thursday call-up. Matt Hunwick and Steve Montador’s matching abilities to play both forward and defense potentially give Julien the freedom to tap either a forward or D-man for the vacant roster spot.
Stay tuned, as the B’s should know by tomorrow morning if a healthy body from Providence is needed for a sure-to-be statement game against a Montreal Canadiens  team — a team that the Bruins have a palpable dislike for and a team that still may just find themselves in Boston for the first round of the Cup playoffs.
”We could find that out later today,” said Julien when asked about potential Providence call-ups. ”Or it could be tomorrow morning….if it’s the same as today, if we’re only 19 [roster players], we will need someone to come up.”
Julien, for one, is putting plenty of import on the final regular season game against a Habs team still licking their wounds after dropping two straight against the Senators and Rangers. On top of that the Canadiens have lost top defenseman Andrei Markov and Mathieu Schneider for at least the first round of the playoffs due to injury, and appear to be sliding back after a decent spurt over the last few weeks. The Habs are still hanging on to the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, but Sean Avery  and the Rangers lurk only one point behind with two games remaining for each hockey club.
“Is it a rivalry, or (are the Canadiens) possible playoff opponents?” asked Julien rhetorically. “Whatever they may be, it’s all of the above and we need to be honest and realistic that we don’t know what’s going to happen with the few spots that are available. We approached the Rangers game (like a playoff game), and there’s no reason to approach it any other way.”