- Big Bad Blog - http://bigbadblog.weei.com -

Julien: Ference ‘hopefully back soon’

Bruins coach Claude Julien [1] knows a little experience could go a long way to restoring some order his blue line.

On Saturday, Andrew Ference [2], who’s been out since Jan. 5 with a groin injury, skated with the team in warmups prior to the tilt with Vancouver. He was scratched and missed his 14th straight game.

“He’s coming along and I think he’s getting better and hopefully we’ll see him back soon,” Julien said “There’s no doubt, I think there’s some experience missing back there and when you don’t have that, to me, a defenseman is like a quarterback on a football team. If you get guys moving the puck well, your offense benefits from it as well.”

The Bruins have lost Ference and fellow veteran defenseman Mark Stuart [3] with a broken pinkie finger. That doesn’t include Zdeno Chara [4], who is playing with a bad pinkie himself that will likely require surgery after the season.

With the two blueliners out and Chara hurting, the Bruins have had to rely more heavily on second-year defenseman Matt Hunwick [5] and rookie D-men Adam McQuaid [6] and Johnny Boychuk [7].

“We’ve got Hunwick, who’s in his second year, and then we’ve got two guys who are in their first year, so we’re lacking a little bit of experience back there, there’s no doubt,” Julien added. “But that’s not to take away anything from the guys who are in their first year. They’ve done a great job for us.”

So what the Bruins didn’t need was another injury to a defenseman – and a scary one at that. A bloodied Boychuk took a shot to the left side of his face from Mikael Samuelsson midway through the first and had to be helped off the ice by Blake Wheeler [8] and Chara.