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Stuart medically cleared, game-time decision for Game 4

05.07.10 at 12:54 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — The revolving door continues.

Defenseman Adam McQuaid goes down in the first period of Game 3 with a lower body injury and all of a sudden Mark Stuart is medically cleared to play coming back from cellulitis in his left hand. It has been the way the Bruins have rolled this year — a deep roster of capable players mixed with a little serendipity.

“Yeah, still a game-time decision but if they call my name I am ready to go,” Stuart said. “Yeah, it is just me and the other guys to see who is going. For now it [the decisions] is in warmups, after warmups, something like that.”

The other decisions of which Stuart speaks would be between him, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Andy Wozniewski and Jeffrey Penner. It is hard to imagine that coach Claude Julien would take one of the two rookies (Bodnarchuk, Penner) or lifetime AHL blue liner Wozniewski over a relatively healthy Stuart. Even if McQuaid was not injured, Stuart still should get the nod coming back. He is a solid top-four NHL defenseman and when he is playing well, the Bruins defensive corps is deep and that much tougher to crack. Stuart said that it is a little bit different coming back for the playoffs — the intensity is must higher — but it would be the same for him as the other defenseman who have been sitting all playoffs.

“Yeah, a little bit. It usually comes back pretty quick. You try to get your mental game going as quick as you can and hope that the physical part catches up. I have been on the ice and it feels good but now it is just a matter in getting in some games,” Stuart said.

Stuart’s injury is a bit of an odd one as there is actually nothing structurally wrong with him. Cellulitis is a bone infection and he has been on antibiotics treating it. The biggest fear would be to contaminate the infection, there is a lot of other people’s sweat and potentially blood in a hockey game. Yet, if the staff has medically cleared him, there should be no reason not to suit him up. He has been skating and working hard to come back for the last week and it seems that he is ready to make a go of it.

“It has been quite a bit in a short time. I would not say rushing it but like I said before I have the luxury of the guys playing so well and getting some wins,” Stuart said. “I don’t know if it will be harder or easier, actually. It is playoffs, it is fun. You kind of get into the intensity early. I have not played in the games but watching them and being around the guys you definitely feel the energy.”

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