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Zach Hamill hopes to make another good impression 12.13.11 at 1:26 pm ET
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He’s no Gregory Campbell, but Zach Hamill is ready to step in and center the fourth line Tuesday against the Kings.

The B’s recalled Hamill Monday night from Providence, and as fans will remember, the former eighth overall pick impressed in his brief stint in Boston last month. He assisted a Jordan Caron goal while playing on the third line in place of the injured Rich Peverley against the Oilers, and even stayed in the lineup at the expense of Benoit Pouliot the following game.

This time around, Hamill figures to play on the fourth line, which enforcer Shawn Thornton dubbed the “Merlot Line” two seasons ago. It’s a tougher line that relies on a grind-it-out style and tries to throw as many pucks on net as possible. Hamill admitted Tuesday that he’ll have to adapt to their style a bit, but that he isn’t concerned.

“Yes and no,” Hamill said when asked whether being on the fourth line means he’ll need to ramp it up physically. “I go out there every night and try to compete. I’m not going to go out there and hit 15 guys. Go out there and compete on pucks, go to the net and be good in all three zones.”

This season, the last of Hamill’s deal with the B’s, has seen more bright spots than seasons past. He was drafted as a center in 2007 and played the position in Providence until this season, when he began playing as a wing primarily. He had 13 points in his first 16 games in Providence, and impressed in his two NHL games.

“I think I was coming in here in the start with an open mind, coming in here and trying to get better every day, and that’s what I’ve kind of been doing,” Hamill said of the strides he’s made this season. “I’ve still got that mindset. I’m not looking too far ahead and not looking back also. It’s kind of been just going forward and keeping my mind on myself.”

Hamill’s been getting a lot of work on special teams in Providence, being relied on when the opponent has a 5-on-3, and feeling that this season has made him a more complete player.

Said Hamill: “I feel like I can play on any line. If it’s a skill game or keeping it a more simple game, I think I can do that. I think my work ethic and my versatility kind of shows that I can do that.”

While it’s been a generally positive season for Hamill, he’s been quiet on the stat sheet of late. He has just one point, a goal, over his last nine games. All things considered, he feels good about his game and hopes he can continue to make a better impression than he may have in previous seasons.

“It’s been a little slower stat-wise [in recent games], but I think everywhere else, I’ve felt that I’ve been playing pretty good,” he said. “The chances are there. I’m shooting the puck more. I think my shots have been going up, so it’s been good. A lot of penalty-killing and getting out there and kind of playing situational roles.”

Read More: Zach Hamill,
Morning skate notes: Zdeno Chara to travel with Bruins 12.13.11 at 11:49 am ET
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Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask will be between the pipes Tuesday as the Bruins take on the Kings at TD Garden. Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s morning skate that he intends to play Thomas Wednesday against the Senators.

Gregory Campbell was not on the ice for the morning skate. He will miss Tuesday’s game and will “probably not” play Wednesday, according to Julien. Campbell is dealing with a foot injury, and Zach Hamill is expected to center the fourth line in his place.

Daniel Paille, meanwhile, underwent a neuropsych evaluation Monday. The winger said the team was still awaiting results on the test, with Julien adding that he could play if he is cleared before the game. Paille took part in the morning skate.

Zdeno Chara (leg) did not skate, and will miss Tuesday’s game. Julien did say, however, that the captain will travel with the team to Ottawa Tuesday night. The coach said he was unsure whether Campbell would go.

Read More: Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, Tuukka Rask, Zach Hamill
Bruins recall Zach Hamill 12.13.11 at 10:23 am ET
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In a sign that both Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell might not be able to go Tuesday against the Kings, the Bruins have recalled Zach Hamill from Providence.

Hamill has played two NHL games this season, picking up an assist while with the team last month. He got off to a hot start in Providence this season but has only one point over his last nine games.

Campbell was in a walking boot Monday after taking a shot off the foot Saturday in Columbus. Paille is working his way back from a light concussion suffered last Thursday. He practiced Monday for the first time since the injury.

Read More: Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, Zach Hamill,
Bruins prepared to play without Zdeno Chara, however long that may be 12.12.11 at 7:54 pm ET
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The Bruins are going to be without Zdeno Chara — reportedly for at least a week — but the B’s captain isn’t ready to count himself out for even Wednesday’s game against the Senators.

“There is no time frame when I’m going to be back, but most likely I won’t be playing tomorrow,” Chara said Monday at Ristuccia Arena. “That’s as far as I can tell you right now, because honestly it’s at a stage where we can’t really talk about any further than 24 hours ahead.”

Chara injured his left leg in a collision with Antoine Vermette Saturday night in Columbus. The Boston Globe reported Sunday that he would miss at least this week, and could potentially held out until after Christmas.

The 6-foot-9 defenseman has not missed more than five games in a season since signing with the Bruins prior to the 2006-07 season. With that being said, he understands that injuries do occur, and that he hopes to return as quickly as he can.

“It’s just the nature of this sport. In any sport, you do get hurt. Injuries do happen, and there are some things as players that you can’t control,” he said. “They do really happen. As a player, really your job is to try to do your best with the treatments and rehab to get yourself back and on the ice with the team as fast as possible. That’s what I’m trying to do right now, but also at the same time, you don’t want to rush it. You want to be smart about it.”

With Chara out, the Bruins practiced Monday without drastically shaking up their defensive pairings. Claude Julien simply subbed in Steven Kampfer for Chara on his pairing with Johnny Boychuk and left the Dennis Seidenberg Joe Corvo and Andrew Ference Adam McQuaid pairings alone.

It will be Kampfer’s first NHL game since Nov. 17, though he played two games for Providence when the B’s sent he and Jordan Caron for some game action earlier this month.

Assuming Chara does indeed miss the team’s games this week, Kampfer, who played in three straight games last month, will get the opportunity to do so again here. For a seventh defenseman, playing time and opportunities in the lineup may come sporadically, but a week’s worth of game action will give him time to get settled in and shake off any rust.

“I think you can always get a rhythm, even if you’re not playing,” Kampfer said. “You get in for one game, you’re practicing, you’re playing well and you’ve got the guys around you that are keeping you in a rhythm, so it’s definitely easier when you’ve got a team playing as well as we are.”

With Chara out, Seidenberg, who is averaging 24:12 of ice time per game (second only to Chara’s 24:28), could see an increased work load. He wouldn’t complain if that were the case, though the B’s probably don’t want to tire their second best defenseman.

“It’s up to the coaches,” Seidenberg. “We’ve been playing pretty even minutes these last few games. Guys have been playing pretty great as a group, and no matter who’s on the ice, [Doug Houda] feels comfortable putting them out there.”

With all the hoopla surrounding Chara’s injury, it’s clear that the best news is that it isn’t serious enough to keep him out for significant time. The B’s have good depth defensively, but removing arguably the best blueliner will certainly create a challenge for the B’s. It’s a challenge the other defensemen think they can handle.

“I think that some of the other forwards on the other teams will probably be in better moods, but that’s probably the biggest change,” Ference said. “He’s a big presence. Guys don’t like playing against him. He’s obviously a huge matchup against other teams’ top lines. That’s something that there’s quite a few of us back there that have played against top lines and top two lines in the league. It’s not like anybody’s getting outside of their comfort zone.”

Read More: Dennis Seidenberg, Steven Kampfer, Zdeno Chara,
Call-up might be necessary as injury bug continues to bite Bruins 12.12.11 at 2:48 pm ET
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The Bruins, already without defenseman Zdeno Chara for Tuesday’s game against the Kings, might need to make a call to Providence in order to ice 12 forwards.

Center Gregory Campbell, who did not practice Monday for the Bruins, is in a walking boot and is considered questionable for Tuesday’s game with an injury suffered when he was hit in the foot with a shot.

While Campbell may be out for the B’s, the team did see the return of Daniel Paille to the ice. Paille, who suffered a concussion Thursday, said he has not been feeling symptoms and that he hopes to get back in the lineup this week. Bruins coach Claude Julien considers Paille day-to-day.

If both players are unable to go, the B’s would need to call up a player from Providence in order to ice four full lines.

“I think that’s something we’re probably going to look at,” Julien said, “and either later today or tomorrow morning, if need be, we’ll be calling somebody up.”

Julien said he doesn’t know whether Campbell has had x-rays taken of the foot, but that the center has been walking with a limp.

Said Julien: “He’s in a walking boot limping, and he’s had treatments here this morning, so I don’t know exactly what the final verdict is more than that he told me he was questionable.”

Paille said that he was feeling symptom-free and good enough to get back in the game Thursday, but that the team kept him out as a precaution. Additionally he still has visible scars on his face from the Steve Staios shot that hit him in the face last month, and he’s also fighting a cold. It’s safe to say Paille’s had better luck in the past, but he isn’t complaining. His main focus is getting back in the lineup, and after taking limited contact Monday (his first time back on the ice since being hit by Krys Barch), he hopes that time will come this week. He’ll need to pass a neuropsych evaluation before he can do that.

“Obviously, if I can [play Tuesday], I will, but obviously at this point I haven’t discussed it with Claude or Peter [Chiarelli],” Paille said, adding that he’d “like to” be back for at least one of this week’s three games.

If both Paille and Campbell are unable to go Tuesday, one option for the Bruins might be forward Zach Hamill, who has experience at both wing and center and picked up a point in a two-game stint with Boston this season. Hamill got off to a hot start in Providence this season, but has just one point, a goal, over his last nine games.

Read More: Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, Zach Hamill, Zdeno Chara
Daniel Paille returns to practice, Gregory Campbell, Zdeno Chara absent 12.12.11 at 11:12 am ET
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WILMINGTON — Zdeno Chara wasn’t the only one to miss Monday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena.

Fourth-line center Gregory Campbell was also absent for the B’s as they hit the ice to prepare for games on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Kings and Senators, respectively. It could simply be a maintenance day for Campbell.

The good news the Bruins received on the injury front was that Daniel Paille was back on the ice and skating with the Merlot Line. Paille suffered a concussion Thursday on a hit from Krys Barch and did not play Saturday against the Blue Jackets. With Paille back, each line had three players for a total of 12 forwards Monday. Jordan Caron remains on the Merlot Line.

Here were the defensive pairings with Chara out with a leg injury:

Dennis SeidenbergJoe Corvo

Andrew FerenceAdam McQuaid

Steven KampferJohnny Boychuk

Read More: Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, Zdeno Chara,
What are the Bruins without Zdeno Chara? 12.12.11 at 12:22 am ET
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What are the Bruins without Zdeno Chara?

It could be argued that since coming to Boston, No. 33 has been the Bruins’ best player. He’s a nightmare for star forwards, and he executes a simple-sounding but difficult job impeccably: Play upwards of 25 minutes a game, be out there when their best players are on the ice, and see to it that the only guys scoring goals are wearing black and gold.

Now, with Boston Globe reporting Chara will miss at least the next three games and possibly be kept out until after Christmas with a leg injury suffered Saturday night, the Bruins will be without their best player.

The absence of Chara means Steven Kampfer will return to the lineup. Kampfer played three games for the B’s last month when Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk missed time, and the second-year blueliner was a plus-2 over the three games with ice time ranging from 9:07 to 14:49.

Chara, who is as serious about his conditioning as he is on the ice, has been an iron man for his ability to stay in the lineup. Since being traded to Ottawa prior to the 2001-02 season, the 6-foot-9 defenseman has missed more than eight games in only one season. That season was the 2005-06 campaign, and he missed 11 games.

In his five full seasons since signing in Boston, Chara has played at least 80 games every season with the exception of 2007-08, in which he played 77 games.

The last game that Chara missed for the Bruins was Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Canadiens. With Chara out with an illness, the B’s dropped the contest, 3-1, with the series looking like it wouldn’t last much longer if Chara were to remain out.

Chara returned for Game 3, and Claude Julien’s super-pairing of Chara and Dennis Seidenberg went on to become a primary reason as to why the B’s won it all.

Chara has played primarily with Boychuk this season, and it will be interesting to see how Julien approaches the defensive pairings with Chara out. Seidenberg obviously becomes the de facto No. 1 defenseman, but will Boychuk remain on the top pairing?

The Bruins saw last year against the Habs that they’re a far less dominant team without Chara in the lineup. For a team that was built around having the league’s best blue liner and strong centers, the next week or so will say a lot about what the Bruins are without a major pillar. The results weren’t so pretty in April, but the B’s were able to stick it out for the remainder of their 5-3 victory over the Blue Jackets.

Ultimately, the biggest bit of news regarding the injury is that it isn’t significant enough to put a major dent in his season. The other good news is that this isn’t the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, and that though Chara’s an integral part of the operation, the B’s have been producing enough offensively (with and without Chara, who’s having a career year) to motor through the next week without him. Still, it should be a good test, as the B’s will play back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday against the Kings and Senators, respectively, and will play the Eastern Conference-leading Flyers on Saturday.

Read More: Zdeno Chara,
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