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Matt Bartkowski: ‘Hopefully I play well enough so they can’t take me out’ 11.21.13 at 12:40 pm ET
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Matt Bartkowski had no intention of coming out of Tuesday’s game against the Rangers when, with Dennis Seidenberg already done for the game, he crashed into the boards and hurt his left leg. He also has no plans on coming out of the Bruins’ lineup.

After getting banged up, Bartkowski missed the remainder of the second period Monday, as he likened it to hitting one’s funny bone and said he “couldn’t really move.” He returned to play the third period and appeared hampered, though he said Thursday that he wasn’t dealing with anything more than a little tightness. He still managed to log over 21 minutes in the game.

“It would have had to be something that the trainers would have had to tell me I couldn’t play,” Bartkowski said Thursday. “There’s five D; you’ve got to play.”

Thursday’s game will be the sixth consecutive contest in which Bartkowski has played for the Bruins, which will double the three games in a row he got last month when Claude Julien did some shuffling on the back end to get him some ice time. With Seidenberg out at least a week, it doesn’t look like Bartkowski will be exiting the lineup in the immediate future.

Obviously, Bartkowski finds himself in a position where he should be extremely motivated. He’s been given games here and there this season, but he has been the team’s seventh defenseman, and this stretch of games provides him as good a chance as any to earn a full-time job on the B’s blue line.

“Of course,” Bartkowski said. “Whenever I do get into games, especially this longer stretch, hopefully I play well enough so they can’t take me out.”

Bartkowski has played the last five games on a pairing with Johnny Boychuk. He’s generally been fifth among defensemen in time on ice (Torey Krug has played less), with Tuesday’s 21:13 the most he’s played in an NHL regular-season game (he played more in overtime games last postseason against the Maple Leafs and Rangers).

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Dennis Seidenberg out for a week, Adam McQuaid getting closer, Kevan Miller to make NHL debut vs. Blues at 11:53 am ET
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Both Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid are out for Thursday’s game against the Blues with lower-body injuries. Given the injuries, Kevan Miller will make his NHL debut Thursday.

McQuaid hopes to return this weekend or early next week, while Claude Julien estimated that Seidenberg will miss somewhere in the neighborhood of seven days. Seidenberg left Tuesday’s game against the Rangers after his first shift and did not return. McQuaid has missed the Bruins’ last five games.

With Seidenberg out and Miller in, the Bruins used a number of different pairings in morning skate, though these seemed to be consistent:

Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Boychuk
Krug – Miller

“He was a big, strong, solid defenseman,” Julien said of what he saw from Miller in training camp. “Moved the puck fairly well, simple play. Again, probably his strength, his battle along the walls and in front of the net, he’€™s a big strong individual. So I thought he played a steady game, I thought he got better as camp went on, more confident from playing some games at this level. So he’€™s got an opportunity tonight to step in and show that he can play against one of the best teams in the league, actually.”

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Adam McQuaid out for road trip 11.15.13 at 8:17 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters Friday that defenseman Adam McQuaid did not travel with the team for its three-game road trip, meaning that in addition to missing Friday’s game against the Senators, McQuaid will be out Monday and Tuesday against the Hurricanes and Rangers, respectively.

McQuaid suffered a lower-body injury in his second shift of the Bruins’ win over the Maple Leafs last Saturday. He left after grabbing his groin area and did not return. Julien did say Thursday that McQuaid was working out and riding the stationary bike, and McQuaid has been spotted at various points over the last week walking without a limp.

With McQuaid out, Matt Bartkowski will remain in the Bruins’ lineup. Bartkowski had a pair of assists in the first period Friday against the Senators, making it his first career multi-point game in the NHL.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Adam McQuaid working out, riding stationary bike 11.14.13 at 11:46 am ET
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Injured defenseman Adam McQuaid still has yet to skate since suffering a lower-body injury last Saturday against the Maple Leafs, but he did take a positive step forward Thursday when he rode the stationary bike.

Bruins coach Claude Julien said he saw McQuaid working out following the team’s morning skate, but that he still doesn’t know whether the team will take him to Ottawa for Friday’s game.

With McQuaid still out, Matt Bartkowski will play his second straight game as he remains in the lineup along Johnny Boychuk.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Adam McQuaid misses Wednesday’s practice, still day-to-day 11.13.13 at 10:39 am ET
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WILMINGTON — Defenseman Adam McQuaid was the only player missing from Wednesday’s Bruins practice at Ristuccia Arena, suggesting he’s likely to remain out with a lower-body injury.

McQuaid left after his second shift of Saturday’s win over the Maple Leafs and did not play Monday against the Lightning. He grabbed his groin area at the end of his last shift Saturday, with Claude Julien saying McQuaid’s injury is to “where he grabbed.” The coach added that he wasn’t sure if McQuaid’s injury was a “day-to-day” situation or a “week-plus.” He gave something of an update following Wednesday’s practice.

“Still day-to-day,” Julien said. “He’s not skating now because he’s not capable of it. We keep hoping that he keeps improving, and we’ll see where he stands by then.”

Matt Bartkowski played Monday in McQuaid’s place and is expected to be in again Thursday against the Blue Jackets. Julien said the team has “no idea” whether McQuaid will travel to Ottawa for Friday’s game.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Bruins not sure if Adam McQuaid’s injury is ‘day-to-day or a week-plus’ 11.11.13 at 12:13 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was confirmed out for Monday’s matinee against the Lightning with a lower-body injury, and the Bruins aren’t sure when he’ll be able to return.

“They haven’t told us whether it’s day-to-day or a week-plus,” Claude Julien said. “I don’t have the answer for you there.”

McQuaid appeared to grab his groin area during his second shift of the game Saturday against the Maple Leafs. He was slow to get off the ice and did not return. Asked to confirm that it was a lower-body injury, Julien said that it was the area McQuaid grabbed as he went down.

“I think everybody knows where he got hurt,” Julien said. “I think he grabbed it quick enough that it was pretty obvious.”

With McQuaid out, Matt Bartkowski will play Monday. He was paired with Johnny Boychuk in Sunday’s practice.

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Offense taking over defense with Matt Bartkowski ready to step in for Adam McQuaid 11.10.13 at 1:36 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Claude Julien said at the beginning of the season that the Bruins wouldn’t let Matt Bartkowski sit for a month. It’s true — they didn’t — but they’ve hardly gotten him into the lineup regularly of late.

With Bartkowski set to step in Monday for the injured Adam McQuaid, he’ll be playing in just the second time in the last 11 games. Bartkowski last played last Saturday against the Islanders, when he posted a minus-1 in a 3-1 Bruins loss.

“It’s just like stepping in for another game,” Bartkowski said Sunday. “I just try and think about that, so it’s nothing new.”

Assuming Bartkowski is in, the Bruins will likely be looking at having one of their young, mobile defensemen on each of their three pairings. Bartkowski was paired with Johnny Boychuk in practice Sunday, while Hamilton skated with Zdeno Chara and Krug — playing on the right side — was with Dennis Seidenberg.

If the Bruins go with those pairings — which are different from the ones they had when McQuaid was scratched in favor of Bartkowski in Florida last month — a Bruins back end that has already become a lot more offensive-minded will take it a step further with half of the defensemen being mobile blueliners.

“We do bring a little bit different game, I guess, with the skating and everything,” Bartkowski said. “It seems like the league has a lot of those D, and it’s good that we can bring that to the team. The solid D core that they’ve had here for years has worked. They won a Cup with it and everything, so for us to be able to add a little bit, it definitely helps.”

On the season, Bartkowski has played in four games, registering one assist and posting a minus-3 rating.

Given that the Bruins entered the season with seven defensemen capable of being NHL regulars, it seemed likely that Bartkowski, the fourth left shot among the seven, would be the odd man out. Yet Julien vowed to get him in the lineup wherever he could rather than letting him collect cobwebs in the press box like many spare parts.

As such, Bartkowski played in three of the Bruins’ first six games. Yet due to steady play from Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton and perhaps a desire on the Bruins’ part to get some consistency during a rough stretch of the season, Bartkowski played in only one of the next 10 contests.

“We all know that under other circumstances he’€™d probably be in the top-4 maybe even on some other teams when he’€™s on top of his game, so he’€™s a good defenseman,” Julien said. “It’€™s just right now we’€™ve got numbers. We’€™ve got veterans that are extremely good, that we’€™ve relied on in the past.

“We’€™ve got some good young players here. ‘€¦ How do you take Krug out of the lineup when he’€™s probably one of your most important guys on the power play? Hamilton is the same way. He’€™s on the power play but he’€™s also played extremely well, so it’€™s not easy to balance those things out. So you make decisions as you go along, you know with time it’€™ll even itself out but he’€™s a good player, he deserves and belongs in this league. It’€™s as simple as that.”

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