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Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller return to Bruins practice 04.19.14 at 1:49 pm ET
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Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller both practiced Saturday after missing Friday’s Game 1 loss against the Red Wings with what was believed to be the stomach flu.

Following the skate, Claude Julien offered little update on their potential status for Sunday’s Game 2. Prior to the practice, Daniel Paille skated with Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg. All other players were accounted for at practice, with the lines looking like they did in Game 1:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Florek – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Campbell – Thornton

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

Read More: Kevan Miller, Matt Bartkowski,
Bruins Game 1 lineup: Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller all out 04.18.14 at 7:12 pm ET
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Not only were Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly and Matt Bartkowski absent from warmups Friday night before Game 1, but Kevan Miller was missing as well.

Paille (head), Kelly (back) and Bartkowski (likely the flu) missed each practice this week, while Miller missed Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s before practicing Thursday and missing Friday’s morning skate.

Offensively, that means the B’s will play with both Justin Florek and Jordan Caron in the lineup, while Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter will also play. The team’s lineup in warmups was as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Florek – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Campbell – Thornton

Chara – Boychuk
Krug – Hamilton
Meszaros – Potter

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

Read More: Kevan Miller, Matt Bartkowski,
Andrej Meszaros ready to step in if Matt Bartkowski unable to go for Bruins at 11:44 am ET
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Matt Bartkowski was once again not on the ice Friday for the Bruins’ morning skate, meaning he has not skated at all this week. Bartkowski, who was spotted in the Bruins’ dressing room Friday after showering, may have been one of the Bruins battling the flu this week.

With Bartkowski’s status for Game 1 against the Red Wings in question (Claude Julien is not giving updates on his players), Andrej Meszaros could be called upon to play Friday night to play on the second pairing alongside Johnny Boychuk. If he is, he says he’s ready.

“Yeah, if I play, I’m ready to go,” Meszaros said Friday morning. “I can’t wait actually to start the playoffs. It should be fun.”

The Bruins acquired Meszaros, a left shot defenseman who can play both sides, at the trade deadline from the Flyers for a conditional draft pick. Assuming everyone on Boston’s back end is healthy, Meszaros would likely serve as an extra defenseman.

The fact that the Bruins’ opponent is Detroit makes the situation all the more interesting, as Meszaros had one of his worst games as a Bruin in Boston’s 3-2 loss to the Red Wings on April 2. Meszaros, who was paired with Boychuk for that contest, was a minus-2 in the game and was exposed by Detroit’s speed.

In particular, Darren Helm flew by him in the neutral zone with the B’s on the power play in the second period before Tuukka Rask stopped the shorthanded bid. He was also on the ice for Tomas Jurco’s game-tying goal in the third period.

“They’re a really, really good team,” Meszaros said. “They have a lot of skill and a lot of speed. We have to be ready for that and match their intensity. It’s going to be a fast game.

“We should have won that game, but obviously we didn’t,” he added. “We had a lot of chances. [Jimmy] Howard played way too good. You have to put pucks on net and get traffic in font and get as much traffic as we can. When you go to the net, you’ve got score goals.”

Meszaros was rotated in and out of the Bruins’ lineup down the stretch and has played 14 games with two goals and there assists for five points with the B’s. He admitted there was an adjustment when he came over, but says he’s all caught up now.

“I understand everything. Everything is fine now,” Meszaros said. “I know the system, so it’s just about execution and playing hard and playing the right way that they want me to play.”

Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Johnny Boychuk, Matt Bartkowski,
Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller miss Bruins practice; Dennis Seidenberg skates again 04.16.14 at 11:12 am ET
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WILMINGTON – Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly both missed Wednesday’s practice. Both players missed the team’s final game of the regular season, with Kelly sitting out the last three with back spasms and Paille suffering what appeared to be a head injury in the team’s second to last game.

Also missing from practice were defensemen Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller. Claude Julien had said numerous Bruins were battling the flu Tuesday, but Patrice Bergeron, Andrej Meszaros and Loui Eriksson were all back at practice Wednesday as missing Tuesday’s skate.

The Bruins’ lines in practice were as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Florek – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Campbell – Thornton

Dennis Seidenberg skated again Wednesday, marking at least his third straight day on the ice. Seidenberg was on the ice for about 25 minutes and did the same thing as Tuesday, working with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides as he did big circles, then smaller circles, shot and practiced taking pucks on the blue line and moving across it.

Adam McQuaid was not on the ice Wednesday and did not skate Tuesday.

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

Read More: Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Kevan Miller, Matt Bartkowski
Andy Brickley on M&M: Dennis Seidenberg should not supplant Kevan Miller 04.09.14 at 1:30 pm ET
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NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about Dennis Seidenberg, the injuries to Jarome Iginla and Kevan Miller, where Andrej Meszaros fits on the depth chart, the play of Matt Bartkowski and more. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

With momentum picking up on Seidenberg playing in the postseason at some point, fans have started to wonder where the defenseman would be on the depth chart. Brickley said he didn’t think that the 32-year-old should be slotted back on the top pairing at the expense of Miller, who’€™s played well in his absence.

“I just find it so difficult to put a guy that’€™s not a hundred percent, or depending on what percent he is, in front of say, Kevan Miller, who’€™s been getting the job done, who’€™s in top form, who’s game-ready and ready to go and proven that they have trust in this guy,” Brickley said.

Miller and Iginla both missed Tuesday’€™s matchup with Minnesota, despite making the trip. Brickley is confident both will be ready to go for the playoffs.

“€œIf this was playoff hockey right now, I’€™m convinced both would be able to play,”€ Brickley said. “€œIt’€™s all about maintenance, it’€™s all about rest, it’€™s all about precautionary, those are the terms you’€™re going to hear right now. Because the Bruins put themselves in this position, they have the options to really focus on the middle of April and not so much on the results and having guys play right now.”

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Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Boston Bruins, Dennis Seidenberg, Jarome Iginla
Adam McQuaid still not skating; Claude Julien not ruling out defensive rotation in playoffs 04.05.14 at 4:46 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien said Saturday that he is not ruling out a rotation of defensemen going into the postseason.

Matt Bartkowski and Andrej Meszaros figure to be in the biggest positional battle for the left spot on the second pairing along Boychuk, and the two have taken turns playing that role in recent games. Bartkowski played with Boychuk in Saturday’s win over the Flyers, while Meszaros played with Torey Krug on the third pairing and struggled.

“It doesn’€™t have to be a set six,” Julien said. “It could be, and it could also be a rotation as long as everybody’€™s good enough to be in that rotation. So no, and I don’€™t see any rush for that decision to be made yet.”

The idea of a rotation is intriguing given that Bartkowski and Meszaros have both spent time in and out of the lineup this season and might be better prepared to avoid rust, though for consistency’s sake the B’s would be wise to nail down a steady second pairing that could continue the play they got from the Andrew Ference – Boychuk pairing of postseasons past.

Kevan Miller seems to have solidified a place in the postseason lineup, as he played 33 straight games for the B’s leading up to his day off Saturday. His competition would be a healthy Adam McQuaid, but Julien said prior to Saturday’s game that McQuaid, though getting better, still is not skating. McQuaid has been out since Jan. 19 with a quad strain that has plagued him throughout the season, as he has been limited to 30 games.

The anticipated postseason pairings at this point figure to be Zdeno Chara with Dougie Hamilton, Bartkowski with Boychuk and Krug with Miller, though that could change depending on who they end up facing.

Read More: Adam McQuaid, Andrej Meszaros, Matt Bartkowski,
Bruins can see different looks, weigh options in final regular-season games 04.04.14 at 1:39 am ET
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The Bruins haven’€™t won either of their last two games and it doesn’€™t matter. What a hilarious stretch run.

They care, of course, but the team has reached a point in its schedule that most other teams don’€™t get to have: the time for not only rest, but mixing and matching in preparation for anything the B’s might encounter when the injuries inevitably come in the postseason.

The most obvious case of this has been Loui Eriksson. The last two games have seen Eriksson used on both David Krejci‘€™s line (in place of a resting –€“ er, lower-body injury suffering –€“ Jarome Iginla Wednesday) and Patrice Bergeron‘€™s line (Claude Julien flipped Eriksson and Reilly Smith starting in the second period Thursday).

Giving Eriksson some time on both of the top two lines is a wise move for the B’€™s late in the season. Should a top-six winger suffer an injury in the postseason, Eriksson would be the most likely option to move up in the lineup, so getting him some level of comfort with those players provides a good insurance policy. When he gets back in the lineup, the Bruins would be wise to use Carl Soderberg at center on one of the top two lines with that line’s center resting.

Rich Peverley used to serve in that role for the B’€™s, as he got used to playing with pretty much every other forward despite usually serving as a winger on the third line when everyone was healthy. The most notable case of this came in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, when Peverley played on the right wing of Krejci’€™s line after Nathan Horton suffered a series-ending concussion.

Of course, Eriksson already has experience playing with Brad Marchand and Bergeron from earlier in the season, but he hadn’€™t played on that line since Dec. 7, as Reilly Smith seized the second-line right wing job while Eriksson was recovering from his second concussion of the season. Eriksson had not played with the Krejci line this season, as the only other game prior to Wednesday that did not feature the Milan Lucic - Krejci – Iginla trio was when Soderberg and Daniel Paille filled in for a sick Lucic in Anaheim.

Eriksson playing on the Bergeron line Wednesday could also be a case of Julien weighing options given that Smith has just one goal in his last 25 games. However, Julien said earlier this week that he’€™s reluctant to change his lines prior to the postseason.

“Right now, there’s no doubt that you could always move guys around, but when you look at our third line, it’s been so productive,”€ Julien said. “You look at all our lines. Even if [Smith]‘s not producing, Bergy’s been producing really well, so our lines are producing right now.”

Meanwhile, the different looks on the back end have continued. Julien has yet to make clear his intentions for his six postseason defensemen, though the assumption is that the biggest spot up for grabs is the second-pairing left side job currently held down by Matt Bartkowski. He and Andrej Meszaros are both battling for that job, and the last two games have seen one of them play on the second pairing with Johnny Boychuk while the other was scratched.

Neither one has dazzled thus far this week. Meszaros, who scored Sunday against the Flyers, was a minus-2 Wednesday against the Red Wings, and was part of an odd Red Wings goal that came after the puck was caught in his pants. Bartkowski was also the victim of some bad luck, as the puck was lost in his skates on a first period play before Paul Ranger got the puck and sent it past Chad Johnson.

Though Bartkowski has over 500 games less of NHL experience than Meszaros, he is more experienced in the Bruins system and has already served as a top-4 defenseman for the B’€™s in the playoffs, which he did in the second round last season against the Rangers.

Julien has five games left to see different looks and weigh his options.

Read More: Andrej Meszaros, Loui Eriksson, Matt Bartkowski,
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