|Matt Bartkowski: ‘Hopefully I play well enough so they can’t take me out’||11.21.13 at 12:40 pm ET|
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).
|Adam McQuaid out for road trip||11.15.13 at 8:17 pm ET|
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.
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|Adam McQuaid misses Wednesday’s practice, still day-to-day||11.13.13 at 10:39 am ET|
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.
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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|
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.
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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|
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.”
|Bruins await word on Adam McQuaid||11.09.13 at 10:54 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid left Saturday night’s win over the Maple Leafs with a lower-body injury in the third period and did not return to the game. Following the game, Claude Julien had little to share on his status.
“It’s hard to give you a real good assessment after the game,” Julien said. “He didn’t come back because he couldn’t. We’ll probably give you more tomorrow when it’s a little bit clearer.”
McQuaid went down in his second shift of the game and first shift following a fight with Frazer McLaren. He was spotted by the Patriot-Ledger’s Mike Loftus walking out of the Garden under his own power following the game without crutches, but struggling to an extent.
If McQuaid is unable to go Monday against the Lightning, Matt Bartkowski could return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch in nine of the Bruins’ last 10 games.
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|Adam McQuaid knows Matt Bartkowski’s situation well||10.08.13 at 9:11 pm ET|
Matt Bartkowski isn’t the first to play the waiting game.
After proving himself capable of being a top-four NHL defenseman last postseason, Bartkowski has been the victim of a numbers game. With all of Boston’s blueliners healthy, it’s essentially down to Bartkowski and Torey Krug for the team’s third-pairing left defenseman. Krug is too valuable to the power play to sit, so for the first two games, Bartkowski’s worn a suit rather than a uniform.
Adam McQuaid knows exactly what that’s like.
McQuaid had played 19 games for in the 2009-10 season (Bartkowski played 11 last year) before playing nine games in the postseason (Bartkowski got in five games this past spring), but when the B’s began the 2010-11 season as the team’s seventh defenseman. To keep sane amidst the his time out of game action, the then-23-turned-24-year-old picked the brain of Johnny Boychuk, who had been through it before. As such, he hopes he can be of help to Bartkowski.
“I know what it’s like to be in that position,” McQuaid said. “When I went through it, I talked to Johnny Boychuk about it, and there’s always that kind of progression where the next guy can talk to you. If I’m lucky enough to be in a position where guys are comfortable [enough] to talk to me, and want to talk to me about different stuff, I’m happy to do so.”
As it turned out, it took an injury to Boychuk for McQuaid to get his chance. A Boychuk arm injury in late October allowed McQuaid to get into 10 games. Later in the season, McQuaid made enough of a case for himself while Mark Stuart was out with a hand injury that the B’s opted to keep McQuaid in the lineup and trade Stuart in the Rich Peverley deal.
The lesson? Don’t get down just because you’re not playing. Injuries happen and everyone gets their shot. The Bruins already have a case of it this year with Jordan Caron, who has in all likelihood turned Carl Soderberg into the team’s extra forward once Soderberg returns from his ankle injury.
“You never know what can happen,” McQuaid said. “The tough thing about it is that a lot of times it’s an injury and you don’t want to see a teammate and a friend get injured in order for yourself to get an opportunity. You just have to stay prepared. Practicing hard, and when you’re at the games, paying attention. Just being ready when you have the opportunity because you definitely want to make the most of it.”
McQuaid sat for the first six games in the 2010-11 season before Boychuk’s injury opened the door for him. Claude Julien has said that the wait won’t be too long for Bartkowski. Whether Krug, Dougie Hamilton or someone else sits, the B’s are going to get him into a game.
“I’ll be very honest — he’s not going to sit up there for a month,” Julien said Tuesday. “That’s not going to happen. We’ve got some good players that need to play. Especially early in the year, you’ve got to give those guys opportunities to play. When that’s going to happen, I’m not sure yet, but certainly don’t expect to see him in the stands for a whole month.”