Already without Adam McQuaid, Johnny Boychuk, Chris Kelly and Loui Eriksson due to injuries, and Shawn Thornton due to an indefinite suspension, the Bruins lost another regular in their win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Sunday night.
During their 5-2 win in Toronto, the Bruins were forced to once again skate the majority of the game with just five defensemen, the fifth time this has happened this season and the second time in three games. This time it was Dougie Hamilton who left the game with a leg injury. Hamilton was sent back to Boston for further evaluation and will miss the Bruins upcoming games in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
After scoring his first career National Hockey League goal, Kevan Miller left the game late in the third period after being boarded by Maple Leafs Captain Dion Phaneuf-who has a phone hearing with the league Tuesday morning. Phaneuf was not penalized on the play.
According to Claude Julien Miller should be fine. The rookie did make the trip to Calgary for Tuesday’s contest.
With Hamilton out for at least the next three games its clear the Bruins need to find a replacement for Hamilton, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the replacement will come from Providence.
According to Julien, Boychuk could practice with the team on Monday and return to the lineup Tuesday against the Flames, just five days after leaving the Bruins 2-1 loss in Montreal with a back injury. If Boychuk is unable to go the Bruins will then be forced to call up a defenseman from the American Hockey League.
With the rash of injuries of late, the Bruins depth at both the NHL and AHL level has been tested. Julien has been very pleased with the performance of everyone in the last two games, including guys like Miller, Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser who have all been called-up from Providence in the last few days.
“You’ve got to believe in your system and what you want to accomplish. “The way we play is a very demanding way of playing” said Julien. “But we feel that our scouts and upper management have done a good job of giving us the types of players that can play that game. So even the guys that are being called up, they play a similar style in Providence. It’s about believing in what your team is all about and going out there and doing it, whether you’re a young player or an older player.”
Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug are prime examples of Bruins players who have had success at the NHL level after developing their skills in Providence, the Bruins hope that rings true for Miller, Spooner, Fraser and anyone else that gets the call-up from Providence.
If Boychuk is unable to suit up for the Bruins Tuesday, David Worsofsky or Zach Trotman are the two candidates most likely to join the Bruins in Calgary.
One good thing coming from the crazy amount of injuries is that the Bruins are able to showcase their prospects and really show the rest of the league how talented they are at the minor league level, something that can be used to their advantage when the trade deadline rolls around.
Regardless of who is in the lineup, and who is out, this three game road trip out west will show exactly how much character the Bruins have. If I was a betting man I would say the Bruins will be just fine.