BOSTON – The first Bruins practice prior to the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs took on a little bit of an optional feel for the Black and Gold with seven bodies missing from the on-ice portion of Tuesday’s skate at TD Garden. Forwards Loui Eriksson, Patrice Bergeron, Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly were all missing from practice, and defensemen Kevan Miller, Matt Bartkowski and Andrej Meszaros were also absent from a practice that ran for just under an hour.
Claude Julien confirmed following Tuesday's practice that the flu bug has hit the Bruins, and they've been dealing with is since last weekend. Paille was spotted in the building during practice, and it appears his absence from practice was more injury-related than flu-related. The B's bench boss wouldn't confirm any of this, however.
"The flu bug has hit our team right now," Julien said. "We're trying to manage that situation the best we can right now. We're trying to keep them away from the others. It started off just before Saturday's game with certain players, and it's just evolved from there. As far [Wednesday] is concerned, you hope that is the end of it and your players start coming back."
Both goaltenders were present, as was emergency call-up Justin Florek after getting pulled back to Boston following another impressive game against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday afternoon. Florek would be a natural replacement for either Paille or Kelly should either forward not be able to answer the bell against the Red Wings on Friday night at the Garden.
Here are the forward combos and D-pairings based on the sparsely attended Monday morning session: