BUFFALO Claude Julien said that Shawn Thornton (concussion), Daniel Paille (eye) and Brad Marchand (shoulder) are all game-time decisions for the Bruins in their Sunday night tilt versus the Buffalo Sabres. Its the exact same boat they would have been in Saturday night if theyd played the home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning that was ultimately postponed due to a blizzard.
Thornton, Paille and Marchand will all suit up for pregame warm-up at the First Niagara Center on Sunday night. It appeared that both Paille and Thornton would be in the lineup based on line rushes at morning skate.
Theyre all game-time decisions. Thats what I told them all: to be ready, said Julien. We have to look at things here. I just talked to the trainer and were going to put some guys on the ice for warm-ups. Then itll be up to me if I want to go forward with certain guys or not.
Both the fourth-line wingers were in their customary spots skating with Gregory Campbell as the Merlot Line. Thornton and Paille have both missed two games since each player was injured in a tumultuous home loss to the Sabres almost two weeks ago, and its clear both players would like to jump back into the lineup for an important divisional game.
They dont even know who is starting, said Julien. I told them to both be ready.
Marchand didnt take part in the line rush drills on Sunday morning as Rich Peverley was skating in his second line left wing spot alongside Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton.
Interestingly enough Anton Khudobin was the first Bruins goalie off the ice at the First Niagara Center on Sunday morning which usually denotes that nights start for Claude Julien, but the Bruins coach said hed told both goaltenders to be ready to start against Buffalo on Sunday night.
Khudobin has played in only one game in the first three weeks of the season, and likely would have been the starter tonight if Tuukka Rask had played against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while touching back down from the Windy City of Chicago.
*The Calgary Flames step away as one of the big winners in the NHL Draft weekend after securing defenseman Travis Hamonic on Day 2 of the festivities.
*Here’s a good piece on a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, and the lengths that hockey families will go to better their career chances.
*Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion sure sounds like a guy that’s working to try and deal Dion Phaneuf away from the Sens, doesn’t he?
*Cool story about the second round pick of the Los Angeles Kings, and a family background that is just going to become more and more commonplace as time goes by. Congrats to the family on what must have been a great weekend in Chicago.
*The Flyers are loading up on draft picks and trading some veterans, but don’t dare call it a rebuild in Philadelphia.
*Speaking of picks from Saturday’s second day of the draft, the Blue Jackets actually drafted a kid from the same hometown in the French Alps, Grenoble, as Andre the Giant. That is pretty damn noteworthy.
*For something completely different: I’d always wondered about the backstory with the father in the Toy Story movies, and this is certainly a major bummer of a background story.
CHICAGO – The Bruins finished up their 2017 NHL Draft class with a bit of a project, but a 6-foot-5 defenseman with some great skating wheels is a pretty good way to go with a seventh round pick. The B’s nabbed Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Daniel Bukac with the 204th pick in the draft, and admitted afterward that he’s an ultra-big bodied player that could take some time in the development process.
Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley said Boston is more than happy to be patient with Bukac given the tools that he’s working with as an 18-year-old prospect. Bukac had two goals and 17 points to go along with 38 penalty minutes in his first season in North America after coming over from the Czech Republic, and Bradley said that B’s scouts noted that he continued to improve and get comfortable as the season wore on.
"He's raw. He's a project. [He’s a] kid from the Czech Republic that played in the Western Hockey League,” said Bradley. “At the start of the year - he's come leaps and bounds with his development. Talking to the people - the coaches, the management, and the GM in Brandon, they're very excited about him coming back to Brandon. They're expecting big things from him. We look forward to seeing him in camp."
Bukac is starting to garner some good international experience after playing for the Czechs in the Under-18’s and the Ivan Hinkla Tournament, but this weekend it was all about his addition to the talented group of Bruins prospects in the hockey world.
"I'm so excited to be drafted by the Boston Bruins," said Bukac, who described himself as a solid two-way defenseman with a good first pass. "It's an awesome feeling. I'm so glad that I was drafted by Boston."