McQuaid a 'possibility' for opening night due to illness

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McQuaid a 'possibility' for opening night due to illness

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

Adam McQuaid missed his second straight day of practice with a fluvirus according to Bruins coach Claude Julien, and the strapping defensemen has been listed by his coach as a possibility for tomorrow nights opener against the Philadelphia Flyers.

McQuaid stayed away from the team on Tuesday, but reported to the Garden on Wednesday for treatment while skipping over practice. Its no wonder that more Bruins players didnt come down with some kind of cold after spending two days on the water in rainy Maine during the team-bonding activities.

Hes still sick. Hes battling a flu, bug or a virus, said Julien. He came in today and we decided to keep him off the ice. But hes getting better. Tomorrow Id say he is a possibility.

If McQuaid cant play a highly unlikely scenario given that the illness doesnt seem too series then it would fall on rookie Matt Bartkowski to fill out the six starting defensemen for the Bruins on banner-raising night.

Julien said the starting lineup was beginning to take shape for Thursday night, and that will be a competitive situation among the bottom six forwards in particular. Rich Peverley will start the season skating on the wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and that line looked dynamic during training camp. It would appear to be a choice between Jordan Caron or Benoit Pouliot on the third line heading into the regular season, and Claude Julien wasnt tipping his hand.

Somebody may not start, but if somebody is flying when they get a chance then they may shut the door on everybody else, said Julien. There are tons of factors that become part of the discussion. Who would be the better fit right now, or who we think would be the better fit.

You go based on the information that you have, but guys surprise you every single year. You have to adapt. Were going to start with something as a lineup tomorrow that I doubt very much well end up with. Thats how it goes.

Stay tuned as all Bruins roster questions should be answered in the next 24 hours.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Liles remains in lineup for Bruins, Colin Miller stays a healthy scratch

Liles remains in lineup for Bruins, Colin Miller stays a healthy scratch

BRIGHTON, Mass – It had been more than a month since John-Michael Liles had jumped into a game for the Bruins, so the 36-year-old kept it simple on Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators.

Liles finished with a plus-1 rating and a couple of shots on net in 13-plus minutes of ice time and was part of a Bruins defense that blocked a whopping 25 shots in the tight, defensively sound victory. He was also just understandably excited to be back to playing with so much on the line this late in the regular season.

“I’ve been in situations like this before, so I was just trying to stick to my game and play to my strengths,” said Liles, who has five assists in 32 games this season. “It did feel like a playoff game a bit and you get to this time of year where every point is crucial for us as well as [the other teams]. It can be challenging when you haven’t played together with somebody for a while [as a pairing], but when you keep it simple that makes it easier. As long as you talk on the ice it will work, and I think [Kevan Miller] and I have done okay with that in different situations.”

On the flip side, the 24-year-old Colin Miller will sit for the second consecutive game tonight against the Dallas Stars in favor of Liles after playing a low 11:50 of ice time in the win over the Islanders last weekend. The skilled, puck-moving Miller has two points and a plus-2 rating in 12 games in March, but clearly something isn’t good enough with Bruce Cassidy opting for Liles over Miller as of late.

“I think [Liles] has worked hard to stay in good condition and stay sharp if he got in the lineup, so we’re going to give him another chance. It’s one of those gut instincts this time of year, and [Dallas] is a good matchup for him,” said Cassidy. Miller has five goals and 12 points in 58 games for the B’s in his second NHL season. “[Miller] is young, but he’s not Brandon Carlo-young. He’s been a pro for three or four years. It’s him understanding the consistency, every-night factor or playing to his strengths and what we want out of him, and balancing that with what [Liles] did for us the other night.

“This time of year you always want young players to face these moments and play through them, but you also have to balance your lineup if you feel a veteran guy gives you a better shot to win. We’re looking at both of those things. Either way you hope that when Colin Miller gets back in that he’s better off for it, and not worse off. That’s the plan. In the meantime [Liles] gives us good, solid minutes.”

One final thing that could also be going on a bit in the background: The Bruins possibly paving the way for Charlie McAvoy to get an look at the NHL level next week and giving themselves some options of where to play him if he thoroughly dominates in Providence this weekend.

A third pairing of Liles-McAvoy would give the Bruins a much different, much more mobile look if that transpired and knocking some of the rust off Liles makes that a possibility if/when McAvoy gets an NHL cup of coffee.  

Thursday, March 30: Maybe they should rename it the Bergeron Trophy?

Thursday, March 30: Maybe they should rename it the Bergeron Trophy?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while really enjoying Matthew Tkachuk’s first go-round in the NHL. He may not have grown up here, but he’s definitely got some Masshole in his game.

*The five major contenders for the Selke Trophy include this one guy that wears Black and Gold and might have won the thing a couple of times. I’ll give you three guesses who that is.

*The 25-year run of the Detroit Red Wings in the playoffs has come to a close, and it’s probably the right time for them to reevaluate things.

*A Flames/Kings game turned into an on-ice rumble of sorts with Matthew Tkachuk involved in all kinds of action after his previous elbow of Drew Doughty.

*Speaking of the Flames/Kings, here’s Brian Burke with an After Hours-looking segment talking about the rough stuff during Flames/Kings.

*David Clarkson is finding his hockey life after the NHL with a high school coaching gig in Ohio not far from the Blue Jackets’ home rink.

*If it’s truly his last hockey game in Calgary, Jarome Iginla made it one to remember squaring off against his old Flames team.

*For something completely different: There’s been some smoke about the Expos returning to Montreal, but no fire as yet on the reports.