McQuaid pulled back from Bruins practice

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McQuaid pulled back from Bruins practice

BOSTON -- Adam McQuaid was absent from Tuesdays pregame warm-up skate and Wednesdays practice on the TD Garden ice, but Claude Julien was hesitant to use the word setback when discussing the defensemans head injury.

McQuaid has now missed two games because a headneck injury suffered against the Carolina Hurricanes last week during a head-first tumble into the boards, and appears doubtful for Thursday nights game against the Leafs after being very close to suiting up against the 'Canes. It could be the Bruins expressing extra caution while treating McQuaids injury like a concussion, or it could be that a symptom cropped up for the rough-and-tumble defenseman at the very last moment.

Either way, it appears that McQuaid will sit out another game or two before he returns to the lineup.

I thought he was certainly as close as could be to coming back, but there are some issues where weve pulled him back again," said Julien. "So its a little bit longer than we predicted and thats one of the reasons I dont like giving updates. Those things change on a daily basis.

Id say McQuaid is day-to-day, but you didnt see him out there today because we pulled him back. There are no signs of a concussion and there no signs of not having it. It looks more like the neck issue, but were dealing with it like a concussion. Hes gone through a bunch of protocols that hes passed, but the last decisions goes to the player. Im not saying its up to him, but he gets the final say. Doctors can clear him all they want, but if I dont feel like hes ready to go and he doesnt feel like hes 100 percent then you hold him back.

While McQuaid appears unlikely to suit up against Toronto no matter what the situation, Steve Kampfer may be nearing a return and could be a potential game-time decision for the Bs amid the struggles of Matt Bartkowski. Kampfer has been out for the entire season with a sprained left MCL, but could be ready given the dire straits the B's find themselves in for a sixth defenseman.

Kampfer has been cleared for contact, and now its up to the training staff for him to make his season debut.

Hes probably going to be a guy that well have an opinion from the doctors on whether hes a game time decision for tomorrow, said Julien.

Whether its Kampfer or a 100 percent healthy McQuaid, the Bruins need somebody to supplant the young Bartkowski -- and the tough mistakes hes been making with minimal minutes for the Bs this season.

Cassidy quells goaltender controversy: 'Tuukka's our No. 1 goalie'

Cassidy quells goaltender controversy: 'Tuukka's our No. 1 goalie'

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While the sequence of events over the past couple of days could understandably lead one to wonder who will start between the pipes for the Bruins on Tuesday night vs. Nashville, interim coach Bruce Cassidy tried to quell any hint of a goalie controversy.

The vote of confidence was certainly needed after Anton Khudobin’s fifth consecutive win halted the B's four-game losing streak with a huge 2-1 victory over the Islanders on Saturday night in the wake of Rask’s absence while tending to a short-term lower body issue.  

“[Rask] had a good practice today. I spoke with him. We’ll see how he wakes up tomorrow and we’ll make our decision. He’s our No. 1 goalie, so there’s no way we can skirt our way around that issue. He’s our No. 1 and his health is very important. When he’s physically ready to go and he tells me that, then we’ll make that decision,” said Cassidy. “He’s a guy that’s played a lot of hockey this year...and he’s not a 240-pound goaltender that can handle all of the games, all of the workload every year. We know that. I’m not going to put limitations on him, but we probably overused him at the start of the year. At this time of year, it gets tougher and tougher with any player that’s been overplayed.

“That’s why we have two goaltender, and [Anton Khudobin] has really stepped up in that last stretch and done what’s asked of him. He’s fixed that area of our game. It’s nice to have a guy that’s your No. 2 that can win you hockey games and play well. It’s a great problem to have, to be honest with you. But Tuukka is our No. 1. But Tuukka is our No. 1. He’s our guy.”

Rask declared himself fit to play after going through a full Monday practice with no issues, but said he’s still waiting to hear the final word on whether he’ll play on Tuesday night vs. the Predators. The Bruins franchise goalie also said he isn’t worried about any recurrence of the lower body injury that “popped up” in the Tampa Bay loss Thursday night, which really doesn’t bring any clarity to the entire situation.

“It was a good day back on the ice. I feel good. We’ll see what the decision is [for the Nashville game], but I feel good today,” said Rask, who is 8-8 with a .892 save percentage and a 2.91 goals-against average since the All-Star break, compared to Khudobin’s 2-0-0 with a .920 save percentage and 1.98 goals-against average. “You need to put the best lineup out as possible, and I wasn’t in any shape to play. So, there are no easy decisions this time of year, but I’ve played a lot of hockey and injuries happen. We talked to the training staff and managers and came to a decision that [Khudobin] was going to play the game, and that’s it.

“It’s obviously tough from a personal standpoint, but it’s never about one guy or two guys. It’s a team game and I feel confident that we’re going to get the job done as long as we play the way we did. It was great to see.”

Clearly, it looks like Rask is going to play vs. Nashville and that’s the safe, easy decision when it comes to a No. 1 goalie getting paid $7 million a season and perhaps it all works out with a fired up Finnish netminder after sitting out Saturday night. But nobody is going to be faulted if they wonder what’s going to wrong with Rask ahead of the next gigantic game Boston will have to play with the Stanley Cup playoffs on the line. 

Krejci leaves practice early with 'upper body issue'

Krejci leaves practice early with 'upper body issue'

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins returned to work on Monday after a big win over the weekend, but were one man down by the end of practice at Warrior Ice Arena. David Krejci exited the ice early on Monday and coach Bruce Cassidy said that the playmaking center is battling a bit of an upper body issue.

That was the reason for his abbreviated practice appearance ahead of the game Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden.

“He’s got a bit of an upper body issue, he’s got a little discomfort,” said Cassidy of Krejci, who has one point and a minus-4 rating over his past four games. “He got treated and I believe he’ll be fine tomorrow. I don’t think it’s anything major, but I can’t speculate [on it]. But that’s the issue.”

There was no play that sticks out from the Saturday night win over the Islanders were Krejci might have hurt himself, but the team’s hope is obviously that it’s something the 30-year-old can keep playing through.

With Krejci having left the ice, Ryan Spooner bumped up to the second line with the following line combos and D-pairings finishing out an hour-long practice:

 
Marchand-Bergeron-Backes

Stafford-Spooner-Pastrnak

Vatrano-Nash-Hayes

Beleskey-Moore-Acciari

 
Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

C. Miller-K. Miller

 
Rask