BOSTON – The Bruins held an optional skate on Friday prior to Game 1 of their first-round series against the Red Wings and provided further evidence that Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille might not be available to start the playoffs.
Both players weren’t present on the ice along with Matt Bartkowski, Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara and a host of other Bruins players taking their option. Paille skated for the first time prior to the optional skate on Friday, but left the ice once the morning skate session got started.
Paille was joined by defenseman Adam McQuaid, who has been slowly ramping up after several setbacks attempting to return from a strained quadriceps muscle. The absence of both Paille (head) and Kelly (back) from the optional morning skate would feed the notion that both players will be out for at least Game 1.
Paille took a hard hit from Jake McCabe last weekend that left him dazed as he was helped off the ice and the NHL protocol would have the left winger out for at least week if the B’s medical staff was treating it as if it was a concussion. Kelly has been out since injuring his back in an April 8 loss to the Minnesota Wild and hasn’t been seen on the ice since that morning.
Bartkowski was thought to have the flu, but hasn’t been seen on the ice since Sunday against the New Jersey Devils. It would appear likely that Andrej Meszaros will be skating in that spot on Friday night. But Claude Julien wouldn’t confirm any of this, and instead left things open-ended until the Bruins show up for pregame warm-up at 7 p.m.
“No updates on those guys,” said Julien flatly. “[Paille] skated this morning on his own.
If Kelly and Paille are both out of the lineup as expected, it would mean that both Justin Florek and Jordan Caron will be among the 12 forwards suiting up for Boston. Julien feels comfortable with Caron, a guy that has some playoff experience over the last couple of seasons.
“If you even look at the last game in Jersey, [Caron] had a lot of chances. He hasn’t really been able to produce, but he’s still working on creating chances, which he’s done,” said Julien. “At the same time, with his role, because he hasn’t played all the time, he needs to be a reliable player. That’s what he’s trying to do.”
Here are the line combos and D-pairings based on the pregame skate: