If there is one thing Claude Julien doesnt want this time of year its uncertainty in performance or availability.
He doesnt like being caught off-guard.
There have been issues with Benoit Pouliot in both departments this season, and another incident cropped up just prior to Saturday afternoons 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals. After taking the pregame warm-up Pouliot indicated to the Bruins coaching staff that he wouldnt be able to answer the bell for the game due to a lower body injury suffered earlier this week against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Pouliot was able to play through it on Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres and stayed off the ice Friday when practice was made optional. But the Bruins were caught by surprise at Pouliots inability to play and hadnt called any players up from the AHL Providence Bruins just in case if the worst case scenario presented itself.
Its the lower-body injury. After warm-ups he just said he couldnt go, said Julien. So it caught us a little bit off guard, obviously, and so we dressed with seven Ds.
So instead the Bruins were forced to play defenseman Mike Mottau at forward for the first time in his NHL alongside Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell, and Julien bumped Lane MacDermid up to third line duty. Mottau admitted he was uncomfortable and it certainly wasnt the ideal solution, but the Bruins were able to make due amid difficult circumstances.
Mottau was very, very adequate as a replacement tonight to go out there and do a job when he was called upon, said Julien. Kudos to him for doing a job in a position that hes not used to playing all the time.
Mottau ended up with 6:52 of ice time on eight shifts and registered three hits in a simple crash-and-bang role on the fourth line.
With Pouliots status uncertain for Sunday afternoons matinee against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Bruins recalled rookie forward Max Sauve for the three-game road trip through Pittsburgh and Florida. Sauve met the team prior to their team flight to Pittsburgh and will be available to play against the Penguins in what would be his NHL debut.