By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON Zdeno Chara was given a day off on Thursday after his man-sized Game 3 against the Flyers that featured a pair of goals and 28-plus minutes of punishing defensive hockey. Adam McQuaid was also absent from the TD Garden practice ice for the second straight day after suffering a strained neck against Philadelphia in Game 2 of their playoff series, but everybody else was on the ice practicing for the Black and Gold.Steve Kampfer practiced with the Bruins for the first time on Thursday in a no-contact session, and is still some time away from being ready for game action. I think right now he just started skating yesterday for the first time, Coach Claude Julien said. He felt good enough to skate with us today. We had no contact in our drills, so it was a good skate for him. Were moving forward as were being told by our medical staff. Hes looking better every day, so we just have to stay with it. But hes not ready.With McQuaid still day-to-day and off the practice ice, that means itll probably be Shane Hnidy again on Friday night for Game 4 after he played only 2:38 of ice time while the other five defensemen basically rotated with one another. The real talk of the day was obviously about the Bs being up 3-0 in the series against the Flyers, and sitting on the precipice of an Eastern Conference Finals berth just as they were last season before the roof caved in on them. The Bs coach and his players are all holding firm to turning the page on last year and focusing on winning one more game to put down a Philly team thats proven they wont quit.Right now I like where we are, said Julien. The biggest think will be putting the past aside and thinking about the present. Living in the moment. Thats what has enabled us to stay focused. There was a report in the Boston Herald two days ago that Marc Savard would be attending Games 3 and 4 at the Garden in his first visit back to Boston since announcing he was going to sit out the rest of the season. A team source checked in with CSNNE.com on Wednesday and informed that Savard was A) not in Boston and B) not coming down for either of the games. The Bs center is still battling the post-concussion syndrome symptoms that have plagued him since his latest head injury suffered in Colorado, but hopeful he can make it to Boston during this postseason run if the team keeps on winning. Hnidy played less than three minutes in Game 3, and Julien said that the power plays and special teams time never got to the point where using his sixth defenseman was a necessity. With McQuaid very unlikely to play on Friday, count on Hnidy to play at least a slightly bigger role in the Bs defensemen corps.He was ready to go and he still is ready to go, Julien said. We have confidence in him, but we also understand the fact that he hasnt played much this year. Right now the guys we have in our lineup are capable of sharing our ice time.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while proud of my wife and daughter participating in today’s Women’s March.
*This is from a few days ago, but Bob McKenzie weighing in on the prospects for Claude Julien and his job security is always worth checking out.
*The New York Rangers have themselves a rookie named Pavel that’s doing a pretty darned good job for the Blueshirts.
*What should the St. Louis Blues do with Kevin Shattenkirk as the trade deadline approaches and the seven-year, $49 million contract waiting for him in free agency is pretty daunting?
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Allen has a list of underperforming NHL stars, including Jamie Benn and Jonathan Toews, that may have been impacted by the World Cup of Hockey. Certainly Patrice Bergeron could have made this list as well.
*Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling may be earning some more playing time after the way he performed against the Bruins, according to Pro Hockey Talk.
*Good news with Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson set to return to the team in a couple of weeks after tending to his wife in a battle against cancer.
*The struggles of Anthony Duclair with the Arizona Coyotes mirror the team’s issues this season as well. It’s interesting that Duclair has popped up in trade rumors with the Desert Dogs this season.
*For something completely different: the final Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman is going to be extremely emotional with its characters.
BRIGHTON, Mass – While both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller were missing from Bruins practice on Saturday morning, both injured Bruins defensemen could be rejoining the team soon.
Colin Miller skated on his own prior to Saturday’s team practice at Warrior Ice Arena for the second or third time since suffering a lower body injury in the win over the St. Louis Blues. Claude Julien said his presence on the ice was proof that the puck-moving defenseman is “definitely on the mend”, and could be nearing a return to practice soon with Sunday marking the sixth straight game that he’ll have missed.
Kevan Miller is out with a concussion suffered last weekend in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and the B’s current three-game losing streak has coincided with his absence from the lineup.
Julien said Miller has actually been away from the team for the last couple of days while dealing with a virus, and that his recovery from the concussion symptoms was good prior to being knocked down by the illness.
“Kevan was actually feeling really well and then he got hit by a virus that’s kept him in bed for the last two days,” said Julien. “It’s nothing to do with his original injury. There was a possibility he could have been ready very soon, but that’s set him back a bit.”
Both are obviously out for Sunday’s matinee against the Penguins, but a return to practice at some point next week seems like a good bet for both players. Here are the line combos and defense pairings from Saturday’s practice with the Bruins focusing on getting a good result in Pittsburgh with the hockey club on a “mom’s trip” with 22 of the players’ mothers traveling with the team to and from the game: