'Doesn't look good' for B's injured defensemen

'Doesn't look good' for B's injured defensemen
May 16, 2013, 1:30 pm
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BOSTON – All three of Boston’s banged up defensemen, Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden, were not on the ice for Thursday’s morning skate at TD Garden, and it would appear that all three veteran top six blueliners will be out for tonight’s Game 1 against the New York Rangers.

“They weren’t on the ice this morning, [so it] doesn’t look good,” said Claude Julien following the morning skate.

Instead Julien and his coaching staff will break up each of the three rookie defensemen they’re looking to install into the B’s lineup, and play each with a veteran defenseman on the three separate pairings. Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton were skating together in the top pairing while Matt Bartkowski and Johnny Boychuk reunited after playing together often over the last six weeks of the regular season.

Torey Krug will be the new guy to the proceedings, as it appears he’ll be making his Stanley Cup playoff debut with Adam McQuaid as a bottom pair defenseman for the Black and Gold. With three 20-something defenseman in their lineup, it’s pretty clear that smart decisions and simple, quick passes out of the defensive zone will be the order of the day against a big, strong, heavy Rangers lineup. Incumbents Chara, Boychuk and McQuaid are all big, strong defenders with the size and strength to be the ballast at the point of attack in front of the net, but don’t be surprised if the B’s coaching staff mixes and matches depending on how the game is developing.

“I think it’s just about balancing it. We know Zdeno [Chara] can take a lot of minutes. He’s got the body, he’s got the frame, and he’s got the conditioning to be able to do that. At the same time, you also have to utilize your players and have some trust in them,” said Julien. “How much you use them obviously depends on how well they’re playing, but it certainly won’t be because we’re making them nervous.

“We’re going to encourage them to play well and we’re showing confidence that they can do it just like we did the other night. They answered the call and did a great job, so we anticipate them to do the same thing in this series.”

If all three can play like Hamilton and Bartkowski did in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs, when each of them absorbed 20 plus minutes of ice time after losing Dennis Seidenberg after his first shift, then there could be a positive outcome waiting for them after their Game 1 alley fight against the Rangers. If they play like wide-eyed rookies prone to gaffes in their own end, then it could be a very quick series indeed for a depleted defensive corps in Boston.