BOSTON -- After Boston's top four defensemen of Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk, it will be a true competition between Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski for the final two spots on the blue line.
Hamilton, Krug and Bartkowski have all played well in the first week of camp and into the preseason exhibition schedule. But one of those three will serve as the healthy scratch once the season starts, so the competition should be intense and healthy.
"We don't have to spell that out to them," said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. "I spoke openly to the group about competition. I'm really looking forward to seeing the competition at all levels, at all positions.
"Common sense would dictate right now that it would be those three guys for those two spots. They've embraced it and they've played well. I thought Dougie had a good game [Tuesday night]. He was strong on the puck and made some good plays and closed well as the game progressed. Torey and Bart, the other night in Montreal, they both played well."
Chiarelli added that no spot is guaranteed, but when asked if he would be comfortable seeing Hamilton play for the P-Bruins at some point instead of watching from press level as the healthy scratch, the GM said: "My goal is to have him in the NHL."
* With two exhibition games in the books, all four goalies have each played half of a game. Tuukka Rask and Niklas Svedberg played Tuesday night against the Washington Capitals, while Chad Johnson and Malcolm Subban played Monday at Montreal. The latter three are competing for the backup role behind Rask.
"We're all competitive and we all want to be out there," Rask said. "I haven't paid too much attention to that yet but I'm sure as the camp keeps going further and further I'll get to practice with the other goalies and see how they're doing."
Camp has been split into two groups, so Rask has been on the ice with Svedberg all week.
"I thought he made some key saves out there," Rask said of Svedberg's performance Tuesday night. "I thought he was solid."
* Bruins forward Daniel Paille did not practice Wednesday, but both Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien said it had nothing to do with hockey, simply saying Paille was ill and expected back on the ice Thursday.
* While it's a possibility Gregory Campbell could return to game action Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden, teammate Patrice Bergeron still needs more time, according to Julien, but the coach added it's a possibility Bergeron could play Saturday at Detroit.
* Rask's spirited temper is in midseason form. During the last drill of Wednesday's practice, he took a couple of shots up high and had a few goals scored on him. He stormed off the ice, smashed his stick into pieces against the boards and threw his gloves down the hallway. Afterward, he was fine, saying he's not a fan of the neutral zone scrimmage.
* The Bruins made their first round of cuts Wednesday afternoon. Camp invites Scott Campbell, Jack Downing, Steven Spinell and Ben Youds will join the Providence Bruins training camp, while Tyler Randell and Adam Morrison have been assigned to Providence.