BOSTON -- It's looking increasingly likely the Bruins will be without one or more of their injured trio of defensemen when they begin the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers on Thursday night at TD Garden. Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden were all missing from practice Wednesday, and there were no updates on any of the blueliners from coach Claude Julien after practice.
"Not really. Again, you saw none of them on the ice today. That's the situation," Julien said. "I'm in the training room every day talking to my trainers. A lot of that stuff is day-to-day until we get them through. There's injuries; there's no hiding that fact, except that sometimes you can get players through those and sometimes you can't. Sometimes it's better not to practice and just to play. We're going to look at that situation. At the end of the day, my final roster will be decided before the game."
For now, Julien is hoping Matt Bartkowski -- who scored the first goal of his NHL career in the Bruins' 5-4 Game 7 win over Toronto Monday -- and Dougie Hamilton can build off the minutes they saw in Monday's win and their playoff experience thus far.
"I think, again, we went down to five D's [defensemen] in the first couple of minutes of the game," Julien said. "When you look at the ice time they got, they got quite a bit and they did a great job. For them, it's important that they build on that and take the confidence that they had in that game and carry it into the next series."
On Tuesday, the Bruins recalled Torey Krug from Providence to boost their blue-line depth. The rookie defenseman has never played a Stanley Cup playoff game in his life, but he knows that he must follow in Bartkowski's and Hamilton's footsteps and just be himself on the ice, if he ends up playing Thursday.
"One thing that Bart has told me, and that the coaches have reinforced in me, is to play the same game I was playing in Providence," said Krug. "Bart came up and played the same way he was playing in Providence. It's important for me to stick to my roots."
Julien said that's exactly what he and his staff want from Krug, Bartkowski and Hamilton.
"That's what I encouraged our guys to do -- 'You guys go out there and play your game.' I don't want them to feel the pressure," Julien said. "I don't want them to not be comfortable or have the ability to play as well as they can. It's about encouraging them to do those kinds of things. We know our players well enough that we know what they're capable of bringing. It's about putting them in those positions to be able to play that way and bring that part of their game to the team."
Julien also said that positive reinforcement is key for this young trio to succeed in the pressure environment that is the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"I think it's more about showing confidence in the guys that are going to be playing if that's the case," Julien said. "Right now, the guys that played last game, you look at Hamilton and Bartkowski, I thought they handled themselves really well, especially with five D's. The confidence in those guys seems to be getting better all the time. It's a matter of stabilizing, I guess, your team the best you can and move forward. When you look back at situations that we see in the past, there's guys that have walked into a team and done extremely well because they just go out there and play."