BOSTON -- Bruins coach Claude Julien declined to say Thursday morning which defenseman would be the healthy scratch for the season opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Based on the morning skate, it appears Matt Bartkowski could be the odd-man out. Fellow blueliner Torey Krug was working with Adam McQuaid, while Dougie Hamilton was partnered with Dennis Seidenberg. Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk were paired together.
Julien did make it clear, however, that Krug, Hamilton and Bartkowski aren’t the only ones competing for ice time.
“There are other guys who have to make sure they play well, also, to stay in the lineup,” Julien said. “Sense of entitlement I don’t want on our hockey club and I’ve been extremely clear with that. So, if there are times we have some veterans back there that aren’t playing to their ability, and it lasts a little longer than we like, there may be other people sitting out.”
Krug, Hamilton and Bartkowski all played well during the preseason, but as the season progresses, a healthy competition will remain.
“It’s a function of each of their respective learning curves. It’s a function of the other players, too,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. “The three of them had a good camp, a really good camp. My guess is one of them won’t be playing [Thursday] night. We’re going to have to keep our eyes on it closely, meaning how they’re progressing. You’ve seen platoons in baseball and each brings their own stuff to the table and it depends on your opponent.”
Either way, Julien said he's comfortable with all seven defensemen on the roster.