Morris misses practice with flu-like symptoms

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Bruins defenseman Derek Morris was the only active player not on the ice for practice Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena.

Coach Claude Julien said the decision was made Tuesday night to give Morris the day off after the veteran blueliner missed Tuesday's morning skate due to flu-like symptoms. Morris still had a solid game Tuesday night with four blocked shots and a plus-1 rating in 22:07 of ice time.

The Bruins are obviously hypersensitive right now to the risk of H1N1 in light of David Krejci's departure from the lineup with the virus last week.

Boychuk ready

Should Morris or any of the other regular six defensemen need to miss a game soon, Johnny Boychuk is prepared to play. The former Eddie Shore Award winner as the best defenseman in the AHL has played in only three games this season.

A sure sign that practice or morning skate is over comes when Boychuk gets off the ice after putting in extra work.

"They're doing a good job of skating me, keeping me in shape," Boychuk said about the coaching staff. "I'm not really that tired. Of course, you're going to get tired if you get bag skated every day. But they're good with it here. They do enough to keep me game-ready without really hammering me. There's a difference and they know it.

"If they just skate you really hard and then you get in the game, it's probably even worse for you," he continued. "They're doing a good job of keeping me sharp -- doing not only skating drills but skill drills, keeping me game-ready."

There's always the possibility that Boychuk could join Providence (AHL) on a conditioning assignment. But general manager Peter Chiarelli said earlier this week that's not something he's contemplating.

Panthers perspective

Winners of two in a row for the first time this season, the Bruins could start to get cocky, especially with the 5-9-1 Florida Panthers next on the docket Thursday at TD Garden (7 p.m.). That's something Julien is going to address with his club.

"We've got to make sure we don't start looking at who we're playing and continue to prepare ourselves," said Julien, whose team has knocked off division leaders in Buffalo and Pittsburgh its past two times out. "We have to understand that the points are important to climbing to the position we'd like to be in."