Sobotka out; Whitfield recalled

BOSTON -- Bruins forward Vladimir Sobotka will not be in the lineup against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight due to a neck injury he suffered on Tuesday in Atlanta. To take his place, the Bruins have recalled Trent Whitfield from the Providence Bruins.

“There’s never timetable for injuries like Vlady’s, but he is better today,” coach Claude Julien said today. “Hopefully we’ll know more about his situation by tomorrow.”

Julien said it’s not a concussion, and that Sobotka is taking steps in the right direction. But between periods of the Lightning game, Sobotka told ESPNBoston.com that he did suffer a concussion on the hit. He said it’s not serious and hopes to be back in the lineup soon.

Sobotka was slammed into the board by the Thrashers’ Evgeny Artyukhin in the early minutes of the first period on Tuesday and did not return. Sobotka was evaluated in Boston on Wednesday.

This is the fourth time this season Whitfield has been recalled from the P-Bruins. The 32-year-old forward has played 14 games for the Bruins this season.

“It’s good to get an opportunity,” said Whitfield. “You always want to stay up here as long as you can, but that’s the way it goes. Unfortunately [for the Bruins] there have been a lot injuries, but fortunately for me I’ve had an opportunity to come up here and show them I can play at this level. They feel confident to bring me in this time of year to keep the ship going.”

He’s played 52 games in Providence this year with 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points.

“Whit is a guy who can make plays and he’s hard worker,” said Julien.

During the morning skate, Whitfield was on a line with Milan Lucic and Miroslav Satan. After Sobotka was injured, Julien inserted Steve Begin on that line and the coach said this morning he’ll make a game-time decision for that line.

It took Sobotka a moment to get to his feet and he was able to skate to the bench on his own after the hit. He was clearly shaken up on the play. Sobotka is generously listed at 5-foot-10 and 183 pounds, while Artyukhin is 6-foot-4, 255-pounds.

“He’s pretty durable and he plays hard, but that’s a pretty big boy he ran into,” said Whitfield. “It’s unfortunate for him, but it’s another opportunity for me to come in here and contribute.”