WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With a postseason berth in hand and one regular-season game remaining this afternoon, Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to give a few of the regulars a much-needed day off.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and assistants Mark Recchi and Patrice Bergeron will not play today against the Capitals.
“I guess ‘luxury’ might be the word because we haven’t had much of that this year,” said Julien. “At the same time it’s important for us to play this game to win and compete as hard as we can. There’s no reason for us to go out there and go through the motions.”
If Recchi did play today, he would have played in all 82 games this season. Julien gave him the opportunity to make the decision, but the veteran left it up to the coach.
“What’s more important? The fact that he play all 82, or do we need him well rested for the playoffs? We made some decisions here,” said Julien.
Rookie goaltender Tuukka Rask will have today off too. Tim Thomas will get the start between the pipes.
“First of all, Tuukka definitely deserves a break, but also, what people have to realize here is that we have two good goaltenders and Timmy has to be in a situation where he needs to be ready to go as well,” said Julien. “If he’s called upon we want him ready. It’s important for him to be ready for that. In the playoffs you never know. We’re one of the fortunate teams that have two goaltenders, I think, we’re very comfortable in front of.”
Bruins prospect Zach Hamill will make his NHL debut today after he was called up from Providence on Saturday. Boston selected him in the first round (eighth overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
“It’s an opportunity for him to show what he can do at this level,” said Julien. “It’s also an opportunity for him to see what this level represents and hopefully give him a better idea what he has to go through in the summertime to get ready for next year’s camp. He’s played some exhibition games, now it’s an opportunity to play a real game, a meaningful game.”
Even though there’s no pressure for either team in this game, there will be some jitters for Hamill.
“For him it’s not a non-pressure situation,” said Julien. “He’s going to feel the pressure of wanting to show what he can do and that’s the way he’s going to approach it.”
Hamill spent the entire season with the Providence Bruins and recorded 14 goals and 30 assists for 44 points in 75 games.
“Hopefully he can show us that today and we’ll give him that opportunity to show us,” said Julien.
Hamill will be playing with Milan Lucic and Blake Wheeler.