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Paille prepared to step in for B's

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- When Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli addressed the media Monday to give an update on injured center David Krejci, who is expected to be out at least a week with a moderate concussion, he was asked if there would be a call-up from the team’s AHL affiliate the Providence Bruins. Chiarelli pointed to the presence of Daniel Paille, who hasn’t played since the season opener in Prague but has waited patiently and practiced hard to earn another crack at the lineup.

“We talked about [recalling a player from Providence],” Chiarelli said on Monday. “There’s a couple of players down there that are playing well, but right now Danny’s been champing at the bit, he’s been practicing very well and he actually had a strong camp.”

Paille’s practice performance and patient attitude, and the belief of team management and coaches that he can jump back into the lineup after missing the last 10 games, is not just an example of Paille’s solid work ethic but also a byproduct of Julien’s approach to practices. Despite missing games, Paille was still practicing as if he would be playing in the next game, taking a regular spot on the third or fourth lines with constant penalty-kill action as well. Julien said this approach helps the player stay ready and feel important to the team.

“For a couple of different reasons, and one of them was to make him feel like he belongs,” Julien said when asked why he believes in this philosophy. “He can fit into that line easily and really the other is that when you end up making a fifth line in practice, I find it takes away from practice as well. So instead of making four-and-a-half lines, you make four and those guys can rotate through. At the same time, too, it gives him a better feel of when he jumps into the real games.”

Paille said this practice philosophy has made him and other healthy scratches feel comfortable, and that he’s grateful to Julien because he knows he won’t be a step behind when he plays on what is expected to be a third line of him, Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder at Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.

“I think that is one of the things I like best about playing here is that you’re not just that extra guy or you don’t feel left out,” Paille said. “You feel like you’re part of the team all the time and then you practice that way as well. That makes it so much easier to jump in there when they need you.”

Defenseman Zdeno Chara said he believes Julien’s insistence on making sure everyone is on the same page and practicing as if they’re playing has been a key to success since the 2009 Jack Adams Award winner arrived. He said this is why Julien’s injury-riddled teams of 2007-08 and last season were still able to make the playoffs.

“I think the most important thing is that we really didn’t change much the past three years that Claude has been here,” the captain said. “So maybe we tweak a few things, but for a guy like Danny who has been here for almost two years now, he knows exactly how to just jump in and fill somebody’s spot. It’s not really a new guy we got yesterday and he needs to learn the system, it’s a guy that’s been here, who is smart and knows the system. But that being said, even if it was a new guy, it doesn’t take long here because everyone is so good at helping each other.”

Another key element of Julien’s practices has been the constant effort to simulate game situations.

“That’s what we try to do,” Chara said. “You have to practice hard, be intense and compete in each practice because if you don’t, all of a sudden the game seems so much harder. So if you do that in practice, then all of a sudden the game will feel at least similar and hopefully easier.”