BOSTON — As if to test Daniel Paille's fitness to be back on the ice, Los Angeles Kings center Dustin Brown seemed to go straight at the Bruins forward early in the first period.
Paille, who had been cleared by the training staff shortly before the puck dropped, took the hit from the 210-pound forward square to the center of his body, and seemed almost happy about it.
"It was someone I knew that hit me, but he's a well-known hitter, and I told him, 'Thanks, I needed that,'" Paille said.
Paille, who has been out since suffering a concusion Thursday, skated Tuesday morning and was a game-time decision Tuesday night against the Kings.
His presence was felt more on the ice than in the boxscore, but it gave the Bruins at least one man back on a night when Zdeno Chara and Gregory Campbell were both out with injuries and Zach Hamill, a 23-year-old with six games of previous NHL experience, centered the fourth line.
"We needed a little bit of experience in our lineup with Zach coming in, so it was good timing on his part," Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
The Bruins, like every NHL team, have placed a greater emphasis on recovery from head injuries, and Julien said Paille was not rushed back.
Paille has been sharp for a couple of days, according to the coach, and was awaiting the OK from the staff.
"Once he was cleared, he was ready to go," Julien said.
The concussion was frustrating for Paille, who has missed four games this season due to injury and had just returned before he took the blow against the Panthers. Although the timing for such things is never ideal, Paille was able to spend four days recuperating while missing just a one game Saturday at Columbus.
"Obviously, it bothers me coming in and out, but hopefully that's over now and I can focus on just playing consistently every night," Paille said. "Hopefully, no more injuries come up."