WILMINGTON, Mass. — The Bruins are still awaiting word on the severity of Johnny Boychuk's injury, but Bruins coach Claude Julien did sound a bit more optimistic about the defenseman's prognosis after Wednesday's practice at Ristuccia Arena.
"Not yet," Julien said when asked for an update on Boychuk. "He was seeing our doctor this morning and we haven't had the results yet. But we are still confident that it will hopefully not be as bad as it looked."
Boychuk did not practice on Wednesday. He was injured Tuesday night in the third period of Boston's 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh, when he collided with Penguins forward Arron Asham and had to be helped off the ice after injuring his left leg.
The Bruins can ill afford to lose Boychuk, who is third on the team in ice time, with his average of 20:36 a game trailing only Zdeno Chara (25:02) and Dennis Seidenberg (23:59). But Boston does at least have options to replace him with the defensive depth the team added at the trade deadline in the acquisitions of Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau.
"That's what we wanted to do here, make sure that we had some good depth," Julien said. "Not only do we have good depth, but we have good people that came in. Those two guys, Motts and Zan, they came in and played well."
Mottau stands to pick up the slack most in the final games of the regular season. He's played just five of 20 games since joining the team, but Julien praised his work ethic and approach.
"Maybe Motts hasn't played as much, but he's got an unbelievable attitude," Julien said. "I love this guy for what he's all about. He works hard and he wants to play, but he also understands you can only dress so many guys for a game. And he keeps telling you, 'I'm going to be ready whenever you call upon me.' And that's the kind of guy you need on your team heading into the playoffs because at one point you need everybody, and those guys have to be ready."