Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas Won’t Travel to Ottawa, Claude Julien Giving Veterans Some Rest

Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas Won't Travel to Ottawa, Claude Julien Giving Veterans Some RestWILMINGTON, Mass. — The Bruins head to Ottawa for a clash with the Senators on Thursday that will likely be a preview of the opening round of the playoffs.

But if the Senators are hoping to get a sneak peak at what they might face in the postseason, they may have to adjust their plans.

The Bruins will go to Ottawa without several key players, with coach Claude Julien opting to leave captain Zdeno Chara, alternate captain Patrice Bergeron and starting goalie Tim Thomas back in Boston to give them a well-deserved night of rest before the playoffs. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk will also not be making the trip while the Bruins await word on the severity of his left leg injury.

Unlike most people, Chara wasn't exactly thrilled to get the news that he would be getting a day off, but he understood the reasons for the decision to sit some veterans out with the Bruins' playoff seeding already determined with Boston locked into the No. 2 spot in the East.

"Obviously I want to play," said Chara, who spent four seasons in Ottawa before signing with the Bruins in 2006. "That's what I do. I enjoy playing every game. I don't want to miss any games. But at the same time you have to respect the decision the coaches are making. It's for good reasons. It's not that I'm going to be sitting out for a whole bunch of games. It's basically this one and I'll be back for the last home game against Buffalo."

While Chara missed two games in December with a lower-body injury, Bergeron will be sitting out his first game of the season. His absence will leave Chris Kelly as the only Bruin to appear in every game so far this season.

Julien was quick to stress that just because a few key players were being rested, it doesn't mean the game will mean anything less to the players who are dressed, as the Bruins try to set a tone for the postseason.

"Just because we leave people behind to rest, doesn't mean we’re going there to rest," Julien said. "We're going to play hard, just as we did [Tuesday against Pittsburgh]. … Just because certain guys aren't going to be there, we need to play well, we need to play hard and we need to play to win. I'm going to be disappointed if somebody doesn't show up tomorrow and play hard. I’m going to be disappointed and I'll probably be in his face. That's the way we're approaching these last games."

The Bruins recalled forward Lane MacDermid from Providence, while Jordan Caron returned to practice after missing Tuesday's game with the flu. That gives Boston a full complement of forwards, while they already have an excess of defensemen with Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau added at the trade deadline and Torey Krug signed as a free agent out of Michigan State last week.

In goal, Anton Khudobin could be in line for his Boston debut. He could use the NHL experience as he will serve as Thomas' backup in the playoffs if Tuukka Rask is not ready to return from his abdominal/groin injury.

Rask skated before Wednesday's practice with Nathan Horton and is progressing in his recovery, but if he is not ready for the opening round, Khudobin would have to dress as veteran Marty Turco is not eligible for postseason play because he was signed after the trade deadline.

"Tuukka has been skating for a few days and he's coming around," Julien said. "We hope to have him with us soon, at least in practice."

Have a question for Douglas Flynn? Send it to him via Twitter at @douglasflynn or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

Bruins on Twitter

Yardbarker

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 183,930 other followers