Boston could face any one of three different teams in the opening round, and they have a host of different potential lineups they could use once those postseason games begin.
After their final regular-season practice Friday at Ristuccia Arena, Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn't revealing much about his plans for the postseason lineup or who will sit out in the final two games Saturday against Ottawa and Sunday at New Jersey.
"We're going to have 2-3 extra players, so when the time comes we're going to make those decisions," Julien said. "Even if I had, or we had, made those decisions I don't think I'd be here speaking about it. We have a couple games left to play and we have to go out and play them. I think a lot will depend on what's going to happen [Friday night] with certain teams that are playing and see where we stand after [Friday night]. It's a day-to-day process here on decision making. This time of the year it's not just the coach but the organization trying to look at what direction they want to take with these next few games."
When asked if players still had a chance to make a case for playoff playing time in these final two games, Julien indicated that the greater body of work of the first 80 games would weigh much heavier than anything done over these final two contests.
"You'd like to hope that the last impression of the last two games isn't necessarily the deciding factor when you have 82 games," Julien said. "You hope that you're able to rely on the big package rather than the small package. I think we've seen a lot out of everybody."
But when asked specifically about rookie forward Tyler Seguin's status in battling for a spot in the postseason lineup, Julien hedged a bit on that.
"I think that's a lot of speculation," Julien said. "You guys are speculating that he's fighting for it, whether he's in or out. Understandably. For me, those are tough questions to answer. We don't know what's going to happen until Monday, and we'll find out Monday where he stands and where the rest of the team stands. A lot of things can happen from here until then."
Julien did divulge that veteran defenseman Shane Hnidy will likely see some action over the weekend. Hnidy has played just one game this season, having been signed in February after suffering a shoulder injury while in camp on a tryout with Phoenix. Julien indicated that the decision to send Steven Kampfer back to Providence after Wednesday's game was designed to get both extra defensemen some playing time this weekend, with Kampfer seeing time in the AHL and Hnidy, who is not eligible to be sent to Providence, sticking with the big club.
"The thought behind that with the organization was that we're trying to figure out what's going on," Julien said of Kampfer's demotion. "We still have Hnidy that hasn't played much, and we want [Kampfer] to play. It might not be NHL caliber, but playing [in the AHL] still keeps him sharp. So we're trying to kill two birds with one stone, and if we can get Hnides here and him over there, then both guys are playing."
Just don't expect Julien to reveal who will be playing come playoff time. At least not yet.
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