Hamill was recalled for the second time this season on an emergency basis on Monday. Fourth-line center Gregory Campbell is out with a fracture in his foot, while left wing Daniel Paille is awaiting test results to see if he will be cleared to play against Los Angeles on Tuesday after suffering a mild concussion from a hit by Florida's Krys Barch last Thursday.
Even if Paille is cleared to play, Bruins coach Claude Julien indicated Tuesday morning that Hamill would still likely be in the lineup because of his experience at center. That's something that fellow fourth-line candidates Paille, Shawn Thornton and Jordan Caron don't possess, and Julien likes to roll all four lines. He can't do that without a center he can rely on to handle the defensive responsibilities of the job and be effective in the faceoff circle.
"That's one of the reasons we brought Zach in," Julien said. "If Dan is available we've got a decision to make, but I don't think any of those guys have enough experience in the middle. I don't know if I feel comfortable taking some of the other guys from the other lines and putting them down there, so Zach will fill a role in the middle and we'll see what happens this afternoon with Dan's situation and make some decisions."
Hamill has struggled to find his game at the pro level since being taken with the eighth overall pick in the 2007 draft. He performed well in two brief call-ups in the previous two seasons, but didn't really gain much traction until Providence coach Bruce Cassidy moved him to the wing this season.
The results have been impressive, with Hamill collecting 7-7-14 totals in 25 games in the AHL, and also adding an assist and a plus-3 in two games with Boston last month. Overall, he has 0-3-3 totals and is a plus-5 in six career games with the big club.
"When we had him up here he was playing center in the other years and he's been really reliable in doing the job in his own end," Julien said. "He's a guy that's a good playmaker. He's played mostly wing this year but he's available to play center. And that versatility has been really good for him for his career. All I can say is that when we had him up here I really liked what he brought to the table. So when it came to that point where we needed a centerman, he had played that position and we thought he was deserving of getting another call."
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