Johnny Boychuk, assigned on Thursday to play in Providence through the weekend, was recalled this morning by the Bruins and is expected to suit up tonight at the Garden when the Bruisn face the Maple Leafs.
Boychuk, a 25-year-old rookie, ostensibly sat around for two-plus months waiting for a chance to crack the lineup. Now, following Friday night's embarrassing 5-1 loss in Montreal, it appears that he'll get his opportunity to play in only his fourth NHL game this season. He did not record a point in his previous three.
Who sits if Boychuk dresses? Following the slapstick effort against the Habs, coach Claude Julien could pull out any member of his backline corps. The most likely candidate, though, is Matt Hunwick, who finished a minus-2 in Montreal, as did Mark Stuart. However, Stuart is a more physical competitor than the fleet-afoot Hunwick, which likley gives Stuart a slight edge between the two. Boston's four other blueliners each finished minus-1 for the evening.
It's possible that one of the six blueliners suffered a slight injury in Montreal, necessetating Boychuk's call-up. However, the club did not announce any injuries and the Bruins are not skating here at the Garden this morning, having arrived from Montreal in the wee hours before dawn's early light.
The Maple Leafs, who practiced at the Vault on Friday, are scheduled to take the ice here at 11:30. We'll report back after their day-of-game skate-and-sweat session.
Bill McCreary and Dean Morton are the referees scheduled to work this eve, with Tim Nowak and Mark Shewchyk watching over the lines faceoff dots and tempers.