Defenseman Aaron Ward, who skated for just a little more than three minutes Saturday against Detroit before leaving the line-up due to injury, will not go on the team’s two-game road trip to face Tampa Bay and Florida, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Juilen revealed today after the team’s practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.
While Julien would only reveal that Ward has a leg injury, the veteran blueliner was seen waltzing through the locker room with a protective boot on his left foot up to just a few inches below his knee. Ward explained to the media he wasn’t allowed to address his injury. Julien said Ward will be re-evaluated next week and it’s anticipated that he’ll be just day-to-day after that time.
Ward, who was injured checking Detroit’s Derek Meech along the wall, joins Andrew Ference among Bruins top-six defensemen who are on the shelf. Another defenseman is expected to be recalled from Providence (AHL) later today. Ward’s injury leaves the Bruins down one right-handed shooter, so that could affect Boston’s decision.
“It just means your depth gets tested a lot more,” said Julien. “Your experienced guys are dwindling down, I guess, if you want to put it that way. But it is something that we have to work with a little closer. You might see some D pairs like you saw the other night – not just necessarily the same pairs together, but mix and match and make sure we’ve got the right combinations together against the other team’s top lines.”
Ward’s shot blocking and penalty-kill skills will be great missed, but Matt Hunwick has done an excellent job filling Ference’s skates and it’s probably that anyone that gets a shot in Ward’s absence will also be able to hold down the fort.