Ward

Ward

BOSTON — Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien initially said he wanted to leave  it up to the league to determine whether Andrei Kostitsyn’s hit on Aaron Ward in the second period of tonight’s 3-1 Bruins win at TD Banknorth Garden was worthy of some extra punishment.

But then Julien still offered his two cents on the hit from behind.

“I guess the biggest issue with me is, it’s not the first time this guy does this. We’re trying to eliminate that from the game,” the coach said. “And I know he got hit like that once, supposedly, this year. But I don’t like to see that happening over and over from the same guys. Sooner or later we’ve got to step in there and maybe make an example of somebody.”

While we don’t know if the league will take any action, we do know that Ward is on the shelf again. He did not play in the third period of the win. Julien confirmed that Ward re-aggravated the charley horse that forced him out of the line-up for one game Jan. 6, and then some.

“It’s hard to say because it is a charley horse. You know, those kind of charley horses, things creep up and it spreads out a little bit and then there’s pain elsewhere,” Julien explained. “It’s one of those injuries where it’s really hard to tell you. He could be a day, he could be a couple days, he could be a week. It’s one of those injuries where we’re going to have to give him a chance to get better and hopefully, maybe this time we give him a chance to get back to 100 percent.”

Ward’s injury should require the Bruins, who played the third period with just five defenseman, to recall another blueliner. Of course, they’re getting sort of used to losing defensemen in-game, and they’re still succeeding.

“Unfortunately things are happening, but I think we realize that we’ve got guys that can do the job,” said defenseman Shane Hnidy, whose role was increased because of Ward’s absence,  including time on the first power-play  unit. “We’re down to five, we pulled the forwards – they came back a little extra for us, and it was nice.”