Off and on for about five seasons in the Colorado organization, Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk was teammates with forward Cody McCormick. Yesterday, Buffalo called up McCormick, who totaled 168 penalty minutes with Portland (AHL) this season, to beef up its lineup for tonight’s Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Bruins.

“He’s a strong tough kid and he works really hard,” said Boychuk.

“You’d expect to have someone like that in the lineup because he’s a good player,” Boychuk continued when asked if the Sabres’ addition of McCormick is a message. “He works really hard and if he has a chance to finish his checks, he will. He’s not afraid to mix it up too.”

He showed his willingness to mix it up earlier this season in the AHL, when he jumped off the bench and tangled with then-Providence forward, and current Bruins healthy scratch, Brad Marchand. Here’s the video:

McCormick will replace Matt Ellis in the Sabres lineup. Ellis, who was rocked by Boychuk’s open-ice hit in Game 3, skated this morning and said he felt fine. The talk of Boychuk’s hit that raised the roof off the Garden just won’t go away two days later. Boychuk was relieved that Ellis agreed with everyone’s assessment that the hit was clean.

“That’s the last thing I want to do is get my elbow up in his face because he’s a good player, I played against him in junior. He just tries to work hard and it just so happened that I caught him with his head down,” Boychuk said. “I just didn’t want to have it be a headshot or anything cheap like that, you know.”

Here’s another look at the Boychuk hit to get you pumped for tonight’s Game 4: