WILMINGTON, Mass. — It would be a unique bit of symmetry if Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk can get back into the lineup after a nine-game absence Wednesday on the road against the New York Rangers.
Boychuk, of course, suffered his fractured forearm last month at the stick of Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky. Boychuk skated today at Ristuccia Arena along with a handful of teammates in an optional practice before the team departed for the Big Apple.
He’ll be a game-day decision for a lineup return. His decision to engage Dubinsky, if he so chooses, won’t be because he feels there was any ill meaning in the slash.
“It was just the right kind of play at the right time,” explained Boychuk. “It wasn’t even a hard slash, even if you look at the video. I don’t think it’s too bad. Like I watched it one time. It was just an unfortunate spot to get hit. It wasn’t even too hard, it’s just where he hit me, he hit me probably right directly on the bone.”
“I know he probably wasn’t trying to hurt me at all, obviously,” Boychuk continued, “because if he wanted to hurt me, he probably could’ve took a bigger swing and really did some damage.”
Boychuk will wear a black removable cast to keep his left wing protected in game action. He said it feels fine, but with a little more palm movement than a regular cast. If he can get comfortable in New York, he could get the nod to face the Rangers.
“I guess it’s how his hand feels and if he’s able to move that around a little bit and whether it’s not going to handcuff him,” said head coach Claude Julien. “You want to put a guy in that’s going to help you not hurt you. I think right now we’re just at a stage where he’s day to day and we’ll probably get a better idea tomorrow morning. … He’s got to be confident too going out there that he doesn’t have limitations. If he’s got limitations, we’ve got guys that are very healthy right now that could play ahead of him.”