BOSTON — Winger Daniel Paille is scheduled to return to the Bruins’ lineup tonight against Toronto at TD Garden after the end of his four-game suspension.
The challenge now for Paille more than shaking off the rust of 12 days out of game action is to play with an edge but know how to toe the line. Known more for his speed than any other tool, Paille failed to keep his physical play clean Feb. 3 against Dallas’ Raymond Sawada and had to accept punishment from the NHL for his hit that violated Rule 48.
Paille should start out the game with the Maple Leafs back on the left side of a line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.
“Obviously, I’ll think about certain plays. But I’m going to try to stay physical, especially playing with the line I am now,” said Paille, who noted that he got to the rink extra early today. “It’s how I have to play. I’ve just got to be aware of certain plays and try not to extend the arm out maybe.”
Paille has picked up his physical play in his brief stints as an active member of the lineup this season. Head coach Claude Julien hopes the veteran winger can keep that up against the Leafs.
“You hope he’s not [tentative]. You hope he’s aware of what he can’t do, and I think the one thing that you want to make sure he does do – and that’s part of our job – is you’ve got to go out and play with confidence,” said Julien. “You can’t hold back. Just be aware of what you can and can’t do. And I think that’s all he has to do here. I want him to continue to be aggressive. I want him to continue to skate and forecheck and be on top of guys. I want that part of his game to be there because that’s the qualities that he brings to our hockey club. So that can’t disappear.”
With just 12 forwards available, at least Paille doesn’t have to worry about whether he’ll be in the lineup. Instead, he can just focus on trying to play a hard-nosed game without any headshots.