BOSTON — A week ago, it looked like Shane Hnidy’s abbreviated NHL season might end a lot earlier than he expected, as the Bruins’ season hung in the balance during Game 7 against Montreal.
“Those overtime games are a little hard on my ticker,” Hnidy, who signed as a free agent with Boston in February, said today after his team’s morning skate at the TD Garden.
Hnidy’s ticker held out, but you can’t say the same thing for the Bruins’ health on their back end. Rookie Adam McQuaid, who sprained his neck in Monday’s Game 2, did not take the morning skate today and is unlikely to play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series with Philadelphia tonight.
As head coach Claude Julien said: “I know Shane Hnidy is a guy ready to play and he is certainly a possibility in our lineup.”
Hnidy’s status today is a little more certain than it was more than two weeks ago when the Bruins didn’t know until after warm-ups that captain Zdeno Chara would be unavailable. Chara missed Game 2 against Montreal with dehydration and Hnidy filled in with 4:13 of ice time and a fighting major.
The certainty of the situation, however, doesn’t change Hnidy’s approach.
“[It’s] the same as every other game. I’ll take the warm-up. It’s the same,” he said. “I prepare to play and whatever’s going to happen, I get ready for the game – physically and mentally.”
In eight NHL postseason seasons, Hnidy has skated in 38 games. He’ll once again lean on that experience to get him through tonight’s action.
“It helps. This is where experience comes in handy,” said the 35-year-old Hnidy. “I’ve been in this situation before, I’ve played in playoffs other years. You have to stay sharp and I’m hoping it comes in handy. You have to have a sense of urgency, but calm at the same time.”
Julien said McQuaid remains day-to-day, so Hnidy could see his role expanded as this series unfolds.