Paille's been a healthy scratch/By S. Bradley

WILMINGTON, Mass. — Bruins head coach Claude Julien doesn’t consider Monday’s travel day back from California an off day, so today he allowed his players to have an optional skate.

A handful of players took the Ristuccia Arena ice, led by the healthy scratches Daniel Paille, Joe Corvo and Mike Mottau, and back-up goaltender Marty Turco.

Julien says he and his staff are diligent about making sure those players feel a part of the team and are ready to be called upon should they be needed. Last season, that philosophy worked out when Tyler Seguin and, to a much lesser extent Shane Hnidy, had to jump into the lineup due to injury or illness.

“No. 1, you’ve got to keep working with them,” said Julien. “Sometimes those guys have to do extra, and the extra is not a punishment, it’s about keeping them sharp so that when they’re called upon … I guess as a head coach, you have to understand that those guys that are being healthy scratches or are not always in the lineup, you have to talk to them, you have to let them know that they’re still part of the team and they’re just as important as everybody else. We talk about giving credit to sometimes a fourth line when they’ve done a good job, such as last night. And you do the same thing with some of your fifth, sixth Ds that don’t get the big minutes. A big shot or a big play, you’ve got to recognize those things. It’s all about confidence. And when those guys feel their part of the team it certainly helps along the way. …

“To me, they’re just as important as the guys playing.”

Among those healthy scratches, Paille seems to be the most worthy of being in the lineup. However, Julien says he’s liked the way rookie Jordan Caron has played, and the forward’s ability to fill numerous roles in the lineup, so Caron is a better option right now. As for whether the time off might give him a chance to heal various ailments, Paille wasn’t buying it.

“I’ve had enough rest, I don’t need any more,” he said. “I’m itching and willing to work as hard as I can, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do every chance. Because I know how it feels to sit out and how to work and not to lose that spot.”

For more on Paille, read my CBS Boston story.

Tuukka Rask told some media members he has begun to exercise and hopes to get on the ice some time next week.