BOSTON — Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien confirmed just minutes ago that defenseman Dennis Wideman will play today, when the Bruins host the St. Louis Blues at TD Banknorth Garden.
Wideman was injured on a hit by Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin in the second period Saturday. Although Wideman returned to play the third period, he did not practice Sunday.
“It usually takes a lot for him to stay out of the line-up,” said Julien about Wideman, widely regarded to be suffering from a knee ailment. And again, this is a decision made not only by him but by us. If there was a high-risk thing, he wouldn’t be in the line-up today. If he wasn’t able to give us what we expect out of him, he wouldn’t be in the line-up today either. He’s good enough to go and it’s, I guess, just battling through a little bit of pain. He feels that he’s capable of doing that and we feel that he’s good enough to go out there and play.”
Wideman has proved he can battle through injury, as he missed just one regular-season game and one playoff game despite playing most of the second half of the season with a severe groin problem. This year, he has misssed just one game.
As for the hit, Julien did not want to classify it as diry. Instead, he said he would leave that up to the league.
“To be honest with you, it’s really hard to tell. Obviously he was coming at Wideman pretty quick, and I think his goal was to eliminate him, eliminate the puck and not give him the blue line,” the coach said. “It was a collision and it was knee to knee. I guess, I’m not quite sure myself how the league looks at those things – whether it’s intention or whether it’s a knee-to-knee and needs to be address. But that’s why we say we leave it up to them. They make those decisions.”
While Wideman is scheduled to be in, none of the Bruins’ recent scratches — Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference, Milan Lucic and Aaron Ward — are expected to be back.