CALGARY, Alberta — The hits just keep coming for the Bruins.
The latest casualty is Dougie Hamilton, who will be out for 2-4 weeks with a lower-body injury, sustained in Sunday's first period against the Maple Leafs. Hamilton came away from a hit testing his left leg, and left the game. He didn't return and was sent back to Boston for evaluation.
"Same thing as [Chris] Kelly for 4-6, right?" said coach Claude Julien, referencing Kelly's fractured fibula, which the Bruins announced on Sunday will cost him 4-6 weeks. "It's just challenges that you have to go through as a team every year, and some years are worse than others. Every team has to go through these kind of things once in a while.
"The last thing you want to do is feel sorry for yourself. The last thing you want to do is find excuses. If anything, we've got a lot of young guys that are going to get an opportunity here more than maybe just one or two games to come in here and show that they can play at this level.
"At the same time it just means our team has to step up their game as a whole and be more conscientious that we don't have all our players and that we're going to need the best out of everybody. It's a good challenge for us. In the long run, you hope it'll help us grow as a group and as a team."
The Bruins, who are also without defenseman Adam McQuaid, did get some good news on the team's blue liners. Johnny Boychuk, who had said he "didn't feel awesome" after skating Monday, was declared ready to return after Tuesday's morning skate. Boychuk played 22 minutes in Boston's 2-1 win over the Flames.
The defenseman had been out since suffering back spasms after being boarded by Max Pacioretty Thursday in Montreal.
"We dodged a bullet with [Boychuk]," Julien said. "It could have been worse. We probably would have him on that list of injured players. But we were fortunate enough. He was stiff yesterday and this morning felt a lot better, and ready to go."
Because it was back spasms, the team doesn't have any worries that Boychuk could reinjure himself. It's more of a question about his back stiffness and whether he could play through that.
"I felt good on the ice, and that's the main thing," Boychuk said. "I think the four-hour plane ride [from Toronto to Calgary] didn't really help anybody."
He added, "Yesterday didn't feel very good, but today I felt pretty much normal out there. It's nice to feel like that instead of feeling like I did yesterday.
"It's been like night and day. You get into Calgary yesterday and you feel the same, well a little bit better than you did before, then today just being able to warm up instead of going out there cold it makes a world of difference."
Kevan Miller also didn't suffer any negative effects from Sunday night's boarding by Dion Phaneuf , and was back in the lineup Tuesday, playing 19 minutes. As he said before the game, "I was pretty fortunate. The trainer just wanted to take a quick peek at it. Obviously it was an awkward hit."
That's good news for a beleaguered Bruins blue line.
"It's going to be a good character test, just to have guys that are battling the flu and whatnot," Boychuk said, about the bug that hit the team in Calgary. "It's a good opportunity for younger guys to step up and put a stamp on our game, show them why they're here right now."
Phaneuf received a two-game suspension for that boarding of Miller. Phaneuf will forfeit $66,666.66 during the suspension.
Paille also sidelined
Hamilton wasn't the only announced injury.
The Bruins were also without Daniel Paille against the Flames because of an undisclosed upper-body injury. There is no timetable on his return.
Paille was on the ice for practice Monday, and Julien would not confirm when the injury occurred.
To replace Paille, the Bruins recalled Nick Johnson from AHL Providence on an emergency basis. The Calgary native flew from Boston and played nine minutes. Johnson has 20 points (nine goals) for Providence this season.
"Local boy," Julien noted. "We liked him at camp. First of all, he's an experienced guy, he's played some NHL games. He's a good competitor. He can do a lot of things for our team, which he's doing for Providence. He kills penalties, he can play power play. Just a hard-nosed up-and-down kind of player.
"We build our team around guys like that. Those guys have to come in and want to do their share, not just sit back and want to plug in the holes. We're expecting our guys that are getting an opportunity here to step up and help us through this."
Eriksson on IR
The Bruins placed Loui Eriksson on injured reserve with a concussion. Julien said he has not yet talked to his winger, who suffered his second concussion in 45 days on Saturday night on a hit by Brooks Orpik. "Some of the guys have texted him, very limited contact with him right now," Julien said. "It's really early in the concussion stage. You don't want too much stimulation and stuff like that. It's been done purposefully. I'll reach out to him when my trainers tell me he's starting to turn the corner a little bit." . . . Four members of the Bruins were out with flu-like symptoms Monday (Zdeno Chara, Gregory Campbell, Chad Johnson, and Miller), but all played against the Flames . . . Lost in all the injuries was Miller's first career goal, which was the game-winner Sunday against Toronto. "It's been a [heck] of a ride the past few weeks," Miller said.