Loui Eriksson, who already has missed 20 games this season, found himself in the press box for yet another Tuesday night. Claude Julien said Eriksson had a “minor issue,” but the coach expected the winger to return for Thursday’s game.
Julien declined to be more specific, but a team source said Eriksson’s absence is not related to the trade deadline, which is 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Eriksson did not participate in the team’s morning skate.
The forward just got back from Sochi, Russia, where he earned a silver medal and played well for Sweden. The consistent time on the ice appeared to help him find a rhythm he lacked in the wake of two concussions suffered 45 days apart.
Asked what he has seen of late from Eriksson, Julien said, “Probably everything we expected of him. And unfortunately he wasn’t able to show it at the beginning of the year because of the concussions and all that stuff, but he is starting to showcase the type of player that we knew we were getting.
“He’s making some smart plays, just have to look at that shorthanded goal of [Gregory Campbell’s, against the Rangers]. He’s patient enough, he made a great pass . . . He’s starting to come around right now and everything about his game is there and probably more than anything else, his hockey sense, vision, it’s pretty impressive.
With Eriksson on the shelf, the Bruins turned to a player who hasn’t seen much ice time of late: Jordan Caron. The forward has played just twice since Jan. 2, with his last game coming Jan. 27. Eriksson’s absence offered a chance for Caron to showcase his game before the trade deadline.
He played on the third line with Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly.
Julien said that he was pleased with Caron’s play on Tuesday night. “I thought he played well, Julien said. “I thought he played hard. … [Jarome Iginla’s] goal is a result of his hard work and shot at the net and bringing the puck up the ice. He was very physical and he grinded, he skated well. So for a guy who hadn’t played in a long time, I thought he was really good for us tonight.”
It wasn’t easy, not with Caron understanding that his time in Boston could possibly be coming to an end.
“Of course [I’m] a little bit nervous [about the deadline],” Caron said, “but that’s out of my control so I’ll try to get some sleep tonight and we’ll see what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
Asked if he’d like to remain in Boston, despite the lack of playing time, Caron said, “Of course. I’ve been here for four years now. I know everyone and we have a great bunch of guys, so it will be interesting what’s going to happen tomorrow.
“I think it’s a little bit harder [to focus]. You try not to think about it, but obviously it’s your career and it would be a big change. Of course I was trying not to think about it, but it’s pretty much impossible. I was just trying to take it shift by shift — go all out on every shift and the rest is out of my control.”
He joked that he’ll keep his cell phone on silent, “just in case.”
With the potential for the Bruins to add pieces at the deadline, David Krejci said it can give a jolt of energy to the players already in the dressing room.
As he put it, “Every time we get some guys at the deadline, they kind of buy in right away and that’s what keeps our team going.”
Under Peter Chiarelli, the Bruins have consistently added players at the deadline, including Jaromir Jagr last season (before nearly adding Iginla).
“Obviously the new guys are trying to fit in and they’re trying to play their best and show that they belong on this team,” Krejci said. “And for us we want to show them the way of the place, so it kind of gives the team a little extra motivation.’’
Krejci said he tries not to follow the trade deadline chatter, but that some of it filters down anyway.
“Obviously it’s kind of exciting to see what’s going to happen, but on the other hand, nothing you can control,” he said. “So just kind of go about it and we’ll see what happens.
“Those big names, it’s kind of hard not to know what’s going on. I do [follow it] a little bit but there are just so many rumors, more than half of them are not true, maybe all of them. We’ll see what happens.”
McQuaid in limbo
There has been no decision on the status of Adam McQuaid. The defenseman has been out since Jan. 19 with a groin injury. Julien had said there might be more information after the team returned from New York, but he said on Tuesday that he believed “more clarity” would come by the end of the week . . . Krys Barch took on two of the Bruins, fighting Milan Lucic in the first period and Shawn Thornton in the second . . . The Bruins did not get a single power play Sunday against New York, and had just two against the Panthers Tuesday. Boston has the fewest power-play opportunities in the league with 178, 11 fewer than the 29th-place Flames. “We seem to really struggle to get power plays,” Julien said. “I don’t think it’s easy to always blame the team, say it’s our fault we’re not getting any power plays, but our guys are getting chances, they’re working hard, they’re going to the net. We had a lot of loose pucks around the net too, and it’s up to the referees, if they feel it’s deserving of a penalty to call it.” . . . Patrice Bergeron thinks he’s getting over the jet lag that resulted from his time in Sochi. “I think it’s getting there,’’ he said. “It’s pretty close, but still the sleeping habit is not necessarily quite there yet, but it’s a lot better.” Bergeron will discuss with Julien whether it would be useful to take a few morning skates or practices off in the coming month, which is jam-packed with 17 games . . . The Bruins honored 10 Olympians with New England connections before the game: Alex Deibold (bronze, snowboard cross), Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir (bronze, team figuring skating), Steve Langton (double bronze, bobsled), and Kacey Bellamy, Alex Carpenter, Meghan Duggan, Michelle Picard, Molly Schaus, and Kelli Stack (silver, women’s hockey).Amalie Benjamin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.