**Note** This blog was originally posted on December 14, 2013. Due to site upgrades, we had to repost this on December 23.
A bunch of Bruins are sick, and Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly, Loui Eriksson, Adam McQuaid, and Dougie Hamilton are all injured. Shawn Thornton… we know. The situation sucks for the players now, but might be better in the long run.
First, let me just say that this would be a ridiculous argument at just about any other point of the season for the Bruins. They’re in the midst of a stretch in which they play 1 team who would currently make the playoffs in 12 games. They also have the break for a few days around Christmas, and the majority of the games come vs. the Western Conference, meaning that they’re a little less important. They’ll also have at least 6 Olympians, and they’re schedule is tough coming out of the Olympics. This couldn’t have happened at a better time for the B’s.
Also, there are a lot of guys that get valuable experience on the squad. The two main ones are Matt Bartkowski and Ryan Spooner. Bartkowski should play over McQuaid anyway, but Claude Julien’s only huge weakness, which is sticking with veterans he has liked in the past a little too much, is showing here. As for Spooner, he’d probably be the third line center for most teams in the league, maybe even second for some bad teams. He deserves to play, but the Bruins are locked in which Krejci, Bergeron, Kelly, and Campbell at center. He might be able to play LW, but Lucic, Marchand, Soderberg, and Paille aren’t going to be giving up their spots anytime soon. Now, Spooner gets experience as the third line center with a highly-skilled-but-still-raw-on-this-continent Carl Soderberg, and he gets the reps he needs on the club. Ice time for Matt Fraser, Kevan Miller, and Nick Johnson doesn’t hurt either, as does a chance to play with Bergeron and Marchand for Reilly Smith.
Injuries always suck, but let’s at least be happy that the Bruins injuries are relatively minor and have huge silverlinings… unlike with the Pats, of course.