The Boston Bruins begin life without captain Zdeno Chara tonight as they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Boston didn’t have a morning skate, but based on how both Zach Trottman and Joe Morrow were talking following the team’s optional practice, it sounds like Trottman will draw into the lineup tonight.
“It helps that I’ve been here before. Definitely helps with confidence, I know I can play here,” said Trotman. “That’s one thing I’m not worrying about going into the game tonight. Kind of show up, go business as usual and just play my game.”
Trotman, 24, has an assist in five games this season with Providence. Originally the Bruins seventh round selection (210th overall) at the 2010 NHL Draft, Trotman has appeared in two career NHL games with Boston.
The 6-foot-3, 219 pound blue liner logged 16:41 in time on ice during a loss in Ottawa on Dec. 28, 2013 – his NHL debut and then played 13:19 in a win against the L.A. Kings Jan. 20.
“I’m a mobile two-way defenseman,” Trotman said. “I think the biggest thing for my game is I need to end plays and keep the puck going the other way. The offensive side kind of takes care of itself.”
Morrow, 21, was the Pittsburgh Penguins first round selection (23rd overall) at the 2011 NHL Draft. Morrow was acquired from Dallas in the seven player trade, which saw Tyler Seguin go to the Stars. Morrow has a goal and an assist in five AHL games this season. He has yet to make his NHL debut.
“(I) just bring a bit of speed, good skating, good first pass for breakout situations, things like that – the ability to close on plays and just little things like that,” Morrow said describing his game. “I hope I can bring that to the table and do the best I can.”
Morrow has yet to appear in an NHL game, but he’s familiar with being summoned from the AHL. He was recalled by both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars while part of those organizations.
“Definitely used to the process,” he said. “It’s a little different actually being in a position to play your first game, I still haven’t played yet so that’s a little different, but other than that pretty comfortable being up and down.”
With Chara expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a PCL injury, the likelihood of both blue liners getting into game action is strong.
Both rookies know it’ll be a group effort to alleviate the loss of Chara.
“It’s just a whole team thing, everybody’s got to buy in to the situation,” said Morrow. “He’s not going to be here for a while. Everybody’s going to have to pull their own weight and maybe a little bit more.
“It’s a team game and one guy out of the lineup you definitely lose some leadership and some skill with him being one of the best defensemen in the league, but other than that, you’ve got to come together as a team and just work through it, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Added Trotman, “I think everyone’s just trying not to get too worked up about it. All we can do is just go out and play our best. If we do that, we have a good group of (defense) so we’ll be fine. I think everyone right now is just trying to focus on their game – go out and play as well as you can and obviously play together.
“Play the best game you can play without trying to do too much.”
Following tonight’s game, Boston heads home to host the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.