Julien downplays Boychuk’s return to Boston

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New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk was the casualty of the Boston Bruins cap crunch earlier this month.

GM Peter Chiarelli dealt Boychuk, a pending unrestricted free agent, to the Islanders for a trio of draft picks on Oct. 4.

Tonight, Boychuk returns to the TD Garden for the first time as a member of the opposition.

“It’ll be awkward. I’ve played with him for a while, and some guys have played with him for five plus years,” Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg told CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty. “It’s definitely going to be a bit of a different feeling when guys have to fore-check him, and have to hit him. Or when I stand in front of the net and he shoots.

“It’ll be different, but in the end it’s about winning a hockey game. We’re focusing on that. It’s funny and it’s awkward. If you have to chip a puck behind him and them hit him, that’s when it feels a little bit weird or different.”

Boychuk, 30, spent six seasons with the Bruins capturing the Stanley Cup in 2011.

As Haggerty points out, it’s not the first time the Bruins are welcoming a high-profile former teammate. Phil Kessel, Tyler Seguin and Tim Thomas have all returned to Boston as a member of the opposition.

As a result, coach Claude Julien was downplaying the significance.

“This is a business, guys,” said Julien. “Once the puck is dropped you’ve got to fight for your team, and fight your own battles. You can be friends afterward, and chitchat before and after. But during the game itself, if you don’t do it then he will.

“I don’t see an issue there. All of the guys liked him, but there are plenty of guys we’ve liked that are playing on other teams. When the puck is dropped then the game is on.”

Boychuk originally a second-round draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche (61st overall 2002) appeared in 317 games with the Bruins scoring 19 goals and 75 points to go along with 198 penalty minutes.