Paul Postma understands his role. As Boston’s seventh defenseman for much of this season, it’s been the veteran blue liner’s job to be prepared when called upon.
So despite having played just once over Boston’s last eight games, the 28-year-old is more than ready to return to action tonight against the Red Wings.
“That’s why you play the game and love it. You look forward to every chance you get to play,” said Postma, who has suited up for 11 games this season. “I think the hardest thing for me is more of a mental game than a physical game, just making sure that I’m ready mentally to go.”
Postma will be sliding in alongside Matt Grzelcyk on the B’s third pairing in place of Kevan Miller. Miller will miss the game in Detroit after he and his wife, Haley, welcomed their first child late Tuesday night back in Boston.
“Mom and the baby are doing very well – healthy,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “Kevan is going to stay behind and hopefully will join us tomorrow. He’s a happy man right now. Didn’t get any sleep last night, so we figured for everyone’s sake let’s let him enjoy his moment.”
Postma, who has not played since Nov. 29 against Tampa Bay when the Bruins dressed seven defensemen, will be trying to keep it simple against the Red Wings.
“Don’t overthink things out there, just do what comes naturally to me and try to get pucks on net when I can,” said Postma. “My skill is skating and trying to jump up in the rush, I’m going to do that as much as I can.”
Cassidy has been pleased with that portion of Postma’s game to this point, but would like to see the blue liner be a bit more aggressive at the Bruins’ end of the rink.
“The biggest thing we’ve asked Paul to do is get up and play more of our style, where you’re up closing your gaps and confronting and denying entry at the blue line with those things,” said Cassidy.
“It’s maybe a change for him from previously. But at the end of the day, that’s one area we want to be better at and recognize and build into his game.”
Spooner Still Sidelined
Per Cassidy, Ryan Spooner is still not ready to return to the lineup and will miss his third straight game with a lower-body injury.
“We’re going to wait that one out to be sure,” said Cassidy. “We’re never going to be 100 percent sure, but we just want to give it as much time as possible. He’s still day-to-day and we’ll look at tomorrow after tonight’s game.”
Detroit has lost nine of its last 10 (1-5-4), but Cassidy is not overlooking the skill and speed the Red Wings present up front. Twenty-one-year-old Dylan Larkin paces the Wings with 23 points (4 goals, 19 assists) in 30 games this season.
“They’re a good team, they’ve played better than their record indicates lately,” said Cassidy. “They’ve got a good group of forwards that play fast. If you’re not controlling your gaps and letting them behind you it’s going to be a tough night for us.
“We’ve got to make sure that we counter that with good checking position and puck possession, force them to defend us so that they’re not always on the attack. That’s going to be our game plan tonight and let’s hope we can execute it.”
Where the Pizza At?
The Bruins are making their inaugural regular-season visit to Little Caesar’s Arena, which replaced the famed Joe Louis Arena at the start of this year. The new digs are quite impressive, but there won’t be any real adjustments to be made on the Bruins’ end.
“It’s a nice building, very nicely done and beautiful place,” said Zdeno Chara. “The plan is the same, we’ve got to come out and focus on yourself and play your game.”