By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON Theres been an inordinate amount of excitement for the return of Shane Hnidy, considering the guy hasnt taken a single shift this season, and Bruins coach Claude Julien admitted Tuesday morning that hes going to bring the veteran defenseman along slowly. Hnidyis to be takenoff the injured-reserve list on Tuesday, but wont in the lineup against the New Jersey Devils when the Bruins look to look to bust out of a 1-3-3 funk over their last seven games.The slump hit at the end of a 12-of-16-on-the-road stretch, and the Bruins clearly didnt have any legs in their last couple of games. So now wouldnt be the proper time to throw a guy like Hnidy into the mix, not when the core players need to win some games, right the ship and help the B's make one last push at the No. 2 overall seed in the Eastern Conference. Julien needs to find the proper time to insert Hnidy into the lineup, while knowing that Steve Kampfer will also need to play down the stretch.Hnidy cant be sent down to Providence this late in the season for an AHL tune-up, so the thinking is that it will be largely practice situations to sharpen Hnidys game prior to the postseason.Hes come around, and I think at some point youll see him in our lineup, said Julien. We brought him here to give us some depth. If were going to use him as a depth player, at some point from here to the end hes going to see some action.Theres going to be some small adjustments with him, but we can manage that. We can put him in some situations where he can get on the ice and help us more than hurt us.Its been a long road for Hnidy this season after rotator cuff surgery in the fall, and hes simply happy to get things going when Julien calls his number.Its nice to know that its just a matter of knowing that Im ready to get into a game, and its up to the coach, said Hnidy. We havent discussed any plan. Its about practicing and putting the time in at the gym, and make sure my body is where its supposed to be when I do play. The Bruins held an optional skate on Tuesday morning and only Daniel Paille and Tuukka Rask appeared on the ice. That would appear to cast Paille as the healthy scratch for tonights game against New Jersey, and points to Tim Thomas as the likely starting goaltender.Brad Marchand will return to the lineup after sitting out a two-game suspension for elbowing R.J. Umberger in the back of the head, and there's a chance the pesky winger could be reunited with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell on the fourth line. Peter Chiarelli also confirmed with Bruins season ticket holders in a conference call that Tyler Seguin will be manning the second power play unit for Boston.