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Hunwick hospitalized with spleen ailment

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  April 18, 2009 11:25 AM

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Matt Hunwick has been hospitalized because of a spleen ailment. (David Kamerman/Globe Staff)

Matt Hunwick has been transported from Ristuccia Arena via ambulance to an undisclosed hospital. Claude Julien said Hunwick has been hospitalized because of a spleen ailment.

Hunwick arrived at the rink this morning for a team meeting. Hunwick looked fine when he walked into the rink. According to Julien, Hunwick started feeling ill after he arrived, prompting the training staff to call for an ambulance. Two fire trucks and two police cars also arrived at Ristuccia.

"He didn't feel very good, so our trainers did what was right and called an ambulance," Julien said. "Hopefully we can get some good news here as we move on."

According to Peter Fish, Hunwick's agent, the defenseman felt some pain in his stomach area yesterday. Fish asked Hunwick if he could recall a specific play in which he might have sustained an injury in Game 1. Hunwick said he couldn't think of a specific play.

"Maybe he can return at some point later on in the playoffs. But that's being very optimistic," Fish said. "It's very tough with the year they're having and the year he was having. They need him back there."

Julien said he didn't think Hunwick lost consciousness. Julien was not sure what hospital Hunwick had been taken to. Trainer Don DelNegro accompanied Hunwick.

"We're a close-knit team," said Julien. "Everybody feels for each other. When something like that happens, there's no doubt that our players certainly feel for him. We'll definitely worry like everybody else until we get some results. It's part of life. I know he's in good hands. Hopefully we'll get good news tonight."

The fast-moving emergency caught the team off guard. Some of the players had already left the rink after a team meeting.

"It's our job to make sure our team's focused," Julien said. "It's the responsibility of players. We're going to be OK. We're certainly not going to use that as an excuse. Hopefully before the game starts, everything will be under control and it will be us moving on, knowing that Matty is going to be fine and back with us as soon as he can."

The 23-year-old Hunwick appeared in Game 1 on Thursday. Hunwick was involved in a post-buzzer scrum with Mike Komisarek and emerged with scrapes around his right eye. Hunwick practiced yesterday and made it through the session without any limitations.

Shane Hnidy will replace Hunwick in the lineup tonight.

"He's a very capable and good defenseman for us," said Julien. "He's certainly going to go into the lineup tonight. That still give us our six D's."

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