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Tim Thomas to start for Bruins vs. Sharks

02.05.11 at 12:31 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien told the media Saturday that Tim Thomas will be between the pipes when the B’s take on the Sharks in a 1 p.m. matinee. San Jose will counter with Antti Niemi.

Thomas, in the midst of a career year, leads the league in both goals against average (1.82) and save percentage (.945) and is tied for the NHL lead in shutouts (7) and wins (25). In his last start, he made 24 saves in a 3-2 victory over the Hurricanes Monday in Carolina. Niemi is 14-3-3 this season with a 2.75 GAA and .911 save percentage.

Bruins forward Daniel Paille will serve the first game of his four-game suspension Saturday and will be eligible to return Feb. 15 against the Maple Leafs.

Read More: Antti Niemi, Daniel Paille, Tim Thomas,

Peter Chiarelli: Trade options slim due to tight competition in West

02.04.11 at 7:50 pm ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli took some time to discuss Daniel Paille‘s four-game suspension with the media on Friday, saying that he felt the length of the ban was “stiff” but that he likes the parameters the league uses to determine such suspensions. Perhaps more notably, Chiarelli touched on how he might like to improve the club.

Chiarelli, who had recently said that in a perfect world, he would like to add “a defenseman that could log some minutes,” hinted at the same thing Friday, saying that he wanted a blueliner who could “ease some of the minutes off of our players.”

The GM noted that such an acquisition could be tough to make given how close the teams in the Western Conference are right now. Prior to Friday night’s game, only three points separate the 11th-place Flames and the fourth-place Predators.

‘€œRight now, everything is very, very tight,’€ Chiarelli said. ‘€œYou hear that from me every year a month before the deadline, and it’€™s even more true now. The standings are tight. Usually your trading partners are in the West. It’€™s very, very tight.’€

As for whether he could make a trade to replace Marc Savard‘s contributions should the center be shut down for the season, Chiarelli feels that “that player is not available” via trade. Placing Savard on long-term injury reserve would allow the team more spending money with the center’s cap hit not a factor.

Read More: Daniel Paille, Marc Savard, Peter Chiarelli,

Julien: Raymond Sawada needed to position himself properly

02.04.11 at 2:21 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien said Friday that he completely supports Rule 48, which outlaws blindside hits to the head in the NHL, but in the case of Thursday night’s Daniel Paille hit on Raymond Sawada, felt that the play should also be a lesson to players skating with their heads down.

Sawada broke his nose and sustained a shoulder injury on the play. Julien noted that regardless of the fact that Sawada was playing in just his first game this season (11th of his career), there is no excuse for positioning one’s self for such an event to occur.

“Once you’re in the pros, you’ve been told for many, many years never to play with your head down,” Julien said. “So if he hasn’t learned by now, he shouldn’t be in the pros.”

Paille was suspended for four games after a hearing with NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy on Friday morning. Head disciplinarian Colin Campbell is unable to have a say in the matter given that his son is Paille’s linemate Gregory Campbell.

THORNTON OK

Julien said that Shawn Thornton, who left Friday’s practice, will be good to go Saturday against the Sharks. The coach noted that it was his call to send Thornton off the ice, with the winger feeling less than 100 percent. Thornton scored his eighth goal of the season Thursday night.

Read More: Daniel Paille, Raymond Sawada,

Daniel Paille disagrees that controversial play was a blindside hit

02.04.11 at 1:59 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Daniel Paille clearly regrets that his hit on Stars forward Raymond Sawata (video) took place on Thursday, but after being suspended for four games, he doesn’t agree that the play was a blindside hit.

“It was a fast-paced play. I just recognized that Sawata was going on a breakaway, and I just went over to backcheck and get the puck, but he cut back to the middle,” Paille said following Bruins’ practice Friday. “If you look the play, I’m ahead of him when I hit him, and I felt that I hit his shoulder at that moment. Looking at the replay I felt that he kind of turned towards me so I wouldn’t my check. I felt that I hit him in the the shoulder at first.”

Rule 48, implemented following Matt Cooke‘s blindside hit on Bruins center Marc Savard last March, states that “a lateral or blindside hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact is not permitted.”

“Obviously with Rule 48 and the sensitivity it’s [caused] around the league, it’s sensitive and I know that it’s something that someone has to [be made] and example of, and it happened to be me,” Paille said. “Right now, though I don’t agree with the amount of games, I accept it and and just going to focus now on being ready to come back.”

“I was expecting a suspension for sure, but possibly two games. I was a bit shocked at the amount, but I’ll just learn to accept it right now. I hope that Ray is alright. As of right now I heard that he does not have a concussion, which is something that I’m glad he doesn’t have.”

Following Thursday’s game, teammate Andrew Ference didn’t hide his thoughts on the play, calling it a “bad hit” and saying the Bruins would be “hypocrites” if they were to defend it. Paille didn’t seem to mind the line of thinking throughout the locker room, respecting his teammates’ opinions.

“I think that to who said it, if that’s what they see, that’s their opinion, but for me, I felt that it was a clean hit. It’s too bad, I know that most of the guys in the room would disagree with that. ‘€¦ It’s understandable with how the issue is right now with those types of hits, but I know that a lot of the guys on the team here know me and understand me and agree with me.

“Just looking at the replay over and over I see the shoulder hitting the shoulder and then just kind of tagging along. I won’t focus too much on those guys and just get the support from everyone else.”

Paille is eligible to return on Feb. 15 against the Maple Leafs. Here are some other quotes from his session with the media:

On whether he thought it was suspendable, despite thinking that it was shoulder-to-shoulder:

“I mean, I understand that with the situation that it possibly could be suspendable. I was aware that it would be before the hearing even happened, just with how sensitive it is. In my opinion, it is how I see it. I understand that the league sees it a different way, and I can see both side. They decided to go with a suspension, so I accept that.

On whether he understands the significane of Rule 48 in relation to the Bruins:

“I’m aware of what this rule does to our team, especially with how sensitive it was for us with Marc, and pretty much the reason that it all got started. ‘€¦I’m aware of Rule 48 and I tend to avoid all those types of situations. To permanently injure players is something I don’t want in this league and something I’ve been trying to fight against. In saying that, I also believe that I went to hit [his] shoulder.”

On what he would say to Sawada if he speaks to him:

“If I get in touch with him, I’ll probably just say that I was going to finish my check and I had no intention of hurting him the way I did there. I would hope that he would somewhat understand and know the type of player I am, that I don’t go looking for that. I hope that he would understand that.”

Read More: Blindside hits, Daniel Paille, Raymond Sawata,

Bruins’ lines see tweaking with Zach Hamill promotion

02.04.11 at 12:14 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — After taking part in one of the more interesting games in recent memory Thursday, the Bruins returned to practice Friday at Ristuccia Arena. With Zach Hamill having been called up and Daniel Paille set to begin a four-game suspension, the lines saw some adjustment. With both players on the ice, here’s how the lines looked:

Lucic-Krejci-Horton

Marchand-Bergeron-Recchi

Wheeler-Hamill-Ryder

Seguin/Paille-Campbell-Thornton

Shawn Thornton left the ice during the practice, though it’s unclear at this time what the cause of his early departure was. We’ll have more from the room following practice.

Read More: Daniel Paille, Tyler Seguin, Zach Hamill,

Daniel Paille suspended 4 games for blindside hit on Raymond Sawada

02.04.11 at 11:57 am ET
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WILMINGTON – The Bruins have been against dirty hits for some time, and on Friday they saw action taken against one. B’s forward Daniel Paille was suspended for four games Friday following his blindside hit on Stars forward Raymond Sawada in Thursday’s 6-3 victory over Dallas. Paille was given a game misconduct after the play, with Sawada not returning to the game.

Paille was present at Friday’s practice, skating on the fourth line with Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell, and Tyler Seguin. The team had called up center Zach Hamill from Providence on Thursday, meaning no move will need to be made to fill his roster spot. Paille will be eligible to return Feb. 15 against the Maple Leafs.

Read More: Blindside hits, Daniel Paille, Marc Savard, Raymond Sawada

How the Bruins have become Team Unity, and why it matters

02.04.11 at 8:57 am ET
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Just four minutes into Thursday’s slugfest at the Garden, Stars forward Adam Burish came in on Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask and fired a shot several seconds after the whistle had clearly blown, stopping play.

That is a big hockey no-no.

And Andrew Ference made sure Burish paid the penalty. The Bruins defenseman came over to enforce the hockey the law, eventually drawing Burish into a fight ‘€” which Ference clearly won ‘€” and a message had been sent. Don’t mess with these Bruins or you pay the price, especially on Boston’s home ice.

“We’€™re a tight group,” said Patrice Bergeron, who scored twice and assisted on an empty-netter. “We’€™ve always said that and we all know that. We’€™re ‘€¦ we get along real well off the ice and we try to bring that on the ice. I think that Ference fight is the best example just by showing that he took a shot after the whistle on Tuukka and Andy responded right away. So I think it’€™s ‘€¦ it showed our unity, and we’ve got to keep going.”

As for Ference himself, he said Thursday’s win showed how the Bruins can get back to being the right mix of talent and toughness, just like 2008-09, when they were the top seed in the East and a favorite to get to the Stanley Cup finals.

“One of the good things we did in that year, and something we’€™ve established over the last few is, when our team is emotionally and physically involved, we’€™re a very good team,” Ference said. “We’€™ve proven that the other way around, too. When it’€™s not there, we lose games. You know, go back to the Carolina series a couple years ago. I think that’€™s what almost all of us pointed our fingers at, it was missing. We know that that has to be there for us to be successful, and it was good [against Dallas].”

Bruins coach Claude Julien certainly had no problem with it.

“It was an opportunity for us to step up for each other, and we did and I thought it certainly played in our favor,” Julien said of the four fights in four minutes ‘€” three in the opening four seconds. “We’€™re a team that can handle that and guys seem to be ready for it and certainly that part of it was good. Those two quick goals also were proof that we were ready to play.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Adam Burish, Andrew Ference, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien
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