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Ference lost for six weeks

01.06.10 at 7:40 pm ET
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The Bruins have lost defenseman Andrew Ference for six weeks as the result of a groin injury suffered in the second period of Tuesday’s 4-1 win in Ottawa. The loss of Ference will test the team’s depth even further as the B’s have also recently been skating without defenseman Mark Stuart who broke his sternum on December 16.

Ference averages just over 20 minutes of ice time per-game. With Stuart still not set to return for at least another week, the Bruins could call on Johnny Boychuk to log more minutes. Since jumping into the lineup on December 5, Boychuk has averaged 17:38 of ice time per-game, building a plus-six, plus-minus rating while contributing two goals and five assists.

Rookie Adam McQuaid will also likely see more action. He played his first three NHL games Dec. 19-23, averaging 10:23 of ice time. The Bruins could also recall Andy Wozniewski who made two appearances with the team last month.

Stuart skated for the fourth time Wednesday. He is pleased with his progress recovering. “When you get hurt you appreciate being able to play a lot more and being able to be on the ice,” Stuart said.  ”It’s been a good last four days.”

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Bergeron back to skating

01.06.10 at 1:25 pm ET
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WILMINGTON – The Bruins could put together a pretty good lineup with the five players who hit the ice for practice Wednesday. While most of the team was given the day off, Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic, Mark Stuart, Adam McQuaid and Tuukka Rask went through varying bits of work on the practice rink.

Bergeron was skating less than 24 hours after being told he had a broken right thumb.

“It’s fine to skate and workout, I just can’t move my thumb for ten days,” said Bergeron, who had a molded splint around the thumb. “I’m going to keep in game shape, keep working out, keep staying strong. The only thing is I’m not going to be able to pass and shoot, that’s about it.”

Bergeron suffered the injury when struck by a shot in the second period of Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers in New York. He was glad to learn the injury was not more severe.

“I didn’t know what to expect, the doctor gave me some good news so I was pretty happy,” said Bergeron, who leads the Bruins in scoring. He was also recently selected to skate for the Canadian Olympic team at the Winter Olympics in February. The thumb injury should not impact his ability to play for Canada.

With Bergeron out of the lineup Tuesday, the Bruins put together a quick-strike attack leading to a 4-1 win in Ottawa. They’ll face a major test in their next contest, hosting the league leading Chicago Blackhawks Thursday.

The Blackhawks have won four in a row and seven of their last eight games while taking over the overall standings points lead in the league. Chicago also has the best team GGA (2.01) average in the NHL.

“They’re arguably the best team in the league right now, they have so much depth and talent, skill and confidence, they have everything gong this year” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “I know we have played them well in the past, but this will be a real good challenge for us tomorrow. To win the game we don’t have a choice but to be at our best.”

Julien also indicated that defenseman Andrew Ference was being examined by doctors Wednesday morning. He suffered a lower body injury during the first-period of Tuesday’s game. Julien did not have an update at the time he met with reporters.

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NHL Power Rankings 1/6

01.06.10 at 7:22 am ET
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A new year, a fresh start and a new team atop the WEEI Power Rankings.

Chicago Blackhawks1. (2) 30-10-3  The Blackhawks skated past New Jersey 5-1 in a top-of-the-charts showdown last week. They arrive in Boston to play the Bruins Thursday. Sounds like a good time for them to make their on-ice debut as our new No. 1.

New Jersey Devils 2. (1) 30-10-1  A road loss to the Blackhawks made for an unhappy New Year’s Eve for the Devils. Leading scorer Zach Parise ended a brief three-game stretch without a point by scoring a second-period goal in a 4-0 win over Dallas Tuesday.

San Jose Sharks3. (3) 27-9-7  The Sharks had a great first half to the season, but a 6-2 home loss to the Kings on Monday, in which Evgeni Nabokov gave up five goals on 16 shots, says that winning the Pacific is no lock.

Minnesota Wild4. (5) 26-11-4  Team USA general manager Brian Burke says Ryan Miller is the best goalie in the NHL right now. Anyone disagree ?

Washington Capitals5. (4) 25-11-6  The Caps drop two this week, the Sabres win two. Trade places in the rankings, please.

Colorado Avalanche6. (8) 24-13-6  Please welcome your Northwest Division-leading Avalanche. You expected to hear those words this year, right ? The Avs continue to stay in the fight for the division lead.

Calgary Flames7. (10) 25-12-5  The Flames have gotten hot again, winning five in a row, including a 3-1 win in Nashville Tuesday.

Phoenix Coyotes8. (7) 26-14-4  A minor slump for the surprising Coyotes. They had lost three of four before taking an overtime win in Edmonton Tuesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Bruins bounce back, beat Sens 4-1

01.05.10 at 10:10 pm ET
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Responding to some sharp criticism from their coach and the loss of one of their top players, the Bruins unleashed an energetic first-period attack to take a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place Tuesday.

Blake Wheeler scored twice in the opening period, David Krejci and Mark Recchi also added early goals as Boston built a four-goal advantage in the opening 14 minutes of the contest.

One night earlier, the Bruins had sleep skated through the opening two periods in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers in New York. The uninspired effort led coach Claude Julien to publically question the leadership and character of the B’s in his post-game comments.

The lackluster defeat also came with the additional setback of losing top forward Patrice Bergeron with a thumb injury that will sideline him for at least two weeks.

Facing both the self-inflicted motivational adversity and the loss of Bergeron, the Bruins quickly went to the net with more resolve Tuesday against the Senators and were rewarded for their efforts. The B’s chased Ottawa starting goalie Brian Elliott from the game after he gave up four goals on just 16 shots and Boston’s long dormant road power play suddenly netted two goals in one period after failing to score at all in 10 prior road games.

The big lead was more than enough for Tim Thomas, who made 27 saves for his 11th consecutive win over Ottawa.

The contest was not a completely positive one for Boston as defenseman Andrew Ference left the game after getting hit in the first period and did not return

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Satan to make Bruins debut tonight

01.05.10 at 1:33 pm ET
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Miroslav Satan will make his debut for the Bruins in Ottawa tonight.

Satan was signed to a one-year deal Saturday and had been expected to practice for a week before playing, but with Patrice Bergeron suffering an apparent hand injury in last night’s 3-2 loss to the Rangers in New York, the B’s are moving the timetable up for Satan.

“We were hoping to give him at least a week, but the circumstances are we don’t have an extra forward right now,” Bruins coach Claude Julien told reports in Ottawa this morning.

The 35-year-old Satan has not played since skating with the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in June. He had been working out and skating on Long Island before being signed by the Bruins.

“He’s in good shape, the only thing we wanted to do was give him a chance to get his timing and a week of practice,” said Julien. “Unfortunately he doesn’t have that luxury and neither do we.”

Julien did not have any further information on the extent of Bergeron’s injury or an estimate of how long his top forward could be sidelined.  Bergeron flew back to Boston this morning to be examined by team doctors today.

“Our doctors haven’t seen him so I can’t give you an estimate timeline on that,” Julien said.

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Julien: Satan one week away

01.03.10 at 1:14 pm ET
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WILMINGTON – It should be about a week before new Bruins forward Miroslav Satan is able to jump into the lineup. Satan, who had not been playing this season, skated with the Bruins for the first time Sunday after signing a one-year free agent deal with the team.

“He’s in pretty good shape actually, ” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after practice. “We’ve seen that through testing and everything else. He’s really taken good care of himself for a guy who hasn’t played yet. But that’s one thing. It’s another thing to come up to NHL speed. We’ll go, when I say day to day, it’s more closer to a week. We’ll go from here. He needs some time to practice at this pace.”

Julien added that Milan Lucic is progressing toward a return, but the team is being cautious not to rush him back. Lucic is in the final stages of recovering from a high ankle sprain suffered in late November.

“It was my first full practice with the team, I think it went real well,” said Lucic, who has been skating but had not been involved in any prior contact. “It was definitely a confidence builder that I’m getting close to getting back”

The 35-year-old  Satan won a Stanley Cup with the Penguins last season. He chipped in one goal in five assists in 17 playoff games during the run to the Cup. In 1,012 regular season games he has 354 goals and 367 assists. The fact that through over 1,000 NHL games Satan’s career goal and assists marks are almost equally balanced shows  he is an overall offensive catalyst, and not simply a goal scorer.

“He’s a skill guy, he’s obviously been in the league a long time,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. “We just felt we needed to increase out depth at forward and our skill. He can make plays and he can shoot.”

Satan, who will wear No.  81, is excited about the new opportunity with the Bruins.

“I think it makes sense for the team and it makes sense for me also, it’s a good situation,” said Satan who had been skating in Long Island while waiting for playing options to sort out. “This is a team that will have a chance to go deep in the playoffs.”

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Bruins ink Miroslav Satan

01.02.10 at 6:25 pm ET
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Bruins head coach Claude Julien told reporters at his team’s practice Saturday that Boston has signed free-agent forward Mirolsav Satan, who is expected to be at the team’s Sunday workout. The 35-year-old is expected to help a Bruins team that is 27th in the league in scoring, having scored 354 goals in his career. According to TSN the deal is for one-year, $700,000.

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