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Krejci reacts to an eventful Olympics

03.01.10 at 3:04 pm ET
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BOSTON — Two of the Bruins’ six Olympians returned to practice Monday morning at TD Garden. David Krejci and Marco Sturm were present, while the team expects Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron, and Miroslav Satan to return to practice Tuesday morning.

Krejci spoke to reporters following practice and expressed his disappointment that the Czech Republic came away empty-handed and also talked about how hard it was to watch the championship game.

“I couldn’t watch it. I just watched overtime. It’s tough. It’s something I dreamed about ‘€” an Olympic medal. It hurts every time I heard about the Olympics.”

Although Krejci came away from the Olympics disappointed, he was adamant about wanting to play in the 2014 Olympics in Russia. There have been reports that the NHL will not allow its players to participate in the next Games. Krejci made it clear that he wants to play.

“I think they should play,” he said. “I think it’s the best tournament ever. If they don’t allow us to play it’s going to be very bad for hockey, but after what they saw I’m sure they’re going to find a way for all NHL players to play.”

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Bruins prepare for final stretch

03.01.10 at 12:54 pm ET
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BOSTON — The Bruins skated at their home rink Monday morning in preparation for Tuesday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Tuesday will be the first time the Bruins play a game since Feb. 13, when they defeated the Florida PanthersTim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Miroslav Satan were missing from practice Monday morning but are expected to be at the morning skate Tuesday.

Bruins general manager Chiarelli speaks at practice

02.28.10 at 11:27 am ET
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WILMINGTON — Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli made an appearance at practice at Ristuccia Arena on Sunday and spoke about the trade deadline and what he expects going into the stretch run towards the playoffs. Here is the transcript from the interview.

On how much activity he expects when the roster freeze is lifted at 11:59 p.m. tonight:

It wouldn’t surprise me if there were a few deals tomorrow morning, tomorrow. My guess is that there will be the same number of deals that there always has been. We are in on a couple of deals but there has not been much traction over the course of the Olympic break, but we will see what happens next couple of days.

On how much talk there has been:

Definitely the talk has picked up. The fact that there is nothing pressing and you can’t do a deal, it is not idle chatter but it is more standard discussions. But, at the end of the day you can’t do a deal until tomorrow.

On what the Bruins are doing:

We are in on a couple of things and we will see where they go, otherwise we don’t have a lot of traction on these things.

On what the ideal pickup would be for the Bruins:

Well, obviously, you look at the statistics and it is our scoring. We want to get some type of top-nine forward that has an offensive bent to his game. There are not many out there.

On the type of deal the Bruins would probably end up with:

Yeah, it would probably be a rental. The nature of my discussions to this point, I wouldn’t necessarily name them as “hockey moves” but non-rentals. It is hard now because no one, well, one, there are only four or five teams that are sellers and two, no one amongst the buyers wants to do a significant hockey move right now because they are in a cluster and they don’t want to mix and do something significant to their team.

On trade prices:

Yeah, they are high and will remain high.

What about prices with so few sellers on the market?

It allows those sellers to enter the market at high prices and that is what has happened. That is not a surprise, that is the way that the market has been set.

On what he saw on the four-game road trip before the break:

I thought it was tremendous for the four games. Much like I saw towards the tail end of the losing streak, I saw a lot of good things. I thought we got a little sloppy at the end of the winning streak but I was impressed with the way they won four in a row. That is tough to do. I thought they pulled it together and obviously the results speak volumes in those four games. I like the way they pulled it together knowing there was a break coming. To me that speaks to the synergy of the team too.

On whether the last several games before the break changed his desire to make a move at the deadline:

Well, on its face we need some more goal scoring. But, I also know that if I don’t get it, I know that these guys are better than they are. I would demand that from them and expect it from them. What I saw in maybe the last five or six games, including that four-game winning streak, was more chances, more willingness to go to the net and do all those little things that you have to do. That is quite promising.

On the expected performance of the Olympic players, especially David Krejci:

Well, I am sure it was refreshing to David to go out and not just do well but exceptionally well. It was a change and, as a matter of fact, David has been playing well the last couple of weeks. So, it does not surprise me that he has gone out there and played well. Then I saw his games and he played very well. These guys are going, the guys that are playing yesterday and today, they are going to be tired. You know, so you are going to see that at the start, they are going to be tired.

On how hard it is to evaluate the team during the Olympic break with the thought of trades in mind:

Well, it is hard. But, we have to take a broader viewpoint. You don’t just base it on your last game. The harder thing was talking about your team, talking about your needs with other GMs knowing you can’t do anything. But everyone faces that.

Read More: Peter Chiarelli,

Remembering the other gold medal ‘Miracle’

02.28.10 at 8:26 am ET
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Exactly 50 years ago, on Feb. 28, 1960, the U.S. Olympic hockey team did something that nobody thought it ever could of done.

It won the gold medal.

The setting was Squaw Valley, Calif., and the world was a much different place than it is today. The Olympics were coming into the modern age. Instant replay was used for the first time, television was becoming ubiquitous and computerized record-keeping was taking its first steps.

The world was changing, but some things never truly change. In 1960, the Canadians were good at hockey. So were the Soviets. The countries were destined to battle for the gold medal, damn all other comers.

Heading into the Olympic tournament, the pundits did not give the United States a chance. The media thought the Americans would struggle for fourth place and get steam rolled by the Harry Sinden led Canadian team.

‘€œYou could count, on one hand, the number of times that the United States beat Canada in the Olympics,’€ 1960 coach Jack Riley said when interviewed for the documentary ‘€œForgotten Miracle’€ last June.

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Bruins breakdown: The big boppers

02.27.10 at 7:59 pm ET
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The compliment to the puck moving defensemen are the boys who patrol the blue line and deliver more bruises than points. Size is an important quality to have in a NHL defender corps and in that department Mark Stuart and Johnny Boychuk deliver.

Stuart — The 2003 Bruins first round draft pick has been a model of consistency since breaking into the NHL full time in the 2007-08 season. He has played in all 82 games two years in a row and delivered solid, though not spectacular numbers.

Stuart falls into line with what late first round picks are usually supposed to do — become steady professionals and productive members of their teams. He spent three years at Colorado College picking up polish before making his Bruins debut in the 2005-06 season and after a two seasons spent on the highway between Providence and Boston finally cracked in as a regular.

Stuart is solid and at this point in his career could probably fit into any defensive second pair in the league. That was not the case until recently though as last year it was hard to judge whether he was a third defenseman or rather a fourth or fifth. At times he played like each. Before breaking his finger when he caught his finger in Wayne Simmonds jersey on Jan. 31, he was playing much more like a third defenseman than ever before in his career.

“I thought he was playing some of his best hockey,” coach Claude Juliens said of Stuart on Saturday. “Whether it was coincidence or whether we moved him up and given him more minutes. We really wanted to see how he would react to that and he did a great job of it and we needed that at the time. It was unfortunate, I thought he was playing some of his best hockey the last three or four games before he got injured.”

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Read More: Johnny Boychuk, Mark Stuart,

Bruins breakdown: The puck movers

02.27.10 at 5:29 pm ET
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The second to last installment of our Bruins breakdown at the break focuses on the portion of the team where the Bruins never seem to have enough — puck moving defensemen.

This group, consisting of Andrew Ference, Dennis Wideman and Matt Hunwick has not been the bright and shining beacon of hope that the Bruins would like to see from three relatively talented individuals. Injury and inconsistency has the Bruins thinking a trade for another puck mover at the deadline might be in order for the second year in a row.

Ference ‘€“ The problem with Ference is that his body is a ticking time bomb. He has not played in 60 games in a season for the Bruins since being acquired from the Flames in Feb. 2007. He played in 82 for the Calgary in 2005-06 and a combined 80 between the Flames and Bruins in 2006-07. Since then the his high is 59 for the Bruins in 2007-08. With 46 games played so far this year and 22 left to play, there is a chance for him to actually play in most of the Bruins games this season.

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Read More: Andrew Ference, Dennis Wideman, Matt Hunwick,

Is Lucic really up to full speed?

02.27.10 at 12:42 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — With 22 games left and a playoff spot up for grabs, the Bruins would like to know that they finally have everyone on their roster healthy and ready to contribute to the grind.

For Milan Lucic, that may not exactly be the case.

The Bruins were running 2-on-1 drills midway through practice on Saturday. Lucic was paired with Michael Ryder who backhanded a pass from behind the baseline that deflected off of the blade of Lucic’s skate. It must have buzzed through his bad ankle and his leg because the hulking left winger winced momentarily before resuming his spot in the drill.

“It was all good,” Lucic said. “That type of stuff happens all the time. It feels good, better since before the break. That is what is seems what the break was good for.”

Lucic still keeps the ankle pretty heavily taped but says that it is a precautionary measure.

“You kind of have to because it is so easy to re-injure that you want to be safe,” Lucic said. “I don’t like being taped before every game and every practice. It is a little different, a little annoying but it is something that you got to do to get through this.”

Coach Claude Julien more or less agreed with his forward and said that if Lucic thinks he is fine, Julien is not going to second-guess him.

“You have to take his word for what he is saying,” Julien said. “I am not going to second-guess him but an ankle injury is an ankle injury. Those things don’t totally disappear but I haven’t heard him complain about it and it is effecting him. Our trainers seem to think he is good. I think what you are seeing is more of a guy who has had so many setbacks this year that it is going to take him a while to catch up. I think that is what we talked about when he came back.”

Baseball players will tell you that wrist injuries are some of the hardest to really recover from because they tend to linger. Baseball players use their wrists for just about everything they do and every year you will see a plethora of hamate bone breaks and sheath tendon tears (Dustin Pedroia had the former, David Ortiz the latter). In hockey, the ankle is a similar type of malignant injury because it is hard to come back from considering all the stopping and starting skating requires.

The Bruins company line right now is that Lucic’s ankle is fine, yet it is easy to wonder how fine it actually is. Even after the initial buzz from Ryder’s pass that Lucic said “happens all the time” he still looked like he may have been favoring it at the end of the practice, especially after a puck battle drill in center ice. The battle went back and forth (kind of a “keep away” type of drill) and the pair broke towards the goal and Lucic slipped in the offensive zone. He came up wincing after and did not look like he wanted to put too much weight on the ankle.

No matter how well the ankle is actually feeling, do not look for the young wingman to miss any time unless another dramatic injury occurs. For now the ankle is well enough to play on and Lucic do so, no matter if it is slowing him down or not.

– The practice lines were the same they have been the last two days.

Saturday participation by sweater color:

White — Daniel Paille, Marc Savard, Mark Recchi

Grey — Blake Wheeler, Vladimir Sobotka, Michael Ryder

Red — Byron Bitz, Steve Begin, Lucic, Shawn Thornton

Defensemen — Dennis Wideman, Andrew Ference, Mark Stuart, Matt Hunwick, Derek Morris, Johnny Boychuk

Goaltenders — Tuukka Rask, Matt Dalton

Read More: Milan Lucic,
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