|10.04.10 at 1:35 pm ET|
PRAGUE — It was just around when David Krejci talked about taking teammates out for goulash that this picky-eating reporter realized that he just may be out of luck when it comes to sustenance in the Czech Republic. Not to worry, thanks to the mini-mart down the street.
|10.04.10 at 12:00 pm ET|
PRAGUE — Here are some shots of Zdeno Chara and David Krejci talking to the Czech media. The cameras have come out in full force, for the players, both of whom were born in what was at the time Czechoslovakia. The majority of the media attention’s attention has been on Krejci, whose hometown, Sternberk is still a part of the Czech Republic, with Chara’s native Trencin falling in Slovakia.
|10.04.10 at 10:06 am ET|
PRAGUE — The Bruins couldn’t get enough going offensively to make a blip on the radar in the first period and a half against the Belfast Giants, so changes could be in the works as they gear up for NHL competition at the end of the week.
The team may have gotten a bit of a head start, moving Jordan Caron off the second line and placing Blake Wheeler on the other wing with Mark Recchi and Patrice Bergeron. Caron had been moved off the line as the Belfast game went on. On Tuesday, he skated with Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder’s line, which Daniel Paille had also joined for the practice. Wheeler has now gone from potential third-line center to third-line wing to potential second-line wing.
Claude Julien said after the practice that the team had begun noticing a more tired Caron, which was the reason for the offensive adjustments.
“I think what we took time to realize was that he was at the rookie camp. They had a couple of games, he worked hard that week [before training camp opened]. He hasn’t had as much of a break as the other players. What I’m feeling is that the fatigue is probably showing a little bit, so sometimes you pull a guy back a little bit and let him go back and maybe show us that he can regain that speed that he had earlier on. I just felt like he’s slowed down a little bit, so we want to give him that chance to hopefully regain that. That’s up to him to show us that he can keep up the pace here.
“That’s the only question when you’re talking about Jordan,” he added. “I think he’s strong, he protects the puck well, he takes it to the net. He’s got so many qualities. Right now it’s probably a matter of [whether he can] sustain the tempo of the game at this level and keep his game as consistent as possible. This is what he’s got to prove to us.”
|10.04.10 at 9:13 am ET|
PRAGUE — There’s no way anyone going on this Belfast-Prague-Liberec-Prague excursion wasn’t psyched out of their minds for the trip. There’s also no way a writer whose dealings with foreign cities stopped at Quebec wouldn’t have some reservations about new territories and a new language.
This one just didn’t think he’d have his, “I’m a goner” moment so soon in.
So we arrived on Sunday night, and it was beautiful. I actually slept for a little more than 14 hours as soon as I got to the hotel and got up just before 10 a.m. for the 11 a.m. practice. I called a cab, wrote down the address for the arena, which was about 15 minutes away tops, and enjoyed some very limited conversation with the driver, who knew just a few words of English. Either way, I would soon be at Tesla Arena.
No I wouldn’t.
About 15 minutes into the ride the cab pulls into some sketchy alley-ish place. There’s a mechanic on the right, and a guy smoking a cigarette down the street.
“No,” I say calmly, though I’m naturally worried.
The cab driver points to the address I had written down. “Yes.”
“Sorry, but no,” I say, growing more concerned with each passing second. “Hockey.”
“No ‘okay.’ Hockey,” I say, air-stickhandling. “Hockey.”
By now I figure I have seen my family and friends for the last time. That guy down the street is smoking his cigarette and wondering what the hell is going on. Or is he? Maybe he’s in on the ruse too. I try again.
“Hockey, please. Hockey.”
That’s when I remembered the conversation I’d had a day earlier with my last cab driver about Czech players.
“Dominik Hasek! Jaromir Jagr!”
He drove me to the arena, which was maybe 45 seconds from where we were, and I have just now gotten the blood back in my face.
|10.04.10 at 8:58 am ET|
PRAGUE — Claude Julien said on Monday that Tim Thomas would be in net for the Bruins when they square off with HC Liberec at Tipsport Arena in Liberec. Thomas, who had offseason hip surgery, has played in one preseason game thus far, the team’s exhibition with the Capitals last Wednesday at TD Garde.
“I feel pretty good,” Thomas said Monday of his preseason. “It’s a building process and it’s coming along. I’m trying to make games every day. You might not get that every day, but if you get it the majority of the days, then you’re doing a pretty good job and I think that’s what I’m accomplishing.”
As for the recovery from the surgery, the team brought him along rather slowly in training camp despite the fact that he was able to participate in captain’s practices in September. Any health concerns seem to be a thing of the past, with the team’s chief concerns likely centered around how ready he is for the season.
“I haven’t heard anything on the negative side of that and I think it’s just slowly bringing him into the groove of things,” Julien said. “Obviously, anybody who started off a little late and had some days off is maybe not caught up quite yet to the rest of the team, but we’re working with him in order for him to be that. I think health-wise he’s doing pretty good and he’ll play for him tomorrow in that game. We’ve got to help him overcome that little hump there and get him as ready as he can be.”
KEEPING UP WITH APPEARANCES
Thomas is rocking a whole new getup when it comes to his equipment this season, going with an all-white look rather than his usual golden getup. He tops off the atire change with a white mask that has some traces of a light grey, the only coloring being an American flag on the back.
“I’ve been told for years that white makes you look bigger,” Thomas said. “… Hopefully I look bigger than ever.”
That’s a change from the typical American person, who generally seeks the help of vertical stripes to look as thin as they can.
“Yeah but I’m hoping that if the pads look bigger it will make my stomach look smaller.”
|10.03.10 at 1:12 pm ET|
PRAGUE — After a wonderful three days in Belfast, the Big Bad Blog is now in Prague for the week (the Bruins came, too). The team flew out at noon Belfast time and arrive just a couple hours ago, picking up one hour in the time zone change. We’re now a quarter of a day ahead of you guys, so expect to wake up each morning with a heaping plate of news ready for you. Here are some pictures from the trip from Belfast to Prague, including some of the Czech media going batty for David Krejci (from Czech) and Zdeno Chara (Slovakia).
The Bruins will be playing three games while in the Czech Republic. They’ll have an exhibition game on Tuesday in Liberec before opening the regular season at 02 Arena with a pair of games against the Coyotes on Saturday and Sunday.
|10.02.10 at 10:10 pm ET|
BELFAST — The first leg of the overseas Bruins trip is unfortunately done with, as the Big Bad Blog departs Belfast but will continue to bring all the unfathomably good stuff from Prague over the next week.
There was a lot of stuff to blog in the three days that I’ve been here, so naturally some tidbits I came away with fell through the cracks. Here are a couple:
– Meet Wayne Hardman. He covers the Giants and loves the crap out of hockey. He’s a real die-hard for the sport over in Northern Ireland, something I was not sure existed. He’s so committed that he commutes two hours every day to do what he calls more of a “passion” than a job.
– Speaking of that name, an enforcer in Belfast is referred to as a “hard man.” Gross.
– People use expressions we’d be familiar with, such as “how are you?” and the other basics, but when it comes to the really informal, youthful way of asking someone how they are, throw “sup” out the window. Instead they say, “What’s the crack?” Gross.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
– “I guess like that?” – Seguin, after a reporter with a very heavy accent asked him how he’d been handling the Northern Irish accents. Seguin apologized several times for not understanding him (he wasn’t alone — the media scrum was just as confused), and when he finally realized what he was asking, it was the only logical answer.
– “I definitely wanted one, but oh well. Me wanting a goal and [not] getting one is pretty much my life story.” — Thornton when asked if he was content with not scoring a goal in front of his family (he had two assists).