|01.25.10 at 2:01 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — A Bruins fan taped a sign to the bleachers at the Bruins practice facility at Ristuccia Arena Monday morning that read: “Success is how high you bounce when you hit rock bottom,” ‘ General George Patton. Monday’s practice was spirited from the get-go, with coach Claude Julien running full ice drills early as he tries to keep his team focused through this extended slump during which time Boston has dropped from the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference to the ninth.
The B’s hope that when they take to the ice for Friday’s game in Buffalo that the team will have a couple of key forwards back in the fold. With three more full practices before then, the Bruins have some housekeeping to take care of as they try to bounce back from this horrendous stretch of losses.
“Today was just things you have to do, things that you have to work on,” defenseman Derek Morris said. “It is going to be a long week of practice. We have to forget about those ones behind us and worry about the ones coming up. Win three, four, five games in a row and we are back up there in fifth moving our way back up. Everybody is kind of counting us out. We are not out yet and we are getting some guys back, we are getting healthy and we just have to worry about the next one.”
Speaking of getting healthy, Marc Savard was slotted into a line with Miroslav Satan and Daniel Paille. It was the first time since he sustained his injury that he has participated in full practice activities with linemates. He is still wearing a brace on his injured knee but says that he does not think about it much.
“It was a good test for it, got a little tired towards the end, but other than that, it felt strong,” Savard said. “Did everything, did the battle drills toward the end, felt good skating, hands felt good. Hopefully this time around I can be more of a presence when I get back.”
Savard said it definitely has been frustrating to watch his teammates and not be able to help out. At the same time, he is making sure that when he does come back that he will be an effective member of the team.
“It seems like when it rains, it pours. It is an old saying, but it seems that is what is happening right now,” Savard said. “Perhaps we just have to get the first goal in a game. We have a good week of preparation this week and we will keep on working until Friday.”
Byron Bitz rejoined practice for the first time since the Bruins came back from their three-game California trip.
“Feel good, full practice today. Stayed out the whole time. Hopefully it keeps progressing,” Bitz said. Bitz now has skated three days in a row and is shooting for Friday as his return date. “Third day in a row now on the ice, [the stamina] is coming back. Only had a week off so you don’t lose too much in that time, and we have three more practices to recover.”
Marco Sturm and Steve Begin, both who have been listed as day-to-day for the last week, did not skate and continue to be on the watch list. Julien does not know when to expect them on the ice and says that he can only go off what the training staff tells him.
“Just to clarify things, we have had players who we were saying were day-to-day, and those guys were day-to-day,” Julien said. “Sometimes day-to-day becomes a week situation. If I had known they would have been out for a week, I would have told you. Right now, Marco is still day-to-day but the hope is that he is going to start skating this week. That is all I can tell you right now.”
Here is the list of participation by sweater color:
White – Satan, Savard, Paille.
Red — Shawn Thornton (left early), Vladimir Sobotka, Bitz.
Bright Red — Drew Larman, Trent Whitfield.
|01.23.10 at 3:55 pm ET|
Summary — The Senators completed a sweeps week against the Bruins with another victory at TD Garden, 2-1 over in this Saturday’s matinee. Daniel Alfredsson scored Ottawa’s first goal and Jason Spezza had the game winner in the second period. Tim Thomas took his second loss of the week at the hands of the Senators though he played better than Monday when he was pulled from the game in favor or Tuukka Rask.
Daniel Paille scored the Bruins only goal in the second period with a blast from the left wing over Elliot’s glove shoulder to tie the game. The goal was the forward’s seventh of the season.
The Bruins have not won a game in the Garden during the entire month of January (they did when at Fenway) and continue to struggle to score goals without Marc Savard and Marco Sturm. Byron Bitz and Steve Begin also missed the game. None of the four will travel to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes tomorrow night as the Bruins will not have ice time before the game.
Boston is now six points behind Ottawa for second place in the Northeast Division.
Brian Elliott — Ottawa’s goalie was solid in stopping 32 of shots and his team outscored the Bruins 7-2 on the week.
Daniel Alfredsson — In two games this week, Alfredsson has outscored the Bruins 4-2 and been a general menace in the TD Garden. The wingman has six goals and four assists for Ottawa in his last 12 games since coming back from an injury.
Daniel Paille — The wingman skated hard and provided the only spark of offense for the Bruins in another frustrating offensive performance.
For the second game in a row the play hinged not on a goal that was scored, but one that was not. After killing an Ottawa penalty it looked like the Bruins had taken a 2-1 lead late in the second period when Mark Recchi crashed the net and appeared to knock the puck past Brian Elliot. The play was reviewed and determined that Recchi kicked the puck (which ricocheted of Elliot’s skate). About a minute later Spezza scored the go-ahead goal and the Senators did not look back.
Jason Spezza was questionable coming into Saturday’s game and the Bruins probably wish that he had delayed his comeback from injury for at least another day. He scored the game winner at 16:39 in the second period and the goal took away any momentum the Bruins had mustered. Spezza was fed in the center of the offensive zone from Alex Kovalev and let out a wily wrist shot that Thomas was able to see and follow, but could not corale.
|01.22.10 at 12:21 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins are working on some power play drills and some from the corner 2-on-1 drills today at Ristuccia as they try to forget Thursday’s painful upset at the hands of the Blue Jackets. Marc Savard is on the ice wearing a red sweater and lightly participating in the session after a solo workout this morning.
“I felt great today,” Savard said. “I was only going to go out for a bit and ended up staying the whole way . . . We haven’t talked about [playing this weekend.] For now it is still next Friday. It is going to be up to the coaching staff and the training staff and how comfortable they are with it. I don’t have any pain and that is a good sign. I have the brace and felt solid out there.”
Other than that, the lines look like they are the same as last night. Marco Sturm, Steve Begin and Byron Bitz are not on the ice and Drew Larman is sticking around with the big club for at least one more day. Defenseman Andrew Ference is also still on the inactive list.
“Just going day-by-day,” Larman said before the Columbus game. “I am looking to bring my best to the ice.”
For those who may not be familiar with Larman, this is how he describes his game: “Strong two-way player, very solid in the defensive zone and reliable. Strong on face offs, strong on the penalty kill, getting in the right lanes, having and active stick, chipping in offensively with the right timing of a goal,” Larman said.
Larman had seven shifts with 5:29 of ice time on Thursday and recorded one shot.
– Here are the lines by sweater color:
White: Michael Ryder, Trent Whitfield, Miroslav Satan
Red: Larman, Vladimir Sobotoka, Shawn Thornton, Savard
– The Bruins will wear their Winter Classic sweaters tomorrow for their matinee rematch against Ottawa. This will be the second of four times that Boston will wear the sweaters this year.
|01.22.10 at 11:13 am ET|
The Bruins had all the reason in the world to feel they got shafted on Thursday night.
And that shaft belonged to one Anton Stralman, who clipped his teammate Derick Brassard with his stick. But, as everyone knows by now – including the officials – it was Milan Lucic who was incorrectly penalized with a four-minute high-sticking call.
The subsequent power play led to R.J. Umberger re-directing Stralman’s shot past Tuukka Rask for the deciding goal in a 3-2 heart-breaking loss to Columbus.
But after Bruins coach Claude Julien and his staff were given an apology by supervisor of officials Mick McGeough following the game, there was a sense that the officials’ error could have been easily mitigated if only the Bruins could somehow put away a last-place team on their home ice.
That was the focus of several players – including Lucic afterward.
Here’s what they had to say:
|01.22.10 at 1:55 am ET|
Patrice Bergeron scored his first goal since coming back from a broken right thumb. But his goal, which put the Bruins up, 2-1 after two, turned out to be little consolation as the Bruins suffered another third-period meltdown on TD Garden ice in a 3-2 loss to the Blue Jackets.
The other goal scorer from Thursday night, Michael Ryder, said there’s no panic but the Bruins are still a team searching for ways to finish teams off in the third period.
|01.21.10 at 10:02 pm ET|
Summary — The Bruins dropped a heartbreaker to the Columbus Blue Jackets, as they watched a 2-1, third-period lead disintegrate into a 3-2 loss in front of a packed house at the TD Garden. The Jackets’ R.J. Umberger tipped an Anton Stralman blast from the point past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask with a little more than a minute left in the game.
Michael Ryder struck the first blow in the game off an open-ice dish from Trent Whitfield to give the Bruins an early 1-0 advantage in the first. Columbus struck back later in the period when Raffi Torres intercepted a weak clearing pass from defenseman Dennis Wideman and crossed to Chris Clark, who beat Rask with a slap shot from the high slot.
Boston outplayed the Blue Jackets in the second period and took the lead when Patrice Bergeron split a pair of defenders with a shot that beat Steve Mason low on the glove side. It looked like the Bruins were going to make the goal stand until Antoine Vermette busted down Rask’s door in the middle of the third to tie the game.
Steve Mason — Outside of the Umberger game-winner, Mason was the difference for the Blue Jackets on the night. He showed flashes of his former self from the 2008-09 season and was pivotal in stopping a plethora of B’s scoring chances in the first and second period and finished the game with 32 saves on 34 shots.
Antoine Vermette — The Bruins were never safe or comfortable when the Jackets’ first-line center was on the ice. He scored the tying goal and had a power-play goal disallowed (kicking) in the second period.
Patrice Bergeron — The Bruins’ points leader played a good all-around game and gave the Bruins the lead in the second period. The goal was his 12th of the year and added to his team high 32 points on the year.
The play that set up the Umberger game-winner was a phantom double-minor high-sticking penalty on Milan Lucic at the 18:29 mark in the third. Lucic was driving from the corner to the net when he was called for the penalty, setting up the power play. Columbus scored 15 seconds later after a timeout to break the Bruins’ back.
Late in the second period, the Blue Jackets were on their first power play of the game when it appeared that Vermette had beaten Rask with with a dribbling puck when the goaltender was out of position. Rask immediately protested that the puck had gone off of Vermette’s skate and the officials reviewed the play. It turned out that Vermette had indeed kicked the puck into the goal with his back skate and the goal was disallowed because of the center’s “distinct kicking motion.” The Bruins would eventually lose the lead, but the play kept the advantage on their side until the final half of the third.
|01.21.10 at 12:06 pm ET|
Here are the notes from the morning skate at TD Garden.
— The Bruins recalled 24-year-old Drew Larman from Providence, which means that Marco Sturm, Steve Begin and Byron Bitz all will once again be unavailable for Boston Thursday evening when the B’s take on Columbus at TD Garden. None of the three forwards participated in the morning skate. Coach Claude Julien would not describe Bitz or Begin’s injuries because they could “be back at any time” and doing so would be a “liability.” Sturm left practice yesterday to prevent a setback with the leg injury he has been dealing with in the past week.
“He didn’t set himself back he just felt that he wasn’t ready so he pulled himself off before he set himself back,” Julien said.
There are no smoke and mirrors with the Bruins injury situation right now as the players who took part in the morning skate will be the ones to take the ice tonight.
“What you saw out there is what we got,” Julien said. “I don’t think there are any secrets there. We have got our 20 guys and that is what we will run with.”
— Marc Savard spoke the the media after the skate and said that he expects to be back in the lineup next Friday on the road against Buffalo. He sustained a Grade 2 partial MCL tear against Chicago 28-seconds into the first period on January 7th. Today was the second day that he has skated and he has been wearing a big brace on during his workouts.
“When I am actually out there and doing stuff and skating I am not thinking about it but when I stop I think about it for a bit. But, besides for that it feels pretty normal,” Savard said.
“Hopefully I am better for all of this and I finish strong,” Savard said. “I was out there today and I felt pretty good. I said ‘maybe I can come back Sunday?’ But that is not the case. I have got to watch it and make sure, you don’t want to come back on Sunday and hurt it again and be losing my mind. I am just going to work through it and have a good skate tomorrow and go from there.”