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Zdeno Chara to miss two games, pre-break return not ruled out for Adam McQuaid

02.01.14 at 12:28 pm ET
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Claude Julien confirmed Saturday that Zdeno Chara, in addition to missing the last game before the Olympic break against the Senators next Saturday, will miss Thursday’s game against the Blues as he heads to Sochi early to carry Slovakia’s flag in the opening ceremonies.

The opening ceremonies will take place Friday, so the idea that Chara would have played Thursday night and then traveled cross-country with a six-hour time difference seemed close to impossible. As such, the news that Chara won’t play Thursday should come as no surprise. Julien said he is unsure whether Chara will travel to St. Louis with the team and then leave for Russia or stay back in Boston following Tuesday’s game against the Canucks.

Adam McQuaid, who has not played since leaving the team’s Jan. 19 game against the Blackhawks with a leg injury, continues to work out but has yet to skate. He began to bike about four days ago, estimated Julien.

“If he’s 100 percent, he’s going to go,” Julien said. “We’ve always said that; there’s no use holding a guy back if he’s 100 percent, but there’s no doubt that if he’s not quite there yet, that the next two weeks would be really useful for him. That’s what we have to decide here, but especially with Zdeno being gone the last couple of games, if he’s 100 percent, you want him in the lineup.”

Asked whether it was conceivable that McQuaid could get on the ice in the coming days and be ready for a game in short order, Julien was a bit more reserved in his expectations.

“I don’t even know if he’s going to get on the ice,” Julien admitted. “I haven’t gotten that far with him or with the trainers, I should say, but I know he’s progressing well. I don’t even want to kind of make a prediction because I don’t know.”

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Read More: Adam McQuaid, Zdeno Chara,

Still beloved in Boston, Andrew Ference grateful for ‘fairytale’ parting with Bruins

02.01.14 at 12:15 pm ET
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In case you missed any of Andrew Ferences seven years in Boston — and especially the last one — it’s no secret that he and the city had quite the affinity for one another.

It was Ference who pushed the Stanley Cup around the city in a stroller following the team’s victory over the Canucks in 2011 and, most importantly, played a key role in making the Bruins a big part of Boston’s recovery from last April’s marathon bombings.

He didn’t want to leave Boston, but he did so on as good of terms as any athlete ever will. Peter Chiarelli told the veteran defenseman at breakup day following last season that the team would not be re-signing him due to young depth on defense and salary cap concerns. Ference took the news with no hard feelings and spent the days leading up to the first day of free agency, when he signed with his hometown Oilers, parting ways with his new home amicably.

Ference, who was named captain of the Oilers prior to the season, brought his wife and daughters with him for the trip back to Boston this weekend, as he said his family will “always have a special place in our lives for everything that happened here.”

On Friday night, Ference and the Oilers left a pair of Ference t-shirt jerseys at Sal’s Pizza by Boston Common. Two Bruins fans promptly got there and took pictures with the veteran defenseman. Not too many other players can come back like that after leaving.

“I said it when I left, too, that I realized how fortunate I am to kind of leave under those circumstances,” Ference said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys over the course of their careers that get traded at the drop of a hat. They’re packed up and gone the next day and don’t really get a chance to have a long drawn-out goodbye like I did.

“When I was told I wasn’t going to come back here, it was under the best terms with Peter and with the team. They were happy with what I did and I was happy with everything they did, which is great, and then I had the chance to see a bunch of friends and spend some time with people here. It’s special, you know? It’s been about as fairytale as it gets in the sports world from a player’s perspective of how to leave a city and go to a different city, but know that you can come back to open arms.”

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Tuukka Rask on Claude Julien ExplanationGate: ‘He’s the boss’

01.31.14 at 1:26 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Claude Julien was all hot and bothered Thursday night when pressed for a reason as to why he pulled Tuukka Rask in the second period of the team’s 4-1 loss to the Canadiens. Julien said he didn’t have to explain himself and that some of the moves he makes are for the team to understand and not anyone else.

Rask obviously wasn’t happy with being pulled after the game, but he agreed Friday that Julien doesn’t need to explain his decisions to anyone — even him.

“No,” Rask said. “He’s the boss and he makes decisions based on what he sees on the ice. He doesn’t have to tell anybody anything. I battle out there as long as I need to. [Yesterday] didn’t last too long, and it’s too bad.”

As for whether he would like his coach to discuss his play and why he’d been pulled, Rask replied, “Doesn’t matter to me.”

Rask, who still leads the NHL with five shutouts and is fifth in the league with a .928 save percentage, has been pulled four times since Dec. 14. Thursday’s was the most controversial given that only one of the goals he allowed was particularly bad and Julien’s postgame comments.

‘€œDon’€™t think I have to explain myself [for] why I pull a goalie, OK? Because this isn’€™t going to be one of those things where we make a big story out of a pulled goalie,” Julien said. “Our team was poor tonight, ‘€˜K? So maybe sometimes you pull a goalie for different reasons, and I don’€™t think I have to explain everything to you guys for the reasons, because there’€™s a lot of decisions that I make that are for inside that dressing room, not necessarily for everyone to share.’€

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Read More: Claude Julien, Tuukka Rask,

Adam McQuaid still missing from practice

01.31.14 at 1:11 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Adam McQuaid was once again the only player absent from practice as the Bruins skated Friday at Ristuccia Arena.

McQuaid has not played since the second period of the team’s shootout loss to the Blackhawks on Jan. 19 due to a leg injury. He has missed 23 total games this season due to multiple lower-body injuries.

The Bruins’ lines were the same in Friday’s practice as they were in Thursday’s loss to the Canadiens, with Chris Kelly on the third line with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.

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Claude Julien in no mood to explain why he pulled Tuukka Rask

01.30.14 at 10:57 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask didn’t seem happy about being pulled Thursday, and Claude Julien was in no mood to explain why.

After Brian Gionta scored on the power play to make it 3-1 in the second period of Montreal’s win Thursday, Julien pulled Rask for the fourth time since Dec. 14. Rask was visibly upset as he left the ice, and after the game said that he felt “OK” in the game.

“I play as long as they tell me to play,” Rask said, “so I try to battle out there are hard as I can, I stay out there as long as I possibly can and today it lasted a little over one period. It’s too bad.”

The Habs’ second goal came on a breakaway off a turnover from Daniel Paille, while the first goal was a shot from the point that went through a lot of traffic. Though Gionta’s goal in which he tipped in a Tomas Plekanec shot was a bad goal to give up, it was still somewhat surprising to see Rask yanked given the circumstances of the goals he allowed.

“It’s a lot of everything,” Julien said after the game when asked why he pulled Rask. “That’s decisions that I make and I don’t feel I have to explain [them] every time.”

Later in Julien’s press conference, he was asked what “a lot of everything” includes.

“[It] includes what I want it to,” Julien said. “Don’t think I have to explain myself [for] why I pull a goalie, OK? Because this isn’t going to be one of those things where we make a big story out of a pulled goalie. Our team was poor tonight, ‘K? So maybe sometimes you pull a goalie for different reasons, and I don’t think I have to explain everything to you guys for the reasons, because there’s a lot of decisions that I make that are for inside that dressing room, not necessarily for everyone to share.”

The loss Thursday night dropped Rask to 2-10-2 in his career against the Canadiens. For a guy who has dominated most other teams, those numbers are alarming. It may be a little early in his career to bring up the Pedro Martinez-Yankees comparison, but the Canadiens have been Rask’s kryptonite.

“I don’t know,” Rask said of why he’s put up poor numbers against Montreal. “I mean, I haven’t played too many bad games against them; I just can’t get the wins. I mean, it sucks, but what can you do? Just hopefully by the end of my career, they’re better.”

For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Claude Julien, Tuukka Rask,

Canadiens chase Tuukka Rask, beat Bruins

01.30.14 at 9:39 pm ET
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The Canadiens interrupted the Bruins’ recent hot streak Thursday, taking a 4-1 contest at TD Garden and improving to 2-0-0 against the B’s this season.

Tuukka Rask was pulled for the fourth time this season and dropped to 2-10-2 in his career against the Canadiens. He allowed three goals on 18 shots before being pulled a little over halfway through the second period. Chad Johnson allowed one goal in relief.

The Habs got on the board 2:16 into the game when an Alexei Emelin shot from the point went through plenty of traffic but didn’t appear to hit anything on its way past Rask. Max Pacioretty made it 2-0 later in the period when he took a feed from Brendan Gallagher off a Daniel Paille turnover, flew down the wing and held off Johnny Boychuk on his way to beating Rask five-hole.

Dougie Hamilton got the B’s on the board at 15:38 of the first when a shot from the point hit a Montreal body and got past Peter Budaj, but it would be Boston’s only goal of the night. A Brian Gionta power-play goal at 11:54 of the second chased Rask, and a Daniel Briere breakaway goal on Johnson made it a three-goal lead for the Habs.

The loss snapped the Bruins’ four-game winning streak. The B’s have four games left before the Olympic break and will host Andrew Ference and the Oilers on Saturday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

— Rask has now been pulled four times this season, all of which have come in the last month and a half. Rask was pulled Dec. 14 against the Canucks, Dec. 28 in Ottawa and Jan. 9 in Los Angeles. Though Gionta’s goal was the only particularly bad one he allowed, getting yanked at least four times in a season isn’t a great thing to have on a Vezina resume.

— The Bruins had scored six goals in three straight games (3-0-0) prior to Thursday’s game, but they were able to muster exactly one sixth of that mark Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Chad Johnson, Dougie Hamilton, Peter Budaj, Tuukka Rask

Bruins set to host Canadiens

01.30.14 at 12:01 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask will be in net Thursday night against the Canadiens, as he was the first goaltender off the ice in Thursday’s morning skate. He will face Peter Budaj, who gets the start for the Habs. Montreal last played Tuesday, with Carey Price making his eighth consecutive start.

It will be just the second meeting between the teams this season, with the Habs taking a 2-1 win Dec. 5 in Montreal.

The Bruins have been hot of late, going 6-1-1 over their last eight contests and scoring six goals in three straight (3-0-0), while the Canadiens are slumping. Montreal’s win Tuesday over the Hurricanes stopped a four-game skid, and the Habs currently stand fourth in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. By comparison, the Habs, who have played 53 games to Boston’s 52, are 10 points behind the B’s (Boston has 71 points to Montreal’s 61).

Adam McQuaid did not take part in the morning skate as he remains out with a leg injury. Chris Kelly took line rushes with the fourth line, which is where he played for the first two periods of Tuesday’s win over the Panthers.

The anticipated lineup is as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Paille – Soderberg – Eriksson
Campbell – Kelly – Thornton

Chara – Hamilton
Bartkowski – Boychuk
Krug – Miller

Rask

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