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Recchi not present at Bruins practice this afternoon

WILMINGTON — Greetings from the Ristuccia Arena practice ice where the Boston Bruins [1] may be having their final on-ice run through of a mostly magical 2008-09 hockey season.

–It appears that veteran B’s forward Mark Recchi [2] — along with Andrew Ference [3] and Matt Hunwick — isn’t on the ice with his Bruins teammates for this go-round. Don’t remember seeing anything really violent that took place with the 41-year-old during the Game 4 disaster at the RBC Center, but he isn’t practicing with the team today. Blake Wheeler [4] has taken his place alongside Patrice Bergeron [5] and Chuck Kobasew [6], and Byron Bitz is skating with David Krejci [7] and Michael Ryder [8].

UPDATE: B’s coach Claude Julien [9] said after practice that Recchi was “banged up” in Friday night’s loss, but that the 41-year-old should be able to answer the bell for Sunday night’s do-or-die Game 5.

“We still have Ference that’s doubtful,” said Julien. “Recchi is banged up today, but I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be back with us (Sunday) as we speak. Those are going to have to be some decisions that are made tomorrow.”   

–Julien believes that a lot of the problems have become mental with his B’s skaters. So many young players without deep playoff experience combined with a veteran corps with few Cup veterans have turned into the B’s into mere shadows of their former selves. Now is the time, according to Julien, for the team to simplify their games, conquer their frustration and anger and transform all of this puck angst back into Bruins hockey.

If they don’t, then the season end beckons in one of the next few hockey contests. 

“A lot of it has to be mental,” said Julien. “When you lost three games in a row the way we’ve played, and the way we’ve played in the past, mentally it takes its toll and mentally we have to get our heads around it. We have to go out and play the game that we’ve played all year.

“We need to look at tomorrow’s game as the only obstacle to overcome. It’s the only thing we should be thinking of, it’s the only thing we should be worried. We shouldn’t think of anything else but that, and that’s how you simplify things. Some of the reasons we’re in the situation we’re in right now is because we’re doing things that we haven’t done the whole year. I think some of the players mentioned that it’s the effort or the will to want to do it. We’ve got to get our heads around it play our game. That’s what is costing us.”