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Practice, yes. Bergeron, no.

Posted By Graig Woodburn On November 30, 2009 @ 1:17 pm In General | No Comments

WILMINGTON  —  It was probably just a coincidence that the Bruins decided to reward their assistant coaches with contract extensions just before they will be counted on to pace the team through a stretch loaded with heightened practice time.

After inking assistant coaches Doug Houda, Craig Ramsay and Geoff Ward, goaltending coach Bob Essensa and video coach Brant Berglund to multi-year contract extensions the Bruins got back to work at their practice rink Monday.

They will probably be spending a lot of time there.

Having played 10 games over a 19-day period, the Bruins will have just four games over a 12- day stretch. That means time to work out the kinks at practice and the chance for key players to mend minor injuries.

Leading scorer Patrice Bergeron [1] was not on the ice for practice Monday after being struck by a shot in the leg while killing a penalty seven minutes into Saturday’€™s 4-3 Bruins victory over Ottawa. Bergeron left the ice and the Bruins bench for several minutes before returning late in the period.

Coach Claude Julien [2] said Bergeron had been given Monday off, but the skilled center should be fine for game action when the Bruins host Tamp Bay Wednesday.

‘€œHe’€™ll been in Wednesday, no ifs, (ands) or buts,’€ said Julien. ‘€œIt was just maintenance.’€

Defenseman Matt Hunwick was also given a maintenance day off Monday.

While more practice time may not be the players favorite situation, they recognize the chance to regroup is important at this juncture of the season.

‘€œGuys just like to play really, but when you get the opportunity to practice you have to take advantage of it,’€ said 16-year veteran Mark Recchi [3]. ‘€œThis gives us time to get in the gym, get in some extra work there. During the course of the year it pays off.’€

The break in the hectic pace of the last three weeks will also give returning all-star center Marc Savard [4] additional time to practice with the team’€™s power play.

‘€œI didn’€™t get a chance practice a lot before I came back,’€ said Savard, who returned to action last week after being sidelined for five weeks with a broken foot. ‘€œHopefully it will help my own game out. I’€™m starting to feel better and hopefully can contribute more.’€

Savard also provided on an update on a pending contract extension that could be announced shortly.

‘€œWe’€™re getting really close, so hopefully we’€™re going to get it done because this is where I want to be,’€ said Savard, the Bruins leading scorer for the past three seasons.

The Bruins assistant coaches are waiting no more after receiving their contract extensions Sunday.

‘€œIt’€™s been in the works for awhile, when my extension was given to me I was asked about my coaching staff and I really wanted them to be with me,’€ said Julien. ‘€œAssistant coaches are never given enough credit’€¦they do a lot of behind the scene work, one on one work, extra work on the ice, that kind of stuff. Our group is a good group. ‘€œ

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URL to article: http://bigbadblog.weei.com/sports/boston/hockey/bruins/2009/11/30/practice-yes-bergeron-no/

URLs in this post:

[1] Patrice Bergeron: http://media.weei.com/hockey/patrice-bergeron.htm

[2] Claude Julien: http://media.weei.com/hockey/claude-julien.htm

[3] Mark Recchi: http://media.weei.com/hockey/mark-recchi.htm

[4] Marc Savard: http://media.weei.com/hockey/marc-savard.htm

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