Tying up the loose ends from practice. Andrew Ference  is ready for the stretch run, Milan Lucic  got to take in the festivities in downtown Vancouver and Claude Julien  gives his thoughts on the break and the Olympics.
Ference was not sure if he was going to be able to play before the break but with Johnny Boychuk  taking a puck to the face before the four-game road trip, he was pressed into duty sooner than he had envisioned. It took him a game or so to get back into the swing of things but said that he was ready to go.
“It was good. We didn’t have any back-to-back games, which was good. Had a chance to recover the next day and everything was good. Plus, we won, which makes a big difference,” Ference said.
Ference said his body held up well and it was just a matter of regaining his timing.
“They definitely had me ready to play. It wasn’t a situation where it made anything worse. It was just a matter of regaining the timing but everything worked,” Ference said “The first game I was pretty conservative. Just made sure that I didn’t get into any bad situations. Just the reaction time and being a little slower but just getting that first game out of the way and getting back to normal.”
The Bruins are as healthy now as they have been all season which will be a big benefit in the frenetic pace that will be the final month-and-a-half of the regular season. Ference said that it is not a time to hold back.
“I don’t think anybody is feeling sorry because it is going to be the same for every single guy in the league,” Ference said. ” We knew that going into this year, you know, everything Olympic year is tight,” Ference said. “That whole playoff run, so, you obviously have to take care of yourself and keep yourself in good health. Other than that you just have to go to war. You can’t try to conserve yourself or stay out of trouble during the game. You have to go full on, it’s a battle and on the rest days you rest. You rest hard.”
Coach Claude Julien agreed that there will be some exciting hockey in the entire NHL  down the stretch.
“I think people will probably get the opportunity to see some pretty exciting hockey from here on in because of a lot of guys getting some time off and getting their injuries healed a little bit more and obviously some rest, getting their energy back,” Julien said.
Ference is from British Columbia and was home for the break. His house is four hours from Vancouver so a trip into the Olympic village was not on the itinerary.
“I went back to BC, went back home and watched a lot of Olympics,” Ference said.
On the other hand, Milan Lucic is a native of the Vancouver area and he was able to get some time in the downtown area to survey the scene.
“I was walking around downtown and checked out the festivities to see what it was all about,” Lucic said. “It was nice the way they put it together and I am glad that I went back and saw everyone and that I was able to take part.
On the atmosphere around the Canadian hockey team in the city:
“It was actually pretty crazy, the whole town was buzzing, to say the least. I just walked around downtown at 2:30 in the afternoon and everyone was just yelling and screaming, even when there were no Canada games going on. People wearing there international colors and that type of stuff. It was actually great to see, I was happy I got to see it,” Lucic said.
Julien said that he was able to enjoy the Olympics as a fan more than ever before.
“Yeah, I think probably more than ever,” Julien said. “I spent almost every day catching up at some point or watching and it has been pretty exciting. Not just hockey, but everything been going around. Credit to Canada and Vancouver. I think they have done a great job despite the weather that they can’t control, I think everything has been pretty good.”
The Bruins sent six players to Vancouver and four of them are still in contention for a gold medal — Patrice Bergeron  (Canada), Zdeno Chara  and Miroslav Satan (Slovakia) and Tim Thomas  (United States). Julien was understanding about the balance for wanting the players to do well for their countries and trying to get some rest.
“I think the thing that is impressive is that four of those guys are going to be there till Sunday,” Julien said. “The down side to that is that you would like to see them get some rest. But, that is going to be up to us. We will work around that and make the best of that experience and that opportunity is important to those guys and you can’t blame them for it. Hopefully that excitement will help our team and we can benefit from it when they come back. Hopefully it spreads around the dressing room.”
“Once they are done they give us a call,” Julien said. “We are going to give them some time off. It is important to Marco and David and those [other] guys are obviously there until Sunday so they do not get the same benefit. But those guys [Krejci and Sturm] will be off are off until Sunday. They will be back Monday for practice and I think it is important that once you have been through that emotional level of the Olympics and the pressure and everything that goes with it to kind of take a step back and take a bit of a break and come back from the break fresh like the rest of this group has done.”