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Travel and fatigue are challenges, not excuses, for the down but not out Bruins

06.05.11 at 10:34 pm ET

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One thing is for certain, that five-hour plane ride that began early Sunday morning in Vancouver would’ve been a lot shorter if the Bruins had found a way to hold onto their 2-1 third-period lead in Game 2 Saturday night.

But the Bruins had no choice but to get on the 7 a.m. bus and catch their 8 a.m. (PT) flight back for Boston. At least it was a charter and at least it was a big plane so most everyone could catch up on sleep and relaxation.

“We’re not going to hide the fact that we don’t travel as much as they do,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said, referring to the fact that the Canucks basically head out on a lengthy road trip every time they don’t play at Rogers Arena. “They’re probably used to this more than we are. So I think it was important for us to really look at it in a way where we had to make it the best possible way for us.”

When they beat Tampa Bay, 1-0, in Game 7 of the Eastern finals, Julien and the Bruins knew managing their travel would be nearly as important as solving Roberto Luongo. Julien wanted his team to leave Sunday morning so they could get back Sunday afternoon and get back on Eastern time ASAP, with Game 3 Monday night at 8 p.m.

“Our travel was planned accordingly,” Julien said. “We wanted to get back on eastern standard time as quickly as we could. So that’s the purpose between us leaving at the time we did, getting here at this time right now.
But our players seem to feel pretty good right now. They said that they really didn’t feel it. We’ll see tomorrow morning when they show up at the rink and maybe ask them again if they’re still feeling the same way. No matter what, we’re going to have to battle through it. There’s no way around it. We have to fight through those kind of things.

“I don’t want to use this as an excuse or disadvantage. I want us to I guess challenge ourselves to be able to fight through that kind of stuff.”

The players say they don’t need the extra rest to be motivated Monday night.

“Obviously you don’€™t need much motivation to get up to play because it’€™s the Stanley Cup finals,” Milan Lucic said. “And I think nutrition and getting your rest when you need it definitely plays a big role in this. I know everyone went to sleep earlier yesterday top make sure we got our rest. And everyone will do whatever they can and get a good meal in them now and get a good rest tonight and obviously a rest yesterday, or tomorrow, for our pregame nap. And I like I said, you don’€™t need much motivation to get yourself going for the Stanley Cup finals.”

“Obviously we’re not used to it, but at the same time we can’t let that affect us,” Patrice Bergeron said. “That’s the schedule. That’s the way it is. We can’t control it. So we got to make the most of it.
Obviously tonight’s going to be a big night for us to make sure we have some good rest. But that being said, it’s not an excuse.”

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas doesn’t have to worry about skating up and down the ice but he will have to be sharp and focused for 60 minutes, with the Bruins desperate for a win to get back in the series.

“There’s no trick,” he said. “You just have to try to get as much sleep as you can tonight. If you’re the type of player that likes afternoon naps, try to get a good nap.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup, 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien
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