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Bruins hope to shake sloppy play as they return from All-Star break 01.30.12 at 9:04 pm ET
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The Bruins are ready to jump back into their busy schedule, and they’re hoping that they’ll look more ready for their games than they did prior to the break.

The B’s were red-hot in November and December, but they limped into the All-Star break with uncharacteristically sloppy games, and a seven game stretch that saw them go 3-3-1. in their last three games prior to the break, the Bruins allowed three or more goals in three straight contests for the first time this season.

Now that the break is over, the Bruins are embracing the fresh start that comes with diving back into game action, and they’re hoping that whatever was plaguing them in past weeks is gone.

“It’s almost a blessing in disguise that we got to shut it off and reload and refocus after a couple crazy games and uncharacteristic games,” Milan Lucic said Monday. “That’s probably the best way to describe it. We’re aware of what we need to get back to doing well.

“The feeling for me coming off this break is that I wanted to get back and be around the boys and start playing again. Hopefully everyone else has got that same feeling, and that’s what’s going to help us be at our best.”

The B’s will be without both Andrew Ference (serving the last game of his three-game suspension) and Nathan Horton (concussion) Tuesday against the Senators, but that doesn’t mean they can’t come out with a better effort Tuesday. The B’s may have peaked in November, but that doesn’t mean they’re incapable of returning to the level of play that saw them go on a 21-2-1 earlier in the season.

“We enjoy winning, and we enjoy playing the way we were in November and the early part of December,” Brad Marchand said. “It’s a little frustrating when you’re not playing your best, and you know you can be better, but that’s how hockey goes. You’re not going to be your best every night. We know that.

“There’s always ups and downs during the season. The thing that you have to be bale to do is make sure you don’t get too high and don’t get too low, and hopefully we’ll be able to bounce back here.”

Read More: Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic,
Patrice Bergeron spent his break skating on ponds in Lake Placid 01.30.12 at 5:03 pm ET
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The Bruins admitted the All-Star break provided some needed time off. Brad Marchand went to Disney World and said he tried not to think about hockey. Milan Lucic took his talents to South Beach.

Then there was Patrice Bergeron, a player many would consider an All-Star snub. Bergeron, who is tied for the team lead with 43 points this season, decided to go somewhere rich in hockey history and, as of last season, Bruins history.

“I actually went to Lake Placid, and just relaxed over there,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”

The average person will tell you that Lake Placid is where 1980’s Miracle on Ice occurred, when USA Men’s hockey defied the odds and won the gold in the Olympics.

But for the Bruins, Lake Placid is where the team went between Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals vs. the Canadiens last season. The B’s bolted out of Montreal between the two games to find some peace and quiet as they tried to mount their comeback in a series they had trailed, 2-0. It was there that David Krejci played “Don’t Stop Believing” on a jukebox (by accident, he later claimed), and when the Bruins returned to Montreal after two days in Lake Placid, they evened the series thanks to heroics from Michael Ryder, and went on to win in seven games. The rest, as they say, is history.

Bergeron brought his skates along with him for his mini-vacation, but he didn’t step foot inside Whiteface Lake Placid Olympic Facilities Center. The trip was about soaking up all that the city had to offer, so Bergeron took to a pond to do his skating.

The locals and children skating on the pond had no idea they were sharing the ice with a Stanley Cup champion and Gold Medal Olympic hockey player. Nobody spotted the Stanley Cup champion out on the ice, so Bergeron embraced the free skate with locals and kids from nearby. The B’s alternate captain has never been the type to beg for attention, so it proved to be the perfect vacation.

“I wouldn’t mind getting recognized, but I like just going about my business and just doing my stuff and having fun and relaxing,” he said. “It was great. People were real nice, real friendly. It was great.”

Bergeron got some pointers on what to do from trainer Don DelNegro, who lives there in the summer. Relaxation was the name of the game for Bergeron, who leads Bruins forwards in time on ice with his average of 18:35 minutes a game. While he got the biggest thing he had hoped for — rest — out of the trip, he admitted he’ll always have memories when he goes to Lake Placid.

“It is special,” Bergeron said. “Obviously, not as special as for Americans, but in some way it was special for us last year, just to come down there for two days in between the games in Montreal. It seemed like it helped us to stay focused. It was nice, but it was nice for me to enjoy what’s going on down there, just relax with the nature and all that. It was great.”

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Nathan Horton (concussion) misses practice, won’t play vs. Senators 01.30.12 at 4:19 pm ET
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Bruins forward Nathan Horton was not on the ice as the team returned from the All-Star break Monday. Horton has been dealing with his second concussion since June after taking a hit to the head from Flyers’ forward Tom Sestito on Jan. 22.

Coach Claude Julien said that Horton is still experiencing symptoms, and that the team doesn’t expect the symptoms to subside for at least three days, meaning he will not play Tuesday against the Senators, and will likely also miss Thursday’s game against the Hurricanes.

“He is getting better, but so we can save you guys a lot of trouble of asking every day, at least not for three days. ‘€¦ He’s still at the point where he hasn’t ridden the bike yet, but he is getting better.”

With Horton not practicing, forward Rich Peverley took his place on the team’s top line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic Monday.

In 46 games played this season, Horton has 17 goals and 15 assists for 32 points and an even rating.

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History repeats itself: Zdeno Chara breaks his own hardest shot record with 108.8 mph blast 01.28.12 at 9:30 pm ET
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Another year, another new record.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara broke his own record for the NHL’s hardest shot, blasting a 108.8 mile-per-hour bomb on his second attempt in the hardest shot contest Saturday night in Ottawa.

Chara won the contest for a fifth straight year, defeating Shea Weber, amongst others. The previous record, which Chara had set last year, was 105.9 mph. He broke that on his first attempt Saturday with a 106.2 mph shot, before registering the all-time best 108.8 mph. His last two attempts clocked in at 106.9 mph and 107 mph.

Tyler Seguin, who competed in the accuracy shooting competition, struggled and did not complete the drill in 30 seconds. Dallas’ Jamie Benn won the competition.

Read More: Shea Weber, Tyler Seguin, Zdeno Chara,
Zdeno Chara looks to keep hardest shot title for fifth straight year 01.28.12 at 3:11 am ET
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The All-Star captains picked participants for Saturday night’s skills competition, and it’s no surprise that Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber will once again square off in the hardest shot contest.

Chara, who has won the competition for the last four years (he broke his own record with a 105.9 mile per hour blast last year), will be joined by Dennis Wideman, Dion Phaneuf and rookie Luke Adams on Team Chara. Team Alfredsson’s group for the competition includes Weber, Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and rookie Justin Faulk. Chara will also participate in the skills challenge relay.

Tyler Seguin will represent Team Chara in the accuracy shooting competition. He will be joined by Jamie Benn, Marian Hossa and rookie Cody Hodgson. Representing Team Alfreddson will be Spezza, Steven Stamkos, Daniel Sedin and rookie Matt Read. Both Seguin and Tim Thomas will participate in the elimination shootout.

Read More: Shea Weber, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin, Zdeno Chara
Zdeno Chara drafts Tim Thomas, Phil Kessel, Tyler Seguin 01.26.12 at 9:28 pm ET
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Bruins captain Zdeno Chara held the first overall pick in the fantasy draft to determine teams for the 2012 NHL All-Star game Thursday night and selected Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk with the top pick. Chara then drafted teammate Tim Thomas in the second round.

The other Bruin in the player pool, Tyler Seguin, had to wait quite a while for his name to be called. After picking the likes of Carey Price, Phil Kessel and Dennis Wideman, Chara selected Seguin in the 19th round.

Upon being selected, Thomas was asked about his controversial decision to not attend the White House Monday for political reasons.

“I followed my conscience,” Thomas said of his decision. “I’m extremely grateful for all the support I’ve gotten from my teammates, my friends and my fans.”

Here are the results of the draft:

TEAM CHARA             TEAM ALFREDSSON

1. Pavel Datsyuk              Erik Karlsson
2. Tim Thomas                Jason Spezza
3. Evgeni Malkin            Jonathan Quick
4. Marian Hossa             Claude Giroux
5. Kimmo Timonen         Kris Letang
6. Corey Perry                    Steven Stamkos
7. Carey Price                     Brian Elliot
8. Phil Kessel                    Shea Weber
9. Ryan Suter                      Daniel Sedin
10. Jimmy Howard           Dan Girardi
11. Brian Campbell            Keith Yandle
12. Patrick Kane                Milan Michalek
13. Dion Phaneuf              Henrik Sedin
14. Jarome Iginla             James Neil
16. Dennis Wideman       Alex Edler
17. Marian aborik             John Tavares
18. Jordan Eberle              Scott Hartnell
19. Tyler Seguin                 Jason Pominville
20. Jamie Benn                 Logan Couture

Carey Price happy for Tim Thomas for skipping White House, standing up for what he believes in 01.25.12 at 12:55 am ET
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A lot of people have had opinions on Tim Thomas‘ decision to skip the White House Monday. Count Carey Price among those who applaud Thomas’ controversial move.

The Canadiens goaltender said Tuesday that he respects Thomas’ decision to skip the team’s day with President Barack Obama. In a statement explaining the decision, Thomas said it “was not about politics or party,” something Price got a kick out of.

“He’s not political? That’s a pretty political move,” Price told reporters with a laugh. “It’s bold. Good on him, to stand up for what he believes in.”

Price was then asked if he would visit Prime Minister Stephen Harper if the Habs ever won the Cup.

“I’d be there with bells on. That’s just me,” he said. “I don’t really have much issues with our government. Everybody has their own opinions, and it’s absolutely amazing that [Thomas] stands up for what he believes in, so good on him.”

Canadiens defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who won the Cup with the B’s, made the trip to the White House, but offered little comment on the Thomas situation.

“It’s the guy’s opinion,” Kaberle said, “and that’s it.”

Read More: Barack Obama, Carey Price, Stephen Harper, Tim Thomas
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