|Bruins not taking Sabres lightly||02.08.12 at 1:11 pm ET|
BUFFALO — Bruins coach Claude Julien said Tuesday that he’d like to see his team play better against non-playoff teams. The B’s will face one Wednesday in Buffalo, and the Sabres are desperately trying to climb up the standings to shake the “non-playoff team” label.
The Sabres were a tough team to project at the beginning of the season. They had spent money in the offseason, but there was still question as to whether they were deep enough to be a legitimate contender. Injuries and inconsistency have answered those questions, and Sabres are currently 14th in the Eastern Conference, just one point ahead of the last-place Hurricanes.
Yet Buffalo has picked it up of late, going 3-0-1 over its last four games to follow up a five-game losing streak. This might be the point in the season in which cellar-dwelling teams begin to embrace the role of “spoiler,” but when the Bruins look at the Sabres, they see a hungry team that wants to make up the 11 points that currently separate Buffalo from a playoff spot.
“There are obviously maybe some teams that are out of the playoff picture, but [Buffalo] is definitely not one of them,” Bruins center Chris Kelly said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “I think they’ve been playing well of late. They want to come out and play well, just like we do and they want to move up the standings, just like we do as well.”
The Bruins expect a hard game from the Lindy Ruff-less Sabres, but at this point in their schedule, they expect a hard game from every team they face.
“If you look, there’s a lot of three-point games. There’s no secret to that,” Kelly said. “Teams are bearing down, and if there’s a for at least one point, you’d better believe both teams are going to get that one point and they’re going to fight for that second point. There’s no easy points in the second half, and that hasn’t been a secret for years.”
The Bruins are 2-0-0 against the Sabres this season, and they hope to carry momentum from Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Capitals into Wednesday’s contest.
“Especially in the Washington game, I thought we played a consistent 60 minutes,” Kelly said. “For the most part, we were in control the entire game. We got back to doing those little things that make us successful, the attention to detail, a lot of things that maybe go unnoticed and don’t make the highlights, but are needed if you’re going to be successful.”
Based on the lines in Wednesday’s morning skate, Claude Julien is going to go with the same lines against the Sabres that he used against the Capitals. That means that Kelly will remain on the team’s top line between Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley.
|Injured Lindy Ruff won’t coach Sabres Wednesday||02.08.12 at 12:48 pm ET|
BUFFALO — The Sabres’ will be without an important piece Wednesday night against the Bruins, and it isn’t anyone who shows up on the stat sheet.
Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff, who broke three ribs earlier this week in a collision with defenseman Jordan Leopold, will not be behind the bench when the teams meet Wednesday at First Niagara center. In place of Ruff, assistant coach James Patrick will call the shots from behind the Buffalo bench.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said the hit shows the potential danger that coaches face in practices, and said that coaches wearing helmets would be logical, though he wouldn’t want to wear one.
“I guess it just goes to show there is a risk in our job as well as those players have, especially in practice,” Julien said. “I’ve had a few collisions with players. It happens. That’s why you’ve got to be ready all the time. When you see it, you can brace yourself, but when you don’t, it can be a tough fall. We don’t have that much protection underneath that sweat suit, except for the extra weight we carry.”
The Sabres will also be without forward Thomas Vanek, who is dealing with an upper-body injury. Vanek participated in Wednesday’s morning skate, but Patrick said after the skate that Vanek would not play.
|Tuukka Rask to start for Bruins vs. Sabres||02.08.12 at 12:38 pm ET|
BUFFALO — Bruins coach Claude Julien doesn’t usually flat-out say which goaltender will start that night’s game, but he made an exception a day after declaring he would not answer any more questions about concussed forward Nathan Horton.
Julien revealed Wednesday night’s starting goaltender, saying that Tuukka Rask will be between the pipes for the B’s against the Sabres.
Rask is third in the NHL in both save percentage (.936) and goals-against average (1.88), but has not won any of his last three starts (0-2-1). His last victory came on Jan. 16 against the Panthers in Florida.
The team’s forward lines remained the same as they were in Tuesday’s practice, with David Krejci still on the third line between Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron.
|Providence Bruins to host 2013 AHL All-Star game||02.07.12 at 5:01 pm ET|
The Providence Bruins will host the 2013 AHL All-Star game, according to a source. The news is expected to be announced Wednesday.
Next year’s All-Star game will mark the first time the Dunkin’ Donuts Center has hosted the contest since 1995, when it was called the Providence Civic Center.
This year’s game was played last month at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The West All-Stars won, 8-7, in a shootout.
|Claude Julien ‘done talking’ about Nathan Horton’s condition||02.07.12 at 12:38 pm ET|
“Guys, protocol is protocol,” Julien said when asked about Horton. “When you see him on the ice with us, he’s moving in the right direction.”
Julien was then asked another question about how Horton feels since skating, and the coach went into detail as to why he’s staying quiet on the matter.
“Guys, I’m done talking about it,” Juien said. “I look at every team that has guys with concussions, and guys, you’ve got to give him a chance to let him go through the things. I can’t give you an update every day on this guy because it could be long, it could be short. When you see him on the ice with us, it’s going to be a really good sign, so we’ll leave it at that. I don’t have the answer, so I’m not going to give you an answer. We don’t know what concussions are all about. There’s forward steps, there’s backwards steps. I can’t just come out here every day and give you guys an update, because it doesn’t make sense.”
Horton was injured in the Bruins’ 6-5 shootout win over the Flyers on Jan. 22 on a hit from Philadelphia forward Tom Sestito. There was no discipline from the league on the play.
|Update: Bruins assign Zach Hamill to Providence||02.07.12 at 12:25 pm ET|
[UPDATE: 2:00 p.m.] WILMINGTON — The Bruins assigned forward Zach Hamill to Providence Tuesday, shortly after he cleared waivers. The B’s had placed Hamill, their 2007 first-round pick, on waivers Monday.
With Hamill not on the NHL roster, Jordan Caron will continue to be the team’s extra forward, though Caron will remain in the lineup with Nathan Horton still dealing with a concussion.
|Bruins prepare for Sabres||02.07.12 at 10:56 am ET|
WILMINGTON — After taking Monday off, the Bruins returned to practice Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena in anticipation of Wednesday’s contest against the Sabres.
“I gave him the day off,” the coach said after practice. “Nothing more than a simple day off. He’s had a lot of responsibilities at the All-Star game and didn’t get much time to himself, so I figured it was a good time to give him some rest.”
Forward Zach Hamill cleared waivers and was not on the ice.
The forward lines were the same as they were in Sunday’s win over the Capitals.