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Brad Marchand ‘questionable’ vs. Thrashers 12.22.10 at 12:48 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Brad Marchand was once again missing from the Bruins’ practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday. Following the skate, coach Claude Julien said the forward is “questionable” for Thursday night’s tilt against the Thrashers at TD Garden.

Marchand has been out since leaving Saturday’s game against the Capitals late in the second period. The team has not disclosed what the injury is, but Julien has said that it stemmed from a hit he took in that game. Daniel Paille has skated with the energy line in his absence.

In 31 games this season, Marchand has 12 points (4 G, 8 A) and a plus-5 rating. Three of his four goals have come on the penalty kill.

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Peter Chiarelli says Claude Julien’s job is safe 12.22.10 at 12:39 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — On Wednesday, Bruins coach Claude Julien addressed the swirling speculation over whether his job in Boston is safe. Fans have called for the team to fire him, while media outlets have also raised the question of whether a coaching change could be in the works.

“I don’t let that get to me. I come in, I’m going to coach the same way, and I’m going to do what I do the best I can,” Julien said after the team’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “It’s as simple as that.

“It is what it is. Honestly, I just went out there today and yesterday very positive with the players and doing my job just like I would any other day. I hear what’s going out there, but certainly not listening or reading, because that’s certainly not helpful for me.”

Julien was given a vote of confidence by general manager Peter Chiarelli on Wednesday. Despite the team’s recent struggles, Chiarelli said “yes” when asked on CBS Radio Boston if he would say “unequivocally that Claude Julien’s job is not in danger.”

Chiarelli said such a decision ultimately would have to be made by a group of front office members, but that he feels the team is better off with Julien than without him.

“That’s my preference and that’s my recommendation,” Chiarelli said. “This is a collective thing that we do on these matters. But I have full confidence in Claude and the staff to figure it out.”

While he’s glad the organization has his back, Julien said that he isn’t going to let anything he sees or hears change the way he goes about his business.

“You always appreciate support. That’s important, but right now my job is coaching this hockey club. Whatever is being said out there and however it goes is out of my control,” Julien said. “I come in here every day with the same intentions and that’s to coach this hockey club and make them as successful as I can.”

Julien is in his fourth season as head coach of the Bruins. He has led the team to three straight playoff appearances, including two trips to the second round. This season, the B’s are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 38 points, though they trail the Canadiens by two points for the Northeast division lead.

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Brad Marchand remains missing from Bruins practice 12.22.10 at 10:58 am ET
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WILMINGTON — After a high-energy practice on Tuesday, the Bruins rolled out the same revamped lines at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday. Brad Marchand (undisclosed injury) remains out for the B’s. The injury stems from a hit he took Saturday against Washington. Here are the forward lines:

Lucic – Savard – Horton

Recchi – Bergeron – Seguin

Wheeler – Krejci – Ryder

Paille – Campbell – Thornton

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Claude Julien: Bruins need to contribute to Boston’s winning reputation 12.21.10 at 1:44 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — In addressing the Bruins’ recent woes, coach Claude Julien brought up the fans’ disappointment in the team, noting that given the recent championships of the area’s other sports teams, it’s up to the Bruins to add to Boston’s reputation.

“There’s expectations here from outside, the fans and the people,” Julien said. “There’s a lot of winning going around in this city, and if you want to be part of it, you have to show up and play hard every night.

“I think what the players realize is that people here expect their teams to win. They’re used to it, and you try to give them what they want. At the end of the day, that’s what you want to be. Not just for the fans, but you want to be that yourself.”

The Bruins have lost four of their last five. They will take on the Thrashers Thursday at TD Garden.

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Milan Lucic: With fans ‘calling for blood,’ players must execute 12.21.10 at 1:23 pm ET
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Fans are questioning the coach, but Milan Lucic says it's up to the players to turn it around. (AP)

WILMINGTON — The Bruins, losers of four of their last five games, find themselves searching for answers as they try to find a balance of both consistency and emotion. After Monday’s 3-0 loss to the Ducks showcased a glaringly lethargic team, the B’s find themselves in an unflattering light around town. Fans are questioning coach Claude Julien, while the lack of a full team effort has resulted in expected media scrutiny. Amidst all the negativity, forward Milan Lucic said the guys on the ice are the ones who ultimately have to produce if they want to right the ship.

“Everyone’s calling for blood, the media’s writing negative stuff about us, but we’ve got to have each other’s back and stick up for one another, and it’s all going to start from in here,” Lucic told Tuesday. “It’s got to be a team effort where all 20 guys are committed to putting in the work.”

Lucic said the team is aware of their struggles and that the effort is there to get the team in the right frame of mind come game time, but that there comes a point at which trying isn’t good enough.

“We try to do things to rally one another and pump each other up before the game. We’re saying the right things, it’s just a matter of going out there and doing them. That’s the main thing right now. Talk is cheap. You’ve got to go out there and do it.”

The 22-year-old leads the Bruins with 16 goals this season, but with the team struggling as badly as it has been, each of the top three lines saw major shakeups. Lucic, who had played with Nathan Horton and either David Krejci or Patrice Bergeron all season, will now skate with Horton and Marc Savard.

“I’ve played with Savvy before, and Savvy’s obviously excited to play with Horton for the first time here,” Lucic said, while adding that “we’ll see what happens next game.”

“Hopefully we can create some chances and get some results.”

The Bruins need the latter more than anything right now.

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Bruins shake lines up following ugly loss 12.21.10 at 11:34 am ET
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WILMINGTON — Nobody could have been happy following the B’s 3-0 loss to the Ducks on Monday, and Claude Julien responded by shaking up the offensive lines in practice on Tuesday. Brad Marchand remains out, so the lines were as follows:

Lucic – Savard – Horton

Recchi  - Bergeron – Seguin

Wheeler – Krejci – Ryder

Paille – Campbell – Thornton

A couple of quick thoughts to consider:

- Looks like that generation-spanning line might finally get some serious time. The Recchi – Bergeron – Seguin line looked good in training camp but has never been a fixture in the regular season.

- Nathan Horton finally gets Marc Savard to set him up. This could mean improved offensive production, but Horton’s entire game needs a shot of energy.

- There was a bit a brief exchange between Savard and Bergeron at one point in the skate, with the two exchanging cross-checks. It didn’t seem serious or something that lasted throughout the practice, but it’s good to see some fire from a squad that’s been lethargic.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Nathan Horton, Tyler Seguin,
Ornaments the bright spot as Bruins lose 12.20.10 at 10:00 pm ET
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The Garden was loud as ever to begin Rancournament night on Monday, but the fans likely weren’t a promotional giveaway to be the only positive of their experience. That’s what they got, as the B’s rode a lackluster performance to a 3-0 loss at the hands of the Ducks.

The Ducks got goals from Brandon McMillan, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Corey Perry, while the Bruins struggled mightily against Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller.

With the Bruins getting plenty of pucks to the net but failing to bury them, Claude Julien changed up the lines in the third period. He pulled Nathan Horton off the top line and replaced him with Blake Wheeler. Tyler Seguin took Wheeler’s spot on Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi’s line, while Horton moved to the Marc Savard and Michael Ryder’s line.


- The Bruins didn’t have a power play in Saturday’s game against the Capitals, and given the way things transpired on Monday, it seems they would rather go another night without the man advantage. The B’s failed to convert, while they allowed their third shorthanded goal of the season. Luckily for them they’re still far behind Tampa Bay in the undesirable category, as the Lightning have allowed a whopping seven shorthanded tallies this season.

- As much as all these 40-plus-shots-against games have helped Tim Thomas’ league-leading save percentage, his performance worked against that on Monday, as he allowed had allowed three goals on 15 shots by the end of the second period. Thomas ended up facing 24 shots on the night.

- For just the second time this season, Milan Lucic is without a point in two straight games. His only other such stretch occurred when he failed to register a point on Nov. 20 and 22 against the Kings and Lightning, respectively.

- As poorly as the Bruins played overall, they weren’t helped by the fact that Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller was very good in net for the Ducks. The B’s got a respect a season-high 45 shots on net, but Hiller was equally sharp on all of them, challenging or otherwise.

Hiller had perhaps the save of the night when he robbed Tyler Seguin in the slot at 12:10 of the third period. He came up with another big stop on a Mark Recchi shot at 16:57.


- The Bruins seemingly don’t have to worry about the health of Steven Kampfer. The rookie blue-liner took a shove from Teemu Selanne in the second period that helped him go headfirst into the boards in a scene slightly resembling Jody Shelley’s hit on Adam McQuaid.

The difference between the two plays was that Selanne gave more of a light shove and didn’t seem malicious, while Shelley used two hands to push McQuaid. Kampfer was helped off the ice by trainer Don Delnegro and returned to the ice later in the period. Selanne was given a minor for boarding.

- Patrice Bergeron, despite being a minus-1, continued to be one of the better players on the ice. Of course, given the team’s slow and sloppy showing, there weren’t many candidates for that distinction. Bergeron single-handedly prevented the Ducks from scoring a shorthanded goal on B’s first power play when he swept a puck out of the crease as it was about to cross the goal line after making its way past Thomas.

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