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Daniel Paille practicing with Bruins 12.22.13 at 11:27 am ET
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WILMINGTON — Bruins forward Daniel Paille took another step forward in his recovery from a concussion when he practiced Sunday for the first time since being sent back from last week’s road trip.

Paille, who has missed the last six games, has been skating on his own since Friday. He wore a yellow sweater with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith in Sunday’s practice in place of Brad Marchand, who was the only player from Saturday’s lineup absent from the practice. Marchand, who was hurt twice in Saturday’s game but returned to the game, will travel to Nashville and play Monday. Paille won’t make the trip.

Following the practice, Paille said that he had been experiencing neck pain in previous games and eventually spoke up after feeling especially uncomfortable on the plane from Toronto to Calgary last week. It was at that point that the team sent him back to Boston and he was diagnosed with a concussion.

“I wouldn’t say it was one hit,” Paille said. “For a while I was kind of just working on my neck and then I think over time it’s been hit after hit. I didn’t necessarily have symptoms back then; it was just my neck was really sore and hard to move. The travel from to Toronto to Calgary, it felt a little bit different and that’s where I said something to the team.

“But they knew — the medical staff and the coaches — they knew that my neck was sore, and that was the issue to begin with, but as soon as I told them that it had kind of progressed on the travel from Toronto to Calgary, that’s when they sent me back here.”

Adam McQuaid continues to practice with the Bruins as he works his way back from a lower-body injury. He will make the trip to Nashville and could potentially play Monday against the Predators after missing the last nine games.

The Bruins face an interesting dilemma with when to get McQuaid back in the lineup. If they hold him out Monday, he gets three extra days to heal but then will return to play back-to-backs Friday and Saturday. If they play him Monday, he’ll at least be able to get some rest before getting into his second game.

“To us, when a guy’s ready to go, he’s ready to go,” Claude Julien said. “You don’t hold a guy back when he’s ready to go just because you’re looking at the schedule. I think right now it’s a matter of if he’s ready to go, he should be playing. I don’t that we should be holding him back any longer when he’s feeling good. That’s a decision we’re going to have to make tomorrow. He’s telling us he’s feeling pretty good right now, so we’ll make sure that that’s the case tomorrow.”

Dougie Hamilton (lower body) skated for the second straight day. Hamilton took the ice late in Sunday’s practice and skated by himself.

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Patrice Bergeron doesn’t hesitate to drop gloves in rare fight 12.21.13 at 11:07 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron got in his third-career NHL fight Saturday. (AP)

Patrice Bergeron got in his third-career NHL fight Saturday. (AP)

Bruins fans saw a rare sight when Patrice Bergeron dropped the gloves in the second period of Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Sabres.

It was the first regular-season fight of Bergeron’s NHL career (he’s had two postseason fights) and it came as a result of a cross-check to the face he took from Buffalo defensemen Tyler Myers. With the two exchanging cross-checks (including a low shot from Myers), Bergeron said Myers getting him in the face was “the last straw.”

Myers won the bout, and though Bergeron skated to the box to the roar of the Garden crowd, there isn’t too much to like there. Given Bergeron’s concussion history (four at the NHL level, the most recent of which was last season), the risk/reward doesn’t swing in the Bruins’ favor.

In that case, however, Bergeron said he wasn’t afraid to go.

“I was fine with it,” Bergeron said. “I kind of asked him also.”

Claude Julien‘s take on it was that Bergeron had to fight to stand up for Myers’ cross-check, which he said he “couldn’t believe” wasn’t called a penalty.

Asked whether there’s any hesitation for him to fight given his concussion history, Bergeron said he was too fired up at the time to weigh the pros and cons.

“Obviously you don’t think about that when you’re on the ice and you’re fired up and you’re not happy with what just happened,” he said. “I kind of realized pretty quickly he was pretty tall and had a pretty good good reach, but you don’t think about it.”

The fight and his second-period cross-checking penalty gave Bergeron 13 penalty minutes over his last three games, which is one more than he had in the first 33 games of the season. He certainly won’t be winning the Lady Byng this season, but Bergeron isn’t concerned with the uptick in penalties he’s been taking.

“I mean, the other penalties before were more like part of the play ‘€“ a couple that my stick got caught in people’€™s skates,” Bergeron said. “Bu it’€™s part of the game also. You know, you’€™ve got to play and try to avoid them, but when it does happen there’€™s not much you can do.”

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Claude Julien critical of officials following win 12.21.13 at 10:44 pm ET
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Claude Julien was not a fan of the job done by Saturday night’s officials and he made it pretty clear after the Bruins’ 4-1 win over the Sabres.

The game was officiated by referees Ghislain Hebert and Don VanMassenhoven with linesmen Steve Barton and Derek Nanson, and the crew made a bad call late in the game when they gave Steve Ott a slashing penalty for the mere act of Zdeno Chara‘s stick breaking.

Julien had issues with the rest of their work as well, as he was angry with a second-period cross-checking penalty assessed to Patrice Bergeron and said he felt Tyler Myers should have been penalized prior to Myers’ second-period fight with Bergeron.

This was Julien’s answer when he was asked what he thought about Bergeron fighting:

“Well, I mean, he’s got to stand up for himself. I couldn’t believe they didn’t call the cross-check and the punch to the head. It’s one of those nights that I was really disappointed in a lot of the calls. I know they got a bad one at the end there maybe on Ott, but when I look back at it, it was a tough night.

Those 5-on-3s, obviously the four minute [minor penalty for Gregory Campbell drawing blood on a high stick on Jamie McBain] is there, but the cross-check that they gave Bergy, it’s like these, to me, are not really good calls in mind. It did put us in a tough situation tonight and we had to battle tonight and we did. We killed those 5-on-3s and thankfully were able to capitalize on some goals after that.”

There probably won’t be any Christmas cards exchanged here.

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Bruins bounce back to beat Sabres 12.21.13 at 9:41 pm ET
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The Bruins avenged Thursday’s loss to the Sabres by earning a 4-1 victory Saturday at TD Garden in their final home game before the Christmas break.

Reilly Smith got the B’s on the board in the first on a power play goal off a feed from Carl Soderberg, with Zemgus Girgensons tying the game by sneaking a puck over Tuukka Rask‘s right arm as he tried to hold the post. The Bruins re-took the lead in the second period on a David Krejci goal to cap a strong rush and added to it in the third period with Milan Lucic‘s team-leading 12th goal. Smith’s nipping at Lucic’s heels, however, as Smith scored an empty-neter for his 11th of the season.

Rask made 32 saves saves in the win, while Jhonas Enroth took the loss after Ryan Miller stood tall for the Sabres Thursday.

The game also featured the first career regular season fight for Patrice Bergeron in the NHL. Bergeron dropped the gloves with Buffalo blueliner Tyler Myers in the second period in a bout the taller Myers took.

The Bruins will play the Predators Saturday in Nashville before breaking for the holiday and returning to work Friday at TD Garden against the Senators.


- Krejci now has 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) over his last 14 games. His multi-point night came as part of a strong effort for his line Saturday, as Lucic also scored and Jarome Iginla was stoned by Enroth on two solid opportunities.

- Carl Soderberg to Reilly Smith in front on the power play for a goal. Sound familiar? It should, as it’s the third time it’s happened this season.

- The Bruins made it through a pair of 5-on-3 shorthanded situations without allowing a goal. The first one came in the second period when Gregory Campbell drew blood on a high-stick on Jamie McBain just 11 seconds into a Patrice Bergeron cross-checking penalty. The Sabres turned in a brutal showing, while a bad call on John Scott ended a third-period 5-on-3 in short order.

- Torey Krug still has just one goal over his last 12 games, but he factored in Saturday in other ways. He moved the puck well on the shift on which the B’s scored the go-ahead goal, but he also handled some major responsibility in the second period on the second shift of the 5-on-3.


- With Bergeron’s cross-checking penalty and his second-period fight with Myers, No. 37 now has 13 penalty minutes the last three games. He had only 12 in the previous 33 games of the season. There will be no Lady Byng trophy in the near future for Bergeron.

- On the subject of Bergeron fighting, it is obviously a super bad idea. Given that he’s had four concussions in his NHL career and he’s one of the best players in the game, there is nothing to be gained by having Bergeron spend five minutes in the penalty box or risk any injury.

- Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff was something of a wrecking ball in the first period, as a collision with Brad Marchand forced Marchand to miss a couple shifts. He also hit Zdeno Chara in the left hand with a shot, which forced Chara to ice the hand on the bench.

Marchand got dinged up in the second period as well when he blocked a slapshot from Myers. He was slow to get off the ice but stayed in the game.

- Rask had to save Marchand’s bacon on a tough shift for No. 63 in the first few minutes of the third period. Marchand turned the puck over in the defensive zone to set up two quick bids from Matt Ellis and Linus Omark, with Marchand unable to get the puck out on his next clearing attempt either.

Dougie Hamilton (lower body) begins skating 12.21.13 at 6:43 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton skated for the first time Saturday morning since suffering a lower-body injury on Dec. 8. The Bruins said following his injury that he would miss between two and four weeks.

“He started skating for the first time this morning, so it was his first time on the ice,” Claude Julien said prior to Saturday’s game. “We’ll see how he progresses.”

Hamilton is the second injured Bruin to return to the ice this week, as Daniel Paille (concussion symptoms) began skating Friday and is expected to return to practicing with the team on Sunday.

“He’s skating, coming along,” Julien said of Paille Saturday. “He should be skating with our team tomorrow.

Adam McQuaid (lower body) was kept out of Saturday’s lineup, but he is a “possibility” to play Monday in Nashville, according to Julien. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli had said Wednesday that the B’s might keep him out through the Christmas break as a means of getting him more rest.

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Chad Johnson addresses the wraparound issue 12.20.13 at 1:00 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Lateral mobility has cost Chad Johnson more than he’d like, but he doesn’t think it’s his Achilles’ heel.

The Bruins’ backup couldn’t get from post to post in time to stop Drew Stafford on a wraparound in the third period Thursday night. The goal broke a 2-2 tie and cost the B’s the game.

“It was a brutal third goal,” Johnson admitted Friday. “I want it back. We’d played a pretty good game up to that point, and you let a soft one in in a 2-2 game with [six] minutes left, you put your team in a bad situation. It’s obviously one that I want back, but there’s nothing I can do about it now. It sucks.”

It was the second such goal Johnson’s allowed in his last two starts, as he was also slow to get over on a David Perron wraparound last Thursday in Edmonton.

“The one in Edmonton, I played that one obviously wrong,” Johnson said. “It’s just different situations I think. It’s not that I have problems with wraparounds, it’s just that right now that’s what’s been happening I guess. It’s all I can really say.”

So is the book out on Johnson? He says no. Johnson doesn’t like that he was exposed on wraparounds twice in two starts, but he sees it as more of an effort issue than an ability issue. As such, he doesn’t plan on letting it happen again soon.

“Well I mean they’ve scored two goals, so it’s something I’m going to work on,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a weakness for the most part. On the last one there I was a little lazy on it. It’s just one thing I need to correct. I don’t think it’s a technical thing or something like that.”

B’s coach Claude Julien agrees with Johnson’s assessment. He feels Johnson can push off and cover the other side quicker, and that with awareness of the issue and practice the issue can be resolved.

“That’s exactly it, and that’s why we’ve got a goalie coach that works with those guys and works on those deficiencies,” he said. “You’ve got to get better at that, and that’s what he’s doing today — working with Bob [Essensa] and trying to get better at it.”

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Daniel Paille begins skating 12.20.13 at 12:30 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Daniel Paille skated Friday morning, marking a step forward as he recovers from what the team has only called “concussion symptoms.”

Paille has missed the last five games after being sent back to Boston from last week’s Canadian road trip.

“He’s coming off concussion symptoms, so he’s starting to skate,” Claude Julien said. “He’ll skate tomorrow and we’ll go from there.”

Adam McQuaid (lower body) practiced with the B’s Friday and has been practicing with them since Monday. Peter Chiarelli said Wednesday that the team might hold him out through Christmas in order to give him more time off, but Julien said he “wouldn’t write him off” for Saturday’s game against the Sabres.

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