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Suspended Andrew Ference: Missing game vs. Bruins ‘a little extra kick in the butt’ 11.06.14 at 2:55 pm ET
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Andrew Ference‘€™s second return to the Garden since signing with the Oilers in the summer of 2013 won’€™t be as special as his first return. Most notably, he won’€™t be playing.

Ference will serve the second game of a three-game suspension Thursday night as his Oilers face the Bruins. Ference’€™s ban came for a hit to the head of Vancouver forward Zack Kassian over the weekend.

“You never want to get suspended, but to miss a game in this town is a little extra kick in the butt,” Ference said. “It is what it is. It’€™s unfortunate, but I still get to see everybody and still get to make the trip. That’€™s important.”

The 35-year-old defenseman is in his second season as Oilers captain. He served as an alternate captain in his final two seasons in Boston and was a fan favorite for his off-ice involvement with the city. Despite not being able to play, Ference said he’€™s still happy to return to Boston.

“It’€™s awesome as ever,” he said. “I’€™ve got lots to do, lots of people to see. Obviously I have more time on my hands than people were expecting, but I’€™ve filled it all up. It’€™s a special place. I’€™ve got too many friends and not enough time to see everybody.”

Ference received a strong ovation last February when he played his first game back in Boston.

Read More: Andrew Ference,
David Krejci a possibility to return to Bruins lineup Thursday 11.06.14 at 11:37 am ET
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The Bruins held an optional morning skate Thursday, with both David Krejci and Torey Krug taking the ice at TD Garden.

Krejci has missed the last two games (and five overall this season) due to a hip injury. He skated prior to Wednesday’€™s practice and could make his return to the lineup Thursday against the Oilers. Claude Julien said the team would determine during the day whether he would take pregame warmups and, should that happen, decide if he plays after that.

“We’€™ll see after he gets off,” Julien said of Krejci taking warmups when asked as the optional skate took place. “If he does, there’€™s a chance he’€™ll play, obviously.”

Krug remains out with a broken finger that was suffered last Tuesday against the Wild. Skating isn’€™t the issue for Krug, but rather his ability to grip his stick.

“He’€™s doing well. Obviously his finger is doing much, much, much better,” Julien said. “It depends again how quickly that comes around. He’€™s the only one that’€™s probably going to be able to tell us. Right now, medically they’€™ve given him permission to go out and skate and hold on to his stick and everything else. I think, from what I’€™m being told right now, it will be up to him how quickly he gets that feeling that he can hold his stick properly and that it’€™s not going to be an issue.”

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: David Krejci, Torey Krug,
David Krejci misses practice as Bruins prepare for Oilers 11.05.14 at 11:59 am ET
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WILMINGTON — David Krejci skated prior to Wednesday’€™s Bruins practice, but left the ice as the team began skating at Ristuccia Arena. Krejci has missed the last two games with a hip injury that he’€™s battled all season.

Claude Julien said after the skate that he didn’t know if Krejci would be available for Thursday’s game against the Oilers. Missing Thursday would provide extended rest for Krejci, as the Bruins won’t play again after Thursday until Monday when they host the Devils.

The lines in practice were the same they’€™ve been the last two games:

Lucic -€“ Kelly -€“ Griffith
Marchand -€“ Bergeron -€“ Smith
Fraser – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille -€“ Campbell -€“ Gagne

Seidenberg – Hamilton
Morrow – McQuaid
Warsofsky – Trotman

Oilers captain and former Bruin Andrew Ference will not play in Thursday’s game, as he is serving the second game of a three-game suspension for a high hit on Vancouver forward Zack Kassian.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Andrew Ference, David Krejci,
Claude Julien still wants more out of improving Bergeron line 11.04.14 at 10:56 pm ET
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Part of the Bruins’€™ early-season struggles was that the team’€™s sure things weren’€™t sure things. Zdeno Chara wasn’€™t enjoying a strong start prior to his injury, while Patrice Bergeron‘€™s line was getting beaten far more than usual.

Obviously, it’€™s going to take some time for things to return to normal. Chara is in the second week of his recovery from a torn PCL and, assuming his recovery is on track, is expected to remain out for 2-4 more weeks. The Bergeron line, on the other hand, appears to be turning a corner.

Claude Julien broke up the trio of Bergeron between Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith three games ago, at which point Bergeron was an uncharacteristic minus-2 on the season and Marchand was looking for his first even-strength goal of the season. Smith, Julien had said multiple times, looked like he was behind after missing most of training camp because he didn’€™t have a contract.

Smith was put back on Bergeron’€™s line after a period in Buffalo and Marchand was returned to the line by the end of the game. It seems Julien got the attention of his most trusted line, as Marchand now has four goals (three of which came playing with Bergeron and Smith) and two assists in the last three games, while both Bergeron and Smith have two points apiece in the span.

The Bruins have won all three games, two of which came on overtime winners from Marchand. Both of the Bruins’€™ goals in Tuesday’€™s 2-1 overtime victory came from the Bergeron line, as Bergeron scored his first goal in 12 games with a second-period tally.

“I think tonight was a real big step forward for us,” Marchand said. “We played with a lot more confidence than we have in the past number of games, and it seems like were able to make plays now and hold on. I think that’€™s one thing we weren’€™t doing very well early on — we were throwing it away a lot, and weren’€™t supporting each other very well, but our legs seemed to be under us, we seemed to be more comfortable with the puck, and we felt really good tonight.”

Though the results are showing more and more, Julien said he feels the line isn’t yet where he wants it to be.

“I think the puck movement between them still isn’€™t quite where we’€™ve seen it before,” Julien said. “There’€™s still room for improvement and they’€™ve just got to keep working at it, because they’€™ve got one guy right now that’€™s really hot.”

Smith was strong on the puck and looked lightyears more confident than in games past Tuesday. Julien still expects more out of him. Reminded of his past critiques of the player and asked if he felt Smith had caught up, Julien was noncommittal. Asked again about Smith, Julien reiterated his stance that he feels the whole line could do more.

“He’€™s trying to get himself going,” Julien said of Smith. “I don’€™t think he’€™s playing bad ‘€” I mean, he’€™s just one of those guys with that line ‘€“ I think that whole line, the three of them together, are starting to come around. Two goals from that line tonight, so you can’€™t complain.”

Given Julien’€™s lack of praise, Smith was asked after the game whether he felt his coach was hard on him. Smith’s vague answer suggested the answer might be yes, but Julien trying to motivate his young players is nothing new.

“I think here, everyone’€™s used to that as a hockey player,” Smith said. “You get used to it. You have pretty thick skin. I think if you don’€™t have it, you’€™re not going to go too far.”

Bergeron is a two-time Selke Trophy winner as the league’s top two-way forward, while Marchand and Smith are both looking to prove they can have consistent seasons after streaky showings last season. When that line is at its best, its among the most difficult in the league to oppose. Julien doesn’t think it’s there yet, but the positive steps its taken has helped the Bruins get wins at a time when they need them.

Read More: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Reilly Smith,
Five things we learned in Bruins overtime win over Panthers 11.04.14 at 9:36 pm ET
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Perhaps the only thing about the Bruins losing Zdeno Chara for 4-6 weeks that wasn’€™t a total negative was that it came at the beginning of a relatively weak part of the Bruins’ schedule. Though banged up, the Bruins are still managing to get those points against lesser teams as they try to recover from their sloppy start to the season.

It wasn’t pretty until the last second, but Tuesday’€™s 2-1 win over the Panthers (box) on Brad Marchand‘€™s sensational overtime winner improved the B’€™s to 4-1-0 without their captain, who is in the second week of his recovery from a torn PCL.

More winnable games await the Chara-less Bruins, as they will face the Oilers, Devils and Maple Leafs before returning to the Bell Centre next week in search of their first win against the Canadiens this season.

Here are four other things we learned Tuesday night:

BERGERON SNAPS GOAL SKID

Entering Tuesday, Bergeron’€™s only goal of the young campaign came against Detroit in the second game of the season. The two-time Selke winner scored for the first time in 12 games Tuesday.

After Reilly Smith won the puck along the wall, Brad Marchand picked up the puck inches from Smith and sent it Bergeron, who knocked down the puck, wheeled around and swept it past Roberto Luongo. The puck might have gone off the stick of a Florida defender to change the trajectory.

The goal gave Bergeron points in two straight games, as he picked up a helper Saturday against the Senators. Bergeron’€™s eight points (two goals, six assists) put him two behind Carl Soderberg, who leads the B’€™s with 10 points (three goals, seven assists).

Marchand, on the other hand, remains red hot with four goals and two assists for six points in his last three games. Reilly Smith had one of his better games of the season.

KREJCI REMAINS OUT

David Krejci missed his second consecutive game with a hip injury that he’€™s battled all season. Claude Julien said prior to the game that Krejci ‘€œshould be back soon.’€

With Krejci out, Chris Kelly centered Milan Lucic and Seth Griffith for the second straight game. The lineup was as follows:

Lucic -€“ Kelly – Griffith
Marchand -€“ Bergeron -€“ Smith
Fraser €-“ Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille -€“ Campbell -€“ Gagne

Seidenberg -“ Hamilton
Morrow -“ McQuaid
Warsofsky – Trotman

Rask

LOUI ERIKSSON IS GETTING HIT IN THE FACE WITH STICKS AGAIN

Loui Eriksson ran into some bad luck prior to the Olympics when he took a stick to the mouth in a game against the Blues. Eriksson required dental work after the incident.

It was something of a familiar sight in the final minutes of regulation Tuesday when Scottie Upshall got Eriksson in the face with his stick. There was no penalty called on the play, but Eriksson stayed in the game.

THORNTON RETURNS TO BOSTON

Tuesday marked Shawn Thornton‘€™s first game at TD Garden since leaving the Bruins this offseason and first game ever as an opponent in Boston.

The veteran enforcer, who spent seven seasons with the B’€™s, was met with a standing ovation when his name was announced in the starting lineup and was again received a strong response when the Bruins played a video tribute during a first-period stoppage in play. The video featured goals, hits, fights, hospital visits and Thornton raising the Stanley Cup in 2011.

Thornton and linemate Derek MacKenzie were stuck on the ice for Bergeron’€™s second-period goal.

Read More: Brad Marchand,
Zdeno Chara noncommittal on lack of surgery 11.04.14 at 12:50 pm ET
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Bruins captain Zdeno Chara spoke to the media Tuesday for the first time since suffering a torn PCL on Oct. 23.

Prior to the team’€™s morning skate, Chara stood in the hall at TD Garden with a brace on his leg as he stickhandled and shot pucks against the wall. He is in the second week of what is expected to be a 4-6 week recovery.

The day after the injury, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said that surgery was not expected to be required for Chara. Asked Tuesday if he was happy to not need surgery, Chara wasn’€™t as definitive.

“Well, we’ll see,” Chara said. “It’s always nice to avoid surgery. We’ll see how it goes, but that was obviously good news.”

It’s worth noting that Aaron Ward, who first reported Chara’s injury, said in his initial report that the Bruins would “evaluate need for surgery or not” at the end of the 4-6 week process.

When asked about a timeline for his recovery, Chara was noncommittal.

Said Chara: “I wish I could tell you guys exactly when I’m going to return but at this point it’s such a slow process, who knows where it’s going?”

The injury was suffered in the first period of the team’€™s loss to the Islanders on a hit to New York captain John Tavares. Following the hit, Chara stayed on the ice during a TV timeout and finished his shift upon the game resuming. He left the bench but said he had not felt anything on his hit on Tavares.

“No, nothing,” Chara said. “Just on the shift after it I felt some discomfort, but no pain or anything like that. I just went into the locker room to just check on things, but obviously I found out there was more to it.”

Since losing the game in which he was injured, the Bruins are 3-1-0 without Chara. The team has also lost Torey Krug to a broken finger in that time, and Kevan Miller was already out with a dislocated shoulder. The team has also pulled Matt Bartkowski from the lineup amidst early season struggles, resulting in Joe Morrow, David Warsofsky and Zach Trotman making up half of Boston’€™s back end.

Read More: Zdeno Chara,
David Krejci to miss second straight game with hip injury 11.04.14 at 12:23 pm ET
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David Krejci will miss his second straight game Tuesday when the Bruins host the Panthers at TD Garden.

Per a source, Krejci has been battling a hip injury suffered in the preseason that forced him to miss the first three games of the season. He returned to post nine points (three goals, six assists) in nine games, but the pain became too much to play through. Krejci has not skated since last Thursday’€™s game against the Sabres.

The Bruins termed Krejci day-to-day on Monday, with their hope Tuesday being that the injury doesn’€™t keep him out much longer.

“€œHe’€™s going to be out tonight, but we don’€™t think it’€™s a real major issue,”€ Claude Julien said after the morning skate. “œHe should be back soon.”€

According to Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald, both Torey Krug (broken finger) and Kevan Miller (dislocated shoulder) skated prior to the morning skate. Miller began skating Monday.

Tuukka Rask is expected to start Tuesday, while Matt Bartkowski appears headed for a third consecutive healthy scratch. With Krejci out, the lineup from morning skate was as follows:

Lucic -€“ Kelly – Griffith
Marchand -€“ Bergeron -€“ Smith
Fraser – Soderberg – Eriksson
Paille -€“ Campbell -€“ Gagne

Seidenberg – Hamilton
Morrow – McQuaid
Warsofsky – Trotman

Rask

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: David Krejci,
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