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Bruins pregame: Daniel Paille cleared for return, Chad Johnson starts in net 03.15.14 at 12:33 pm ET
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Winners of seven straight, the Bruins will welcome back one forward and another making his NHL debut. Bruins coach Claude Julien announced before Saturday’s game with Carolina that Daniel Paille, who has missed the last five games with concussion symptoms, has been cleared to return to game action.

Asked if he will be available and will play, Julien was more coy with reporters pre-game.

“Could be,” Julien said with a smile. “Probably. You’ll have to make some deductions. right? I have to keep you guys on your toes. I’m too predictable.”

Chad Johnson will make his 18th start in net for the Bruins after Tuukka Rask started both games of the back-to-back Wednesday and Thursday in Montreal and home against Phoenix.

The other big story Saturday is the NHL debut of 23-year-old forward Matt Linblad, a Friday call-up from Providence.

“It’€™s pretty special,” Julien said. “I’€™m sure he’€™s dreamed of playing in the NHL, and exhibition games are one thing, and this is the real deal right now. But at the same time, I think he’€™s earned it. He’€™s played really well. I liked his training camp, I liked his, again, his hockey knowledge and his hockey IQ.

“Hockey sense is always an important part of any player at this level, and he has that. He’€™s a smart individual, so you put that with the good skater that he he is, and it makes for a pretty decent player. So we have high hopes for him and there’€™s an opportunity for him to show he’€™s gotten better over the course of the season.”

During pre-game warmups, Linblad was skating on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, leaving Shawn Thornton as the odd man out.

Julien also announced that, after playing in three straight games, defenseman Andrej Meszaros would get the day off, giving Torey Krug more time on the blue line as well as the power play.

“There’€™s going to be some changes here as we go along, and I think [Meszaros] has played three straight games and we’€™ve continued to work with him,” Julien said. “So, we certainly don’€™t want to let our other players that have been here be pushed aside because of trades. So it’€™s just managing that whole back end.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Chad Johnson, Claude Julien, Daniel Paille
Tim Thomas gets a new teammate in Roberto Luongo and immediately ‘pumps his tires’ 03.04.14 at 11:59 pm ET
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Tim Thomas couldn’t resist.

The opportunity to make a joke about the goaltender who was the butt of all Boston jokes in 2011 fell right in his lap when Roberto Luongo was traded from Vancouver to Florida on Tuesday, hours before the Wednesday 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.

“I did have one good line that probably somebody else has already thought of: It looked like [Panthers GM] Dale [Tallon] went kicking some tires and found one that needed pumping,” Thomas laughed.

Thomas, of course, was referring to an infamous comment Luongo made during the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.

Asked about how Thomas was carrying the Bruins on his back during the Bruins’ Cup run, Luongo famously said, “€œI’€™ve been pumping his tires ever since the series started and I haven’€™t heard one nice thing he had to say about me.”

Thomas replied, “I didn’€™t realize it was my job to pump his tires.”

Now, the two goalies are teammates thanks to a surprising deal in which the Panthers acquired Luongo in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday afternoon. That wasn’t the only storyline of the trade as Luongo returns to the organization where he played from 2000-06.

For the record, Panthers GM Dale Tallon said he intends on keeping both goalies in Florida and rebuilding the franchise around them.

“€œIt’€™ll be interesting, but you know what, I don’€™t know how things are going to work out, but assuming I’€™m staying in Florida, it’€™ll be interesting,”€ Thomas said. “I’€™m looking forward to it. It’€™ll be fun.”

Thomas insisted there are no hard feelings with Luongo.

“€œNo, not at all,” Thomas said. “I wasn’€™t an enemy with him even [in 2011]. I was so focused on playing and doing my job and that’€™s the way I was looking at it. So, yeah, we’€™re both pros, both been in the league a long time. I have a few more years on him, obviously, but we both have a lot of experience to bring to the team.

“€œSurprised, obviously, at first just like probably a lot of people who were caught off guard and didn’€™t see that one coming,” Thomas said. “€œBut then I had to get ready to play the game against obviously a difficult team.”

Thomas, on a one-year deal with the Panthers, said he can get along with Luongo.

“€œYeah, of course,”€ Thomas said. “€œHe’€™s a good goalie and from everything I’€™ve heard about him he’€™s got good character. I don’€™t know what their plans are. I don’€™t really know anything at this point. I can’€™t say too much.”

While Tallon did say he plans on keeping both, that didn’t stop speculation that Florida would eventually trade Thomas before the deadline to a contender. Thomas was asked if he would like to be traded to a contender now that Luongo is in Florida.

“€œYeah, but now I’€™ve got to see the situation and see what they’€™re thinking. I’€™d like to check in with Dale before I comment on anything,” Thomas said.

What does Claude Julien think of all of this from afar?

“€œWe’ll see if that’s still the case [Wednesday},”€ Julien said with a wide grin. “Maybe I can comment on it [Wednesday] after the deadline. Fair enough? I know it’s a lot of tire pumping.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, NHL, NHL trade deadline
Mike Petraglia, DJ Bean assess Bruins at the Olympic break 02.08.14 at 11:42 pm ET
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WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and DJ Bean assess the Bruins at the Olympic break. The Bruins finished the pre-Olympic portion of the schedule as one of the hottest teams in the NHL, going 8-1-2 in their final 11 games before the break, including Saturday’s 7-2 rout of the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden.

Read More: Boston Bruins, DJ Bean, NHL, Olympic break
Peter Chiarelli happy with how his summer moves have worked so far: ‘That’s what is expected of me’ 02.08.14 at 5:35 pm ET
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Eyebrows were a bit more than raised when Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli traded away young gun Tyler Seguin and reliable forward Rich Peverley to the Dallas Stars last summer in return for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser.

That was a Fourth of July calculated gamble that Chiarelli was willing to take just a week after his team lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals. Smith has 18 goals this season on the Marchand-Bergeron line, second only to Marchand’s 19 goals this year. Add to that the addition of veteran forward Jarome Iginla to replace Nathan Horton on the top line, and the moves have worked out quite nicely for the Bruins.

Iginla scored again Saturday and all of a sudden has 17 goals with 25 assists. Eriksson assisted on the first two goals Saturday and has 14 helpers on the season, not bad considering he’s missed 21 games with a pair of concussions.

Before he joins one of seven Bruins off to the Sochi Winter Games, Chiarelli was asked before Saturday’s 7-2 demolition of the Senators at TD Garden just how satisfying it is knowing the deals he made in the summer have paid off.

“It’€™s good, I mean that’€™s what is expected of me,” Chiarelli said. “Certainly I’€™ll hear it from you guys if they don’€™t. You, know Iggy ‘€“ high character. So you know you’re going to get a good effort. What were my other deals? Loui [Eriksson], yeah Loui is still a work in progress but I’€™ve seen parts of his game that I’€™m going to expect at some point that I have seen before. He’€™s got to work his way through it but he is a very good two way player and I’€™m happy with him. Reilly [Smith], of course has been good. So yeah it’€™s good. That’€™s what I’€™m expected to do and it helps bringing these players into a successful team and structure. It’€™s easier to do that provided they buy in and these guys have bought in.”

Will he look at bringing in veteran leaders at the March 5 trade deadline?

“Usually when I’€™m trying to add something on a temporary basis, on a rental basis, I’€™d like that player to have some experience,” Chiarelli said. “So, that usually translates into being a veteran. Playoff experience would be good too so that’€™s something I look for, I don’€™t know if I’€™m going to get it if we add somebody but that’€™s what I look for, I think it’€™s important. I t’€™s not so much for leadership; I feel our group has strong leadership. It’€™s more for having been in the battles and having that composure because that is what you need to win, is composure and compete by the composure also.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Jarome Iginla, Nathan Horton, NHL trade deadline
Peter Chiarelli likes where Bruins stand heading into Olympic break 02.08.14 at 4:41 pm ET
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Read More: Boston Bruins, NHL, Peter Chiarelli,
Claude Julien watches his Bruins implode due to ‘self-inflicted’ sloppiness 01.01.14 at 1:26 am ET
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There were bad bounces Tuesday night. There were highly questionable calls that went against them in the second and third periods.

But in the end, the real reason the Bruins blew a 3-1 lead to the bottom-feeding Islanders on Tuesday evening was a lack of discipline. The Bruins took penalty after penalty, and on Tuesday night, their penalty kill couldn’t erase the mistakes. They allowed four power play goals in eight New York chances in a 5-3 loss to the Islanders at TD Garden.

“I think when we took the 3-1 lead [in second period] we kind of relaxed and they came back hard and they kind of got the momentum back and we couldn’€™t regain it,” Claude Julien said. “They made their own breaks and they made their breaks by getting some good bounces and got themselves back in the game but in the third period, they were the better team, again. We lost because I think it was, like you said, probably self-inflicted. We took a lot of ill-advised penalties that at one point caught up to us and I didn’€™t think our penalty kill obviously was very good tonight.

“A lot of things I didn’€™t like tonight. Obviously our penalty kill wasn’€™t very good, some of the decision making, even again, we talked about our forecheck ‘€“ we were late, we weren’€™t winning battles, they dominated the battle area ‘€“ and when you start losing those kind of things, to our team it’€™s certainly not a good sign.”

What did he see from the penalty kill that made it so ineffective?

“Sloppiness,” Julien said. “You guys got your answer.

Then the subject turned to Tuukka Rask, the victim of shoddy penalty-killing Tuesday. Rask, it was pointed out to Julien, has allowed eight goals in his last two games.

“I don’€™t evaluate players just to ‘€“ you guys can evaluate him the way you want,” a curt Julien said. “All I know is that he’€™s been a real great goaltender for us and players sometimes have good games, they have so-so games, and I’€™m certainly not going to throw him under the bus with everything he’€™s done for us so I’€™ll leave it at that.

“Bad PK tonight. I’€™m not going to start analyzing the game here guys. You guys can do that. I have enough of that to do on my own.”

What caused the high amount of penalties?

“Well I mean if we’€™re going to talk penalties here you’€™re going to have to be specific. What I mean is that, some of them I thought were really bad penalties on our part. Other ones, I don’€™t agree with the [Milan] Lucic penalty at the end.

“To me that’€™s a battle, to me that’€™s a battle and that’€™s what I mean. We can discuss that. To me, I don’€™t agree with those calls. They were made but there were some that, again, Lucic’€™s penalty at center ice and [Brad] Marchand‘€™s, some of those penalties are penalties that ended up hurting us a lot on the road so we have to take ownership of that.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, New York Islanders, NHL
Shawn Thornton will have hearing, ‘feels awful’ for hit on Brooks Orpik 12.07.13 at 10:36 pm ET
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Nearing tears in front of his locker stall in the Bruins locker room after Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Penguins, an emotionally shaken Shawn Thornton apologized for his first-period attack on Brooks Orpik in the first period that sent the Penguins defenseman to the hospital.

“Listen, I feel awful. It wasn’t my intention for that outcome,” Thornton said. “I know Brooksie. I’ve gotten to know him over the last several years here. I skated with him in the summer, over the lockout.”

Thornton said he sent Orpik multiple text messages to check on his condition after Thornton was ejected from the game for the hit.

“I’ve texted him a couple of times,” Thornton said. “I feel awful. It was definitely not what I wanted to see or anybody wanted to see.

“Obviously, I made a mistake. I’m aware of it. I’ve been told I’ll be having a hearing. It’s hard for me to say much more other than it was not my intention. I felt sick the whole game.”

Thornton was asked if he felt he was just protecting his teammates after Orpik took out Loui Eriksson and James Neal kneed Brad Marchand in the head earlier in the first period.

“That’s always my job, I guess, to defend my teammates but I’ve prided myself for a long time to stay within in the lines. It’s hard for me to talk about it right now. I can’t say I’m sorry enough. I’m sure I’ll be criticized for saying it but it’s true. I hope he’s doing all right. I heard he’s conscious and talking. I’m happy to hear that.”

Will it change how he plays in the future?

“I really don’t know how to answer that to tell you the truth. I haven’t had enough time to think about it.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Brooks Orpik, NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins
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