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Bergeron speaks… 01.09.09 at 11:25 am ET
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There was one overiding theme to Friday’s media availability with Patrice Bergeron at TD Banknorth Garden. “This year is different.” From Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli to coach Claude Julien to the man himself, everyone wanted to make sure this much was clear – this year’s concussion, suffered on Dec. 20 against Carolina, is NOT like last year’s grade 3 concussion that ended Bergeron’s 2007-08 season in October against Philadelphia. Last season, Bergeron addressed the media in December before a press room full of reporters and it was an uncomfortable if not traumatic experience for everyone in the organization, including Bergeron. This year, while crowded with cameras and reporters to the right of his locker stall, Bergeron look far more at ease as he took questions. Last season, there were concerns not just about his career but his long-term health. While those concerns are there for every player, Bergeron talked about getting his heart rate up to 140 beats a minute for 35 minutes while doing cardio. And last year, till the very end of the season, there was no indication when he might return. This year, reading between the lines, it seems as though a return somewhere around the All-Star break at the end of the month may not be out of the question. Joe Haggerty has the full story at Pucks with Haggs. Let’s listen to what the parties had to say Friday at the Garden.

Bergeron said it’s been tough staying positive after taking the hit from Dennis Seidenberg.

Bergeron is confident he’ll be back.

Bergeron said he’s not the first to get a concussion from the jaw.

Chiarelli admits he was nervous when Bergeron took the hit to the jaw.

Chiarelli said Bergeron has peace of mind now.

Chiarelli is confident Bergeron will be back.

Julien said everyone wants to see him back.

Julien said this concusion is not comparable to last season’s hit against Philadelphia.

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Sounds of the game… Bruins 6, Senators 4 01.09.09 at 8:39 am ET
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With everyone in the Bruins locker room stopping just short of saying it was a must win, the Black and Gold came out with energy and intensity in the opening minutes of the first period to take a 2-0 lead over Ottawa. It was the first time in seven games that they scored first and they are now an impressive 19-3-2 when they light the lamp first. Then Shawn Thornton got into a fight with Ottawa’s Chris Neil and head coach Claude Julien thought that would raise his club’s intensity even more. But the opposite happened as Ottawa seemed to wake up. The Bruins blew leads of 2-0 and 3-1 before finally showing its superior muscle in the third and coming away with a 6-4 much-needed win.

Claude Julien on why this win was important after two straight losses.

Zdeno Chara said this win was more important that fans may think.

Marc Savard said the Bruins needed to get back into the win column.

Blake Wheeler said the team needs to keep the pressure on after a good start like Thursday.

Chuck Kobasew said Thursday shows that the Bruins just need to be more consistent.

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“More important than everyone thinks…” 01.08.09 at 9:12 pm ET
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Bruins coach Claude Julien wanted to drill a real simple message into his team prior to its game with the Ottawa Senators Thursday night. Don’t let a two-game losing skid reach three.

He began preaching this on Wednesday morning at practice. He continued this through the morning skate on Thursday and preached it during the game as he watched his team lose a 3-1 lead to the lowly Ottawa Senators and head into the third period tied, 3-3.

But the switch turned on during the second intermission. The Bruins got goals from David Krejci, Marc Savard and P.J. Axelsson as they outscored the Senators, 3-1, in the final 20 minutes to skate off with a 6-4 victory.

“This was a very important game, more important than everyone thinks,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “It’s kind of a situation where you lose a couple of games, the team starts questioning the talent, the play. I think at some points it’s okay to face adversity but also we have to believe we’re a good team.”

Adversity is what the Bruins faced following a 4-2 loss to Buffalo on Saturday and a 1-0 clunker on Tuesday against Minnesota.

“It was either stop the hemorrhaging and continue the slide,” added coach Claude Julien. “You lose three in a row, your confidence takes an even bigger beating. Losing this game would have certainly hurt us a lot more than we think and winning it might hopefully be what we need to get back to our game.”

With Milan Lucic and Shane Hnidy out with injuries, Aaron Ward’s first goal of the season and Chuck Kobasew’s seventh have helped the B’s pick up the slack and take a 2-0 first-period lead. The highlight of the opening period was a knock-down, drag ‘em out bare-fisted brawl between Shawn Thornton and Ottawa’s Chris Neil.

While Julien loved the energy of Thornton, he didn’t like his team’s response.

“I thought our first six minutes was pretty good,” Julien said. “I thought that after the fight, Thorny stood in there and did a good job. We didn’t respond. They did. If you look at the second period, a lot of bad mistakes.”

Mistakes that resulted in two Ottawa goals and a 3-3 game after two. But still, the Bruins showed the kind of resiliency that teams with 30 wins halfway through an NHL season show.

“We’re at a stage right now where we’re highly critical of our team because of what we’ve accomplished so far. We’ve got some guys right now who are underperforming,” said the coach.

One of those NOT underperforming is Manny Fernandez. He has shown why the Bruins acquired him before the 2007-08 season from the Minnesota Wild. There was some discussion as to who would start the game as Fernandez had an extra-long skate in the morning but he came out and started for the Bruins.

Martins Karsums was recalled on an emergency basis for tonight’s game at TD Banknorth Garden. The move was presumably in the event Stephane Yelle couldn’t go with flu-like symptoms. The Bruins are 2-2 so far on their season-long six-game homestand, which continues on Saturday against Carolina at 1 p.m.

“To win itself, was important but the way we won it wasn’t so good,” Julien concluded. “We’ve got a lot of things right now that are challenging us. Some of our better players are struggling right now, trying to find their groove.”

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Sounds of the game… Wild 1, Bruins 0 01.07.09 at 5:38 am ET
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That was something we haven’t seen all season from the Black and Gold. The Bruins were shut out for the first time this season on Tuesday night, on home ice no less. A big part of that was Niklas Backstrom, the Finnish goalie who teamed with Boston’s own Manny Fernandez to win the Jennings Trophy in 2007 with Minnesota. Backstrom made several spectacular saves and the Bruins took three straight penalties to start the second period and the Wild finally made them pay with a power play goal on the third try, beating the aforementioned Fernandez for the game’s only goal. How good have the Bruins been this year? They hadn’t lost consecutive games in regulation since Mar. 11 and 13 of LAST SEASON and they hadn’t been shutout. Our own Joe Haggerty says Buffalo and Minnesota may be providing a blueprint on how to beat the Bruins. But listen to coach Claude Julien and his players and they’ll tell you this is no time for panic.

Julien said the Bruins won’t change their style because of a bump in the road.

Julien said Manny Fernandez was one of the few Bruins to show up Tuesday night.

Julien said the Bruins are just going through one of those slumps that every team suffers.

Michael Ryder on the back-to-back losses.

Blake Wheeler acknowledged there was some frustration on Tuesday night.

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Sounds of the game… Sabres 4, Bruins 2 01.03.09 at 3:05 pm ET
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For the first time since Dec. 10, the Bruins tasted defeat on Saturday, snapping a remarkable 10-game run of success. And for the first time since Oct. 23, they lost at home, a 14-game string of victory. How long ago was that? The Red Sox had just lost Game 7 of the ALCS to Tampa Bay four days earlier. Afterward, every Bruin to a man talked about facing adversity and how they plan to learn from this loss. Perhaps Milan Lucic said it best when he said that “good teams don’t lose two in a row and we have to be hungry come our next game.”  That will be the focus when they continue their six-game homestand against Minnesota on Tuesday night. But for now, we look back on a game with the help of coach Claude Julien, who introduced a new term into the lexicon of the Boston sports fan. “We needed some JAM and this was one of those games where you need a little bit more JAM.”  JAM is apparently hockey-talk for juice, energy and desire.

Julien said Saturday wasn’t Boston’s best effort.

Julien said Buffalo earned the win.

Milan Lucic said the Bruins will be hungry to start a new streak.

Marc Savard on the winning streaks coming to an end.

Tim Thomas said it was good to be tested with a loss.

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Sounds of the game… Bruins 4, Penguins 2 01.02.09 at 8:25 am ET
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In team sports, when you hear something hasn’t been done since 1929, one of two things has happened. Either a team is on a historically bad run and is about to get its coach fired. Or a team is blowing away its competition. Well of course, this is Boston, home of the 19-game winning streak in basketball and now the Boston Bruins are trying to equal their Garden co-tenants. And so far, they’re doing a pretty good job of it. Thursday night, the Bruins opened the New Year by turning away Sidney Crosby and the defending Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-2, on Causeway Street.

Some nuggets about these men of Black and Gold… The Bruins extended their home win streak to 14 games, their longest since a 16-game run from Jan. 10-Mar. 25, 1976. It’s the longest in the NHL this season and the fifth-longest behind streaks of 20, 19, 16 and 15 games. … The Bruins 10-game winning streak is the longest since a 10-game streak in the 1972-73 season. … The Bruins drew a crowd of 17,565, their eighth sellout of the season, fourth straight and sixth in seven home games. Boston sports fans always could spot a winner. Let’s hear from them.

Coach Claude Julien said the team is doing a good job with its game-to-game focus.

Julien explains putting Milan Lucic on the third line, producing two goals in his last two games.

Julien said Thursday was just another good, solid win.

Marc Savard said the team isn’t looking at chasing records or its own NHL-best 62 points.

Milan Lucic said winning 10 straight has been no accident.

Lucic said the Bruins are not taking the winning for granted.

Captain Zdeno Chara said the winning makes playing fun right now.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Milan Lucic, Pittsburgh Penguins Print  |  Email   | Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
A promotional opportunity… 12.30.08 at 1:44 pm ET
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Just wanted to let all my loyal readers know that A) I thank them a million times over for their patronage, B) that we’ll be taking a page out of the Bill Belichick handbook and looking ahead to what 2009 holds in store for the New England Patriots on Wednesday as well as a look at the 2008-09 Boston College men’s hoops team as they finish up non-ACC play with Sacred Heart on Wednesday and get ready for No. 1 North Carolina this weekend. And C) wish everyone a safe and prosperous 2009!

Happy 2009!

Happy 2009!

With that aside, the Patriots did make some procedural moves on Tuesday, signing five players to future contracts. The release from the team is below:

The New England Patriots signed five players to future contracts today – defensive lineman Titus Adams, linebacker Angelo Craig, punter Tom Malone, linebacker Darrell Robertson and offensive lineman Ryan Wendell. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed. All five players ended the 2008 season as members of the Patriots practice squad.

Adams, 25, spent the entire 2008 regular season on the Patriots practice squad. He was originally selected by the New York Jets in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft out of Nebraska. The 6-foot-4-inch, 305-pound defensive lineman has not played in an NFL game, but has been signed by the New York Jets (2006 training camp), New York Giants (2007 offseason), San Diego Chargers (2007 training camp) and Cincinnati Bengals (2007 practice squad). He was released by the Bengals on July 7, 2008 and was signed by the Patriots on July 24, 2008.

Craig, 23, was a member of the Patriots practice squad from Dec. 3 through the end of the 2008 season. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of the University of Cincinnati. The 6-foot-5-inch, 242-pound linebacker was released by the Bengals in the final preseason roster cutdown on Aug. 31, 2008. He was signed to the Carolina Panthers practice squad on Sept. 3, 2008 and was released the following day.

Malone, 24, had two stints on the Patriots practice squad in 2008 – from Sept. 10 to Sept. 15 and from Nov. 26 through the end of the season. He was also on the Patriots practice squad late in the 2006 season and was with the team for its 2007 training camp. He was signed to the Patriots practice squad on December 20, 2006, and was signed to the active roster on January 23, 2007 before being released on Aug. 22, 2007. The 6-foot, 205-pound punter was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a rookie free agent on May 5, 2006, out of the University of Southern California.

Robertson, 22, was a member of the Patriots practice squad from Nov. 17 through the end of the 2008 season. He was originally signed by the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie free agent following the 2008 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-4-inch, 246-pound linebacker was released by the Cowboys on Aug. 30, 2008. He was signed by the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League on Sept. 9, 2008 and played in two games for Edmonton, recording six tackles before being released on Sept. 29.

Wendell, 22, was a member of the Patriots practice squad from Sept. 24 through the end of the 2008 season. He was originally signed by the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Fresno State on May 2, 2008. The 6-foot-2-inch, 275-pound guard/center was with the Patriots throughout their 2008 training camp and was released on Aug. 26. Wendell was a four-year starter at Fresno State and was a first-team All-WAC selection as a senior in 2007.

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