|Julien offers updates on Savard, Sturm, Ference, and Seidenberg||10.13.10 at 12:51 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the team’s first practice since returning to the United States that the club is better off not putting unnecessary pressure on Marc Savard has he recovers from post-concussion syndrome symptoms. Savard has been unable to take the ice since failing his impact test when the team opened training camp in September.
“I’ve taken the approach that as long as he’s not with us, I’ve got to keep working with our group here,” Julien said. “I haven’t had any real good chances to talk with the medical staff and stuff like that, but he’s been working out, that much I know. It’s getting better every day, so I’m looking forward to seeing him on the ice, and we’ll take it from there.
“He’s behind by at least a month, a month and a half already, where we’ve been on the ice, so we have to be patient and give him a chance to come back. Right now I don’t think there’s any reason why we should push this guy to get back more than we should be helping him to get back. That’s the thing we have to make sure we do here, is give him due time to make that comeback, and when he’s ready to make it, we’ll help him through it.”
Julien also added that Marco Sturm, another long-term injury player (knee) is expected to begin skating in the coming days as he continues his recovery.
Both Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference left the ice early on Wednesday. Julien said that while Seidenberg was dealing with either the flu or food poisoning, Ference was unable to shoot pucks due to a cortisone shot he received in his thumb. Julien noted that the veteran defenseman’s thumb ailment is “very, very minor” and that he won’t miss additional practice time due to it.
|Bruins have sleeping in the aisles to thank for energetic practice||09.30.10 at 3:02 pm ET|
BELFAST — If you expected the Bruins to roll into Belfast falling over themselves with fatigue, as unlikely as it would seem given the last two days and jet lag, you were somehow wrong.
Just a few hours after arriving at their hotel, the team tore up the ice at the Odyssey Arena in a high-energy practice. One of the highlights of the skate, which was a truly entertaining hour and a half, was a drill in which a skater would take a penalty shot. Players would essentially bet sprints on whether they would score, lining up on one wall to signify their faith in the scorer and the other to support the goaltender. Players laughed throughout the drill — hearing it from teammates as they would shift from wall to wall based on the shooter — but by the end of it had skated plenty.
Though one might think a practice in which players were both sprinting tirelessly and in high spirits would be impossible after a five-hour flight that came with a five-hour time-difference, that’s simply what came of Thursday’s skate.
“I think guys are trying to compensate for the tired legs and stuff and trying to get the most out of it,” defenseman Andrew Ference said. “Coach has had this planned out for a while, what the day was going to look like, just to try to get over the jet lag as quick as possible. We knew the practice was going to be a good one to get the legs going, and I think guys took it seriously. We want to get on the right foot as quick as possible here.”
Asked if he was able to get any shuteye on the plane, Ference said he employed a tactic used in his WHL days.
“I think all the guys that played in the Western League (slept) on the floor. We’re used to sleeping on the floor of the bus.”
“Oh yeah. The Western League guys are pros at that. I grabbed a towel that was as thin as paper and got down there for a bit.”
To sleep on the floor during a flight with a plane full of teammates may be a sign of faith that pranksters would refrain from tapping their feet or employing other tactics to disrupt one’s slumber. Ference wasn’t worried about such shenanigans interfering with his rest, but for a different reason.
“Z’s part of the Western League boys,” he explained, “so if anybody messes around [they to deal with Zdeno Chara].”
As for how Ference did at choosing in the penalty-shot fiasco, he ended up skating quite a bit after the shooters got off to a hot start.
“I’m a good guy, so I bet on the gaol-scorers every single time,” Ference said in defense of himself. “Well, maybe the goalies won’t think I’m a god guy, but I believed in our goal-scorers every time. It was probably about half (right) and half (wrong) I think.”
|Ference not taking health for granted||09.19.10 at 12:44 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference has proven himself as a capable defenseman since coming over from Calgary during the 2006-07 season. One thing he hasn’t been able to prove is an ability to stay on the ice for 82 games. Though he did so in the 2005-06 season, his last full campaign with the Flames, since coming to Boston he has yet to be able to skate in as many 60 games in a season. The most recent hiccup to Ference’s health was a groin that required offseason surgery.
Ference feels good as he enters his 11th season in the NHL, but the 31-year-old knows the game too well to assume a full season of play is a given.
“There’s nothing you can do to stop injuries from happening. It’s hockey. If something else comes up down the road, it’s not because of a lack of rehab or anything like that. It’s just the sport, so I can’t say, ‘Oh yeah. Awesome, nothing’s every going to happen again,’ but I feel great right now.”
Ference took four weeks to recover from the surgery, which took place in late May. He is skating in Group B for the team’s training camp practices and is paired with Cody Wild.
Here are a couple of other notes from a 10-minute long chat that had Zdeno Chara poking fun at the defenseman’s popularity.
- Ference is no stranger to teams making big pushes in the playoffs, as he was a member of the 2000-01 Penguins and the 2003-04 Flames. Asked how he compares this team to the past squads he’s been on, he pointed to his Penguins days in saying, “We don’t have Mario [Lemieux] on our team.” Ference played in 18 games in that postseason, one in which Pittsburgh fell to te Devils in the Eastern Conference finals.
- Ference seemed optimistic for the 2010-11 squad, referencing the Bruins overcoming “a really good test” in some regular season rough patches and earning a playoff berth.
|Ference in New Orleans to support Gulf Coast||07.12.10 at 7:37 pm ET|
A group of current and former professional athletes including Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference and his wife, former snowboarder Krista Bradford Ference, are meeting Monday night and will visit the site of the BP oil disaster Monday, the Bruins announced Monday.
The group, which also includes Rangers great Mike Richter, NFL fullbacks Mike Alstott (formerly of the Buccaneers) and Ovie Mughelli (currently with the Falcons), NASCAR racer Leilani Munter, and Olympians Stacey Cook (skier), hammer thrower Loree Smith , and race-walker Gary Morgan, will view the damages and “demonstrate their support for Gulf Coast communities.”
Ference wrapped up his fourth season as a Bruin in 2009-2010 and in March signed a three-year extension. He has totaled 54 points in 183 games since being acquired in the ’06-’07 season from the Flames.
Ference has been known for being mindful of the environment since his time in Calgary. The Sierra Club, which is organizing the trip, is the country’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization. Ference will speak to the media following the experience, so check back for more as it comes.
|Buckle down or buckle under for B’s||05.11.10 at 2:19 pm ET|
For the first three games of the series, the Bruins showed exactly what it takes to win playoff hockey games. Make the key play at the key moment while keeping your cool.
It paid off in Game 1 when the Flyers scored twice in the final eight minutes to force overtime. It paid off in Game 2 when Milan Lucic turned and fired a shot on an unsuspecting Brian Boucher for the game-winner. And it paid off in Game 3 when the Flyers scored to open the game in their building, only to have the Bruins score twice in the next five minutes to take command and not look back.
But all of a sudden, it’s the Flyers who have found the magic touch. They were the ones who were scored on in the final 31 seconds of regulation in Game 4 with the series on the line, only to net the game-winner off the stick of Simon Gagne in overtime.
Then Monday night, the Flyers scored in the opening seven minutes and got some lucky bounces to hold on to the lead while the Bruins were taking penalty after penalty, sapping them of any strength to come back as the Flyers prevailed, 4-0.
Now, with the Bruins’ lead down to 3-2, the stage is set for Game 6 in Philadelphia Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at the Wachovia Center.
“It’s buckling down and playing good hockey,” Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said. “You know, both games that they’ve won now have been very deserved wins, so that’s what you’re going to get this time of this year. You’re not just going to show up, sneak by anybody, and get an easy win. I mean, the team that plays the best hockey will most of the time end up with a win, and that’s what’s happened.”
And if they don’t take care of business and ‘buckle down’ on Wednesday on Broad Street? Get ready to hear all about the about the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the 1975 New York Islanders and, of course, the 2004 Red Sox. They are the three teams that have come back in major professional sports from 3-0 deficits to win a best-of-seven playoff series.
Ference says the Bruins would be well advised to just take a deep breath.
“I think a lot of the breakdowns, going back early, was not making good plays, you know, good breakouts and good passes, and you know, just calming down and making good plays,” he said. “I mean, it’s something that when you do it well from us to the forwards, it makes us a much better team, But you know, we started turning over a lot of pucks and creating a lot of problems for ourselves on top of what they were creating themselves, so they played well and we also hurt ourselves by some of the stuff we did.”
This series started with the Flyers missing Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere. But as hockey fate would have it, the Bruins lost Marco Sturm in Game 1 and David Krejci in Game 3 while the Flyers got Gagne back in Game 4 and could have Carter back for a Game 7 Friday in Boston.
“Of course we miss him,” Ference said of Krejci. “He’s a great player – just as much as we missed Savvy [Marc Savard], and just as much as we missed Marco [Sturm] and Bergy [Patrice Bergeron]. You know, we’ve had great players for extended periods before and he’s left out of the lineup, but tough luck.
“That’s just the way it works and some other guys have to step up, so you know, the good teams that have won in the past, that’s always a storyline – you know guys step into increased ice time and increased roles and make the most of it, so obviously that has to be a storyline for us if we’re going to have any success is somebody or a few guys stepping up and you know, trying to fill some of those points and fill some of those plays and that energy that he brings.”
|Second period summary: Bruins vs. Sabres – Game 3||04.19.10 at 8:45 pm ET|
Back and forth they go.
The Sabres got the first real power play of the game when Milan Lucic was called for a a drive-by high-sticking penalty when he caught the butt-end of his stick on the cheek of Craig Rivet while chasing the puck back out of his own offensive zone on the forecheck at 1:57. Buffalo entered Game 3 without a man-advantage strike through the first two contests, going 0 for 9 in the process. The Sabres worked on the power play through their entire morning skate, showing off two different formations that both featured a lot of movement to the net.
The Sabres may never find out how those sets work against the Bruins because the stout Boston penalty kill has consistently foiled any clean Buffalo entries into their zone and the Bruins were able to kill off their 10th in a row in the series.
Outside of Zdeno Chara dumping Tyler Ennis into Buffalo’s bench in Game 2, the biggest hit of the series came shortly after the power play when Buffalo forward Matt Ellis was trying to skate the puck clear of the Sabres’ offensive zone when he was met by their perpetual agitator in this series, Johnny Boychuk. The defenseman stood Ellis up and knocked him flat on his back, going from forward motion to the ice in a flash as he was separated from the puck.
Boston got its first crack at the power play when Paul Gaustad went to the box for interference at 12:18. The Bruins got a man-advantage strike from Mark Recchi in Game 1 but have not been able to tally in three other chances in the first two games. Despite decent puck movement in their the zone the Bruins were foiled on this attempt as well. Boston got another chance a few minutes later when Andrej Sekera took an interference call at 15:06 but the Sabres, who actually ranked higher than the Bruins in penalty killing during the regular season (second to third), battled through again to make Boston 1 for 6 on the series.
To punctuate the see-saw that was the second period, Boston took two penalties in the final three minutes. The first was to Marco Sturm, negating the last 17-seconds of Boston’s power play off the Sekera penalty. Once the Bruins killed that one off they had to start another as Andrew Ference took a tripping call at 18:51.
The Sabres wills start the third a man up and lead the Bruins in shots 21 to 20.
|Big minutes coming for the blueliners||04.07.10 at 12:39 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — What happens when the core disintegrates?
You could take the movie version like in that terrible version of a modern B movie “The Core” in which there are a lot of mysterious lightning storms that happen to strike over Rome as an example. Or maybe in the new blockbuster “2012″ in which the world tears itself to shreds and humanity’s elite are forced to take refuge in the digital age version of the ark. Either way, it was not that pretty.
Perhaps not quite as dramatic, but the Bruins have relied on steady defense and goaltending this year to put themselves in position to make the playoffs despite their league-worst offense. Yet, in the last week, the Bruins have had two of their top three defensemen need to have surgery and their best blueliner and captain break his nose. Mark Stuart will miss about two weeks after having surgery for cellulitis in his finger and Dennis Seidenberg is out for the rest of the season (barring some miraculous playoff run) after having surgery to fix a lacerated flexor carpi radialis tendon in his left forearm that he sustained in the first period against Toronto on Saturday.
The Seidenberg surgery came more out of the blue because it seemed that he was all right on Tuesday after he talked to the media, giving no indication that an operation was imminent.
“I think in the morning he felt pain and obviously before the game we tried something with him and in the warmup he still felt pain,” coach Claude Julien said. “In the short time I have known him I think it is pretty obvious that he is a tough individual, so for him not to go something was obviously wrong and the diagnosis we got from Toronto was not the same diagnosis we got here.”
Add to that the perpetual mystery that is Andrew Ference (out for the regular season but being evaluated every day) and Boston has all of a sudden become very light on the back end.
Practice at Ristuccia on Wednesday looked a little more like training camp than a team preparing for its final three games in a season in a playoff race. Adam McQuaid and Andrew Bodnarchuk have been recalled to the Bruins from Providence, and the ways things are going they are up for longer than just the usual “emergency basis.” On the offensive side, Trent Whitfield and Brad Marchand are not exactly the players one would expect to see on the roster in early April, but so it goes. (To be fair, Marchand and Whitfield have earned their extended cups of coffee.)
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