|After facing shots, Tuukka Rask one step closer to being ready for Bruins||04.09.12 at 1:19 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins saw a familiar face on the ice Monday, as Tuukka Rask joined his teammates in their first practice in anticipation of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Rask has been out since suffering an abdomen strain/groin strain on March 3, and after being expected to miss 4-6 weeks, he seems to be on pace to be available should he be needed at some point in the postseason. After starting to skate last week, he faced shots for the first time on Monday.
“Good,” Rask said when asked how he felt after the practice. “It was good to get back on the ice with the guys and stop some shots, so it was all good.”
Rask didn’t look slowed by his injury Monday, as he moved around well and went into the butterfly position with ease.
The goalie wouldn’t say whether he thinks he’ll be on the bench for Game 1 against the Capitals Thursday, while Claude Julien said Rask remains day-to-day. The Finnish net minder was pleased with what he was able to get out of Monday’s skate, and said that he made every type of save he would need to make to feel ready without overdoing it.
“You don’t want to just go out there and hurt it again in the first practice,” he said. “I pretty much did everything I wanted to, so it was a good day.”
This injury was the first time in his Bruins career that Rask has been out for an extended period of time. While recovering, Rask said he spoke to teammates Andrew Ference and Greg Zanon, both of whom have had similar injuries in the past.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “It’s been a tough five weeks and a couple more days, just to stay out and not be able to go out with the guys and go on the road and stuff. It’s tough to not push it too much and just stay patient.”
Rask wouldn’t go into specifics regarding what his plan is in the coming days. He didn’t say whether he needs to ramp it up more, as he said is plan is to “just try to stop every puck.”
|Andrew Ference, Daniel Paille still day-to-day as Bruins hold optional practice||03.09.12 at 11:58 am ET|
WILMINGTON — On the day before a busy weekend that will feature games against the Capitals and Penguins, the Bruins took to the ice at Ristuccia Arena.
There were nine forwards, six defensemen and one goalie on the ice for the B’s for an optional skate. Missing from the skate were Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas and coach Claude Julien.
After the skate, coach Claude Julien said that both Paille and Ference remain day-to-day.
“To be honest with you, [I’m] not sure,” Julien said of their statuses. “I know that they’re day-to-day. ‘¦ I would still have to look at where they are tomorrow morning and decide whether to put them out in the warmup and make that decision or now.”
Marchand, who woozily skated back to bench in the third period Thursday after taking a hit from Tyler Myers, is fine, according to the coach.
|Benoit Pouliot expected back for Bruins, Daniel Paille and Andrew Ference remain out||03.08.12 at 11:51 am ET|
Claude Julien said after Thursday’s optional morning skate that forward Benoit Pouliot is expected to be in the lineup Thursday night against the Sabres. Pouliot took only two shifts in the second period Tuesday against the Maple Leafs before leaving and not returning.
“Looks good, looks fine,” Julien said of Pouliot. “[He] told us he’s ready to go.”
Forward Daniel Paille and defenseman Andrew Ference will not play for the B’s on Thursday. Both players are considered day-to-day. Paille has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury, while Ference has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury. Paille, Ference and Pouliot all skated Thursday morning.
|Andrew Ference on D&C: David Krejci ‘a completely different player when he’s feeling good’||03.02.12 at 10:56 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to discuss Thursday night’s overtime victory over the Devils and his take on the dynamics of the team as the result of moves before the trade deadline.
“It’s pretty tough to break them up after that,” Ference said. “The good thing about that — you’re happy to see anybody score and get some goals going, but especially Dave. He’s a completely different player when he’s feeling good, got that confidence going. It transforms him when he’s got a smile on his face, when he’s not as frustrated when he’s not scoring.”
Ference took only three shifts in the third period Thursday after suffering what Julien referred to as a lower-body injury. Despite his injury, Ference kept a positive attitude, praising the team’s efforts, especially goalie Tim Thomas, for pulling out the win. Asked if credit for the team’s success belongs more to Thomas or the defense, Ference said it’s a combination of the two.
“It’s like when last year, we talked about winning. No one guy could have won without the other; we’re not that kind of team,” Ference said. “Obviously Timmy was unbelievable, but without our system and without the way we play, we don’t win and vice versa. I think we have a great system and all that, but without Timmy playing the way he does, we don’t get it.”
“I like what we did,” Ference said. “Obviously you can see there’s injuries at this time of year and you need those guys that have that experience to step in, instead of just throwing a rookie to the wolves that’s never played before, then expect him to just jump in at this time of year is pretty tough.”
|Barry Pederson on M&M: Bruins ‘built to be good for a number of years to come’||02.27.12 at 2:55 pm ET|
With the NHL trade deadline just hours away, NESN Bruins studio analyst Barry Pederson joined Mut & Merloni Monday afternoon to talk about what the Bruins need to improve and what kind of moves they should make, if any.
Very few major moves have been made by any teams, but Pederson said that he would be more surprised if the Bruins made no move than if they made a major trade.
“I think they need some depth, especially when Andrew Ference went down, that really showed me that you needed another left-handed defenseman,” Pederson said. “I would look for them to try to add that because I know that Dennis Seidenberg can play the right side, he showed that and then some in the playoffs what he could do when he’s with [Zdeno] Chara, and I think they’ll want to do that come playoff time again.
“I think you want to get some depth up front for the reasons we just talked about — you’re not sure what’s going to happen with Nathan [Horton], you’re hoping he can come back, and Rich Peverley with that knee injury, you never know what they’re going to be like.”
That being said, Pederson noted that the Bruins would be wise to not jeopardize the promising future that they have with their current roster.
“They’re still in great, great shape,” Pederson said. “They’ve got a great core, they’re well-positioned salary cap-wise, they’re young, they’re talented, they’re physical, they’re packing the building over here.
“The Bruins fans are excited not only because of last year’s win, but if you look ahead and you go, ‘You know what? Barring any major injuries, this organization is built to be good for a number of years to come.’ ”
Part of the reason the Bruins should be weary of a major trade, to Pederson, is that trades often come with a wide array of variables and can often backfire.
“The difficult part with that, and it’s the same thing I’m sure the Rangers are kind of talking about and Pittsburgh with [Sidney] Crosby, is you have concussions and you also have great chemistry, and that’s something that you can’t take for granted,” Pederson said. “One of the major reasons for the Bruins to be so successful in that Cup run last year was they had each other’s back.
“It was an all-for-one, one-for-all type of mentality. The Rangers, I think, have that right now, I think Pittsburgh’s getting that. That, to me, is so important.”
|Andrew Ference on D&C: ‘Step in the right direction’ for Bruins||02.24.12 at 12:51 pm ET|
The Bruins beat the Blues Wednesday night after going 3-6-0 in their nine previous contests. The win allowed them to remain two points ahead of the Senators for the Northeast Division lead.
“We had a couple of frustrating losses before that where we didn’t play bad, but we definitely took a step in the right direction,” Ference said. “We needed it. It was good. … I think it’s one of those games you can always reach back to, you can always look to. We have a team, especially over the last couple of years, it’s always done really well with challenges and always getting up for those big games, and like Andy [Brickley] said, using it as a launching point. It’s just one of those games where you set the bar at a certain level and we do well with trying to keep it there.”
The trade deadline is Monday and the Bruins are rumored to be in the market for help, but Ference said this team does not appear to him like one that is in need of an infusion in the form of a new player.
“I’ve been on teams that have felt like they definitely need an extra element or they need a little jolt just to get them going, and we definitely don’t have that feeling right now,” Ference said. “But that really doesn’t matter as far as whether or not the GM’s going to get something done because we know we have a guy that if he has the chance to make the team better, he’s going to do it.”
Added Ference: “Especially as players, something so far out of our control, that if you really waste too much energy on it, you drive yourself crazy. It is completely out of our control. I think that you really just have to have trust in the fact that they’re going to make the right move if it’s there and not make it if it’s not. That’s really their job. Personally, I really don’t spend any time thinking about it and I’m pretty sure most of the guys are the same. Obviously, you’re going to have guys that love looking at the rumors and checking out all the news from around the league. But there’s really no chatter about it amongst the guys. … It’s just really not talked about.”
|Andrew Ference on D&C: ‘I totally understand’ Habs fans’ cheering of Zdeno Chara’s injury||02.17.12 at 11:48 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning and touched on the behavior of Canadiens fans after Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was hit in the face Wednesday night by a clearing attempt by Tomas Plekanec. Habs fans cheered while Chara was down on the ice and bleeding.
The social media world soon blew up with tweets lecturing Montreal about showing class as a fan base, but Ference appeared less concerned.
“I wouldn’t say I was offended,” Ference said. “You don’t like it, but I know where they’re coming from. I don’t know if it’d be a very different story in a lot of arenas for whatever big rivalries happen no matter what sport it is. … It’s just the way it is. It’s not something you really like but, like I said, I totally understand it.”
Added Ference: “When people talk about it being it being a heated rivalry and people caring a lot about it, it’s true, it’s not just kind of empty words. They do care a lot about it. They’re passionate about hockey and so when one of your most hated rivals and the biggest guy on the team goes down like that, like I said, it’s not that surprising.”
Ference also discussed the domino effect of losing key players on the team and what kind of impact it’s had on other players and the way the Bruins have played night in and night out.
“It’s not easy, especially if you’ve been playing with a certain guy for a long time, it makes it more difficult. But that just comes down to something that if GMs are looking at players, they wonder how adaptable they are and how quickly they can either change their style of game or change the way they play with certain players, and that’s obviously a plus,” Ference said. “The more people you can have that can do that the better, and obviously some people are better at doing it than others. I think that over the past few years we’ve had pretty good success with injuries and dealing with them, and some pretty big guys. I think you just kind of cross your fingers and hope that guys will keep their game at a high level despite their linemates being out.”