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Thornton, Sobotka make way for Sturm, Begin 01.30.10 at 7:49 pm ET
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BOSTON  —  The Bruins welcomed their leading goal scorer back to action on Saturday night when Marco Sturm strode onto the TD Garden ice against the Los Angeles Kings.

He missed the last six games with a leg injury, taking his 15 goals with him.

Steve Begin also returned after missing the last five games with a lower body injury. Shawn Thornton and Vladimir Sobotka were healthy scratches to make room on the 20-man game roster.

Thornton, with just one goal in 50 games, and Sobotka (4g, 3a in 43 games) have been very disappointing in their production as forwards and the Bruins are in desperate need of a jump-start to their offense. Entering Saturday, they had an NHL-low 128 goals.

But some of the focus before the game was on those injured Bruins who recently returned – namely Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard.

“Patrice has been good for us all year,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “It hasn’t been an issue at all with him. He’s been our most reliable player from day one.”

To Julien’s point, the Bruins are 15-5-3 when Bergeron scores or records an assist. Bergeron entered Saturday with 21 assists, second on the team to Zdeno Chara’s 25.

Savard returned on Friday after missing eight games with a knee injury. He had an assist in the 2-1 loss at Buffalo. The team is 11-3-1 when he records a point in a game. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bruins, Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, Patrice Bergeron
Bruins ready to bounce back against Buffalo 01.28.10 at 1:44 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — After a week of practice to get healthy and screw their heads on straight, the Bruins will travel to Buffalo on Friday to take on the Northeast Division leading Sabres. It is an interesting challenge for Boston as the Buffalo is 15 points ahead of the Bruins in the standings but has been in a bit of a funk for the last week, going 1-3-1 in its last five games. The Sabres did snap a three game skid by beating the Devils 2-1 in a shootout on Wednesday night in New Jersey and remain a very dangerous team in the Eastern Conference.

“They are a pretty good team, they are playing well,” coach Claude Julien said. “I saw them play yesterday against New Jersey. They are playing with lots of confidence, they got great goaltender which keeps them in the game. They gave up 40 shots last night and only gave up a goal. We are already challenged a little bit in the goal scoring department so we are going to have to work just that much harder to get past this guy.”

The Sabres goaltender is Ryan Miller who is expected to be the starting net-minder for Team USA in the Vancouver Olympics and is second in the NHL with a 2.06 goals-against average. As Julien said, with the Bruins scoring woes, it will indeed be a challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Buffalo Sabres, Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, Tim Thomas
Bruins hit practice with help on the way 01.25.10 at 2:01 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — A Bruins fan taped a sign to the bleachers at the Bruins practice facility at Ristuccia Arena Monday morning that read: “Success is how high you bounce when you hit rock bottom,” ‘€” General George Patton. Monday’s practice was spirited from the get-go, with coach Claude Julien running full ice drills early as he tries to keep his team focused through this extended slump during which time Boston has dropped from the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference to the ninth.

The B’s hope that when they take to the ice for Friday’s game in Buffalo that the team will have a couple of key forwards back in the fold. With three more full practices before then, the Bruins have some housekeeping to take care of as they try to bounce back from this horrendous stretch of losses.

“Today was just things you have to do, things that you have to work on,” defenseman Derek Morris said. “It is going to be a long week of practice. We have to forget about those ones behind us and worry about the ones coming up. Win three, four, five games in a row and we are back up there in fifth moving our way back up. Everybody is kind of counting us out. We are not out yet and we are getting some guys back, we are getting healthy and we just have to worry about the next one.”

Speaking of getting healthy, Marc Savard was slotted into a line with Miroslav Satan and Daniel Paille. It was the first time since he sustained his injury that he has participated in full practice activities with linemates. He is still wearing a brace on his injured knee but says that he does not think about it much.

“It was a good test for it, got a little tired towards the end, but other than that, it felt strong,” Savard said. “Did everything, did the battle drills toward the end, felt good skating, hands felt good. Hopefully this time around I can be more of a presence when I get back.”

Savard said it definitely has been frustrating to watch his teammates and not be able to help out. At the same time, he is making sure that when he does come back that he will be an effective member of the team.

“It seems like when it rains, it pours. It is an old saying, but it seems that is what is happening right now,” Savard said. “Perhaps we just have to get the first goal in a game. We have a good week of preparation this week and we will keep on working until Friday.”

Byron Bitz rejoined practice for the first time since the Bruins came back from their three-game California trip.

“Feel good, full practice today. Stayed out the whole time. Hopefully it keeps progressing,” Bitz said. Bitz now has skated three days in a row and is shooting for Friday as his return date. “Third day in a row now on the ice, [the stamina] is coming back. Only had a week off so you don’t lose too much in that time, and we have three more practices to recover.”

Marco Sturm and Steve Begin, both who have been listed as day-to-day for the last week, did not skate and continue to be on the watch list. Julien does not know when to expect them on the ice and says that he can only go off what the training staff tells him.

“Just to clarify things, we have had players who we were saying were day-to-day, and those guys were day-to-day,” Julien said. “Sometimes day-to-day becomes a week situation. If I had known they would have been out for a week, I would have told you. Right now, Marco is still day-to-day but the hope is that he is going to start skating this week. That is all I can tell you right now.”

Here is the list of participation by sweater color:

Grey — Michael Ryder, David Krejci, Blake Wheeler.

Yellow — Patrice Bergeron, Mark Recchi, Milan Lucic.

White – Satan, Savard, Paille.

Red — Shawn Thornton (left early), Vladimir Sobotka, Bitz.

Bright Red — Drew Larman, Trent Whitfield.

Defense — Zdeno Chara, Morris, Matt Hunwick, Dennis Wideman, Johnny Boychuck, Mark Stuart, Adam McQuaid.

Goaltenders – Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask.

Read More: Byron Bitz, Derek Morris, Marc Savard, Marco Sturm
Savard shooting for next week, Sturm out again 01.21.10 at 12:06 pm ET
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Here are the notes from the morning skate at TD Garden.

— The Bruins recalled 24-year-old Drew Larman from Providence, which means that Marco Sturm, Steve Begin and Byron Bitz all will once again be unavailable for Boston Thursday evening when the B’s take on Columbus at TD Garden. None of the three forwards participated in the morning skate. Coach Claude Julien would not describe Bitz or Begin’s injuries because they could “be back at any time” and doing so would be a “liability.” Sturm left practice yesterday to prevent a setback with the leg injury he has been dealing with in the past week.

“He didn’t set himself back he just felt that he wasn’t ready so he pulled himself off before he set himself back,” Julien said.

There are no smoke and mirrors with the Bruins injury situation right now as the players who took part in the morning skate will be the ones to take the ice tonight.

“What you saw out there is what we got,” Julien said. “I don’t think there are any secrets there. We have got our 20 guys and that is what we will run with.”

Marc Savard spoke the the media after the skate and said that he expects to be back in the lineup next Friday on the road against Buffalo. He sustained a Grade 2 partial MCL tear against Chicago 28-seconds into the first period on January 7th. Today was the second day that he has skated and he has been wearing a big brace on during his workouts.

“When I am actually out there and doing stuff and skating I am not thinking about it but when I stop I think about it for a bit. But, besides for that it feels pretty normal,” Savard said.

“Hopefully I am better for all of this and I finish strong,” Savard said. “I was out there today and I felt pretty good. I said ‘maybe I can come back Sunday?’ But that is not the case. I have got to watch it and make sure, you don’t want to come back on Sunday and hurt it again and be losing my mind. I am just going to work through it and have a good skate tomorrow and go from there.”

Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice which probably means that he will get the start tonight against the Blue Jackets.

Read More: Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, Tuukka Rask,
Breaking Down the Bruins’ Classic Win 01.01.10 at 4:23 pm ET
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Here is a recap of the Bruins’ 2-1 win over the Flyers in Friday’s Winter Classic at Fenway Park (for game story, click here):

Three stars:

1. Bruins ‘€“ Marco Sturm nets the game-winner 1:57 into overtime.

2. Bruins ‘€“ Mark Recchi ‘€“ The 41-year-old skated like a kid, keeping the puck alive and creating chances before crashing the net for a rebound goal to draw the Bruins even with 2:18 to play. He also played a stretch in the third with only one glove without lessening his resolve for the puck. That’€™s Winter Classic spirit.

3. Flyers – Danny Syvret ‘€“ Recalled from the AHL earlier in the week, he scores his first NHL goal, giving the Flyers a second-period lead.

Turning Point ‘€“ Trailing 1-0, the Bruins go on the power play late in the third period. Recchi scores a rebound goal tying the game and setting up the overtime heroics by Sturm.

Key stretch – With the Flyers already holding a 1-0 lead, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was whistled from tripping 10:16 into the second period. Philadelphia picked up its pressure against Tim Thomas, but the Bruins also started creating more chances. The game became more wide open, with several odd-man rushes for both teams.

Read More: danny syvret, Marco Sturm, Mark Recchi,
Krejci finally getting things up to speed 10.27.09 at 4:33 pm ET
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David Krejci always has acted as his own harshest critic, so who knows what was going through the Czech Republic native’s mind after mustering up a scoresheet doughnut in the Bruins‘ first four games. There were, of course, ready-made excuses after the 23-year-old underwent right hip surgery to repair an impingement last summer and missed the entire preseason.

He was instead dropped into the lineup on opening night after receiving a clean bill of health, and has been slowly kicking the rust of his game during the season.

It took a few games, but the playmaking pivot finally snapped out of his scoreless funk against the Avalanche with a pair of helpers. He’s been getting closer to the nearly point-per-game Krejci of old ever since that Oct. 12 loss. In fact, Krejci has a goal and four assists and sits at plus-5 in six games since the loss to the Avs — and finally smashed through with a clutch game-tying score in Saturday’s shootout win over the Senators.

“We all know that our guys got hurt and now it’s everybody’s job to step and be in the right spot,” Krejci said. “I think the last few games I’ve been feeling much more comfortable. We’re trying to play hard and make it hard for the other team. Keep it simple.”

The goal was Krejci’s first tally in 10 games this season and would seem to act as the final weight lifted off the young center’s shoulders as he reconnects with his game. But appearances can be deceiving. Krejci said he wasn’t even thinking of that score in terms of his first individual goal of the season, and he was instead looking at its importance in the grand scheme of all things team.

“All six of us did a great job [in the final minute against Ottawa] and I was in the right place at the right time,” Krejci said. “It could have been anybody else. I didn’t really take it as my first goal of the season. I took as it the tying goal in a game, and it was pretty exciting.”

The youngster is adjusting to his new role as center on the top line with Marco Sturm and Mark Recchi riding shotgun, and Krejci ticked off resurrecting the power play as the next order of business on the docket.

“It’s been tough because they’re so fast and I’m just trying to keep up with them, but it’s getting better and better every game,” Krejci said. “They’re different players [than Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder]. We’ll see how it goes as we keep playing for each other. We’re going in the right direction now, and it’s about continuing to go in that right direction.”

Krejci is the Bruins player most similar to Marc Savard in both skill set and ability to elevate his teammates around him, but hasn’t worked much with the top power-play unit heading into Thursday night’s tilt against the Devils. He ranks well behind many of his teammates in terms of power-play ice time and is 10th on the B’s with an average of 2:15 of ice time per game on Boston’s man advantage.

Krejci may or may not see an increase in power-play time as his production continues to rise during the month of October, but his teammates are beginning to see the same old Krejci that flourished during last year’s breakout season. That’s just what the hockey doctor ordered with Savard on the shelf and all offensive hands needed on deck for the Black and Gold.

Read More: Claude Julien, David Krejci, Marco Sturm,
Sturm back to his natural left wing spot 10.14.09 at 2:07 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Marco Sturm admitted that there wasn’t much “comfort” in playing his off-wing on the right side over the Bruins first five games.

“[The left] is where I played the last five or six years, but I can go either way,” said Sturm. “I don’t know if it was comfort [on the right]. It was different. But we’ll see if we go on the left side and I notice a big change.”

The unfamiliar spot on the right wing didn’t stop Sturm from scoring a pair of goals and showing up as one of Boston’s best forwards right from first puck drop. A long spring-into-summer rehab from left knee surgery and an abbreviated preseason schedule due to groin problems did nothing to derail the German forward from starting the season healthy and strong. 

So the Bruins slipped in a slight change at Wednesday morning’s practice, and effectively rewarded Sturm by shifting him back over to his natural left wing position on the B’s top line along with center Marc Savard. Michael Ryder was moved to the right wing spot on Savard’s right, and the playmaking center now has legit scorers on either side of him. Milan Lucic was “dropped” to second line left wing along with David Krejci and Blake Wheeler – a move that also allows Wheeler to switch back over to his strong side on the right.

It may not be an indictment of how Lucic has played in the early going, but it’s certainly a bit of a reward carrot for the strong, willful hockey displayed by both Ryder and Sturm through the last few games.

“It’s just a tweak. Never a bad thing just to see if it will help,” said Julien. “Maybe shake some things up, get some attention and spark something up. I don’t think it’s directed at anybody necessarily, except getting the best possible four line combinations.

“I think Lucic has had real good success with Krejci before, and they work really well together when he’s been on that line in the past. With Michael up there, when you look back at the last game I thought he was a really decent player. When he works hard he creates chances, and when he works hard he’s strong on the puck. Sturmy with his speed and with Savvy, you hope something will come out of that.”

Sturm certainly performed satisfactorly at right wing and had the confidence of the coaching staff on his off-side, but also couldn’t hold a smile in at the thought of moving back into his natural wing position. The 31-year-old forward has been one of the few Bruins “feel good” stories while bouncing back strongly from knee surgery. Some players need a year to regain their skating speed after going under the knife, and — because of the January surgery date for Sturm’s surgery — he’s already approaching that milestone just a few months into the season.

That means little-to-no-speed lost and no residual rust on Sturm’s game despite all the reasons in the world for it to be holding him back. Sturm has even surprised himself with his level of play in the early going after being away from the game for a lengthy period of time.

“I’m feeling great so far,” said Sturm. “I’m really happy with the way I’ve started. It’s better than I expected. I had a rough preseason and even when I came [to camp] I felt okay —  but I knew I wasn’t there yet. But it came pretty quickly. I’m really happy about that.”

*Julien also noted some enlightening video sessions with some of his players over the last couple of days, and perhaps a few light bulb moments with a host of Bruins skaters that simply weren’t putting in a full day’s work on the ice. Some members of the B’s dressing are fond of saying that there are no passengers on the Bruins’ bus, and any unwanted passengers were put on notice up on the video screen by their Jack Adams trophy-winning coach.

“Some guys are trying to do too much. Some guys aren’t doing enough,” said Julien. “It doesn’t mean those guys that aren’t doing enough think that they’re not doing enough. That’s why you show those guys video, and — like anybody else and I know I’m that way — it’s a lot clearer when you see it.

“I know there are a lot of guys that walk out of there wide-eyed and say ‘Wow, I didn’t know how bad I was’ or ‘I didn’t know that I wasn’t working that hard.’ So now you’ve got their attention.”

*Dennis Wideman didn’t practice with the team Wednesday and remains “day to day” with a left shoulder injury, according to Julien. There’s been no determination made about his availability for the weekend road trip to Dallas and Phoenix, but he shouldn’t miss more than a maximum of those two road games. If Wideman can’t make the trip, it’s likely that B’s GM Peter Chiarelli will call for reinforcements at Providence.

“If he misses the weekend then that’s probably the most [he would miss]. ‘If’ that’s the case” said Julien of Wideman.

*And finally, courtesy of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy, your moment of hockey zen. That is a filthy mini 1-on-1 move. Can’t wait to hear Tom Caron describe it.

Read More: Claude Julien, Dennis Wideman, Marco Sturm,
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