|Claude Julien on Andrew Ference decision: ‘We’re not there yet’||05.28.13 at 5:50 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Andrew Ference skated for a fifth day on Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena, but for the first time with this teammates as he looks to come back from a left foot injury.
Ference was spotted walking with a walking boot on his left foot last Saturday during Game 5 of the series against the Rangers. But according to Ference, he had already been testing the health of the foot on the ice before then.
Ference injured the foot in Game 5 of the opening round against the Maple Leafs on May 10. He has not played in a game since.
“There’s no schedule,” Ference said after Tuesday’s skate, in which he was paired with defenseman Aaron Johnson. “It’s just a matter of go when you can go. I don’t think everything was ever put on a calendar. I think it was day-to-day the whole time, wasn’t it? That’s the way I’ve always viewed it.
“The last couple of days I had great skates. Today was the fifth day on the ice so it’s been really good. Obviously, it’s different when you get other guys on the ice and can actually practice. But to have four days completely on your own to do ‘Hockey School’, it’s nice, it really is. It’s kind of actually rare to get that kind of ice time to do exactly what you need. It’s beneficial.”
Ference said he’s been in a good position since he hasn’t felt rushed to return to a situation where he might not be 100 percent.
“You have help from other people when you’re dealing with something but at the end of the day, nobody knows who you feel except you. You’re not going to put yourself in a position you’re not ready for,” Ference said.
As for coach Claude Julien, he sidestepped questions about whether Ference, a leading penalty-killer for the Bruins, would earn his spot back when declared healthy and ready to go. Ference would likely nab the spot of Matt Bartkowski at this point, with Dennis Seidenberg already supplanting Dougie Hamilton last Saturday in Game 5 against the Rangers.
“You know what? We're not there yet and until we're there, I'm not answering those questions,” Julien said Tuesday. “It's like we're trying to get ahead of everything here. We're not even close to starting a series. We'll let him skate a little bit with us and see how he does. When the times comes, I'll be more than happy to make that tough decision.
“It's a good sign that he's practicing with us. I don't know. Again, it's a medical issue that unless the trainers say it's a go ' sometimes he may be ready, but could be a risky kind of ready. We'll wait and see what our trainers say and how Andrew [Ference] feels, as well, before we make any decision on him.”
WILMINGTON — Claude Julien has instilled a certain attitude with his Bruins.
Play fearless hockey in the playoffs and see what happens.
That’s why he was happy to hear how Tuukka Rask responded when asked about the big load he will carry into the series against the high-powered Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals.
Rask said that he expects to carry a big load and always goes into a series thinking he is the best goalie. That attitude also matches what the experts are saying. If the Bruins are going to have a chance of upsetting the Penguins, Rask will need to play to his level and maybe above.
Rask is considered by all experts as the superior netminder in this series, far and above the likes of Tomas Vokoun and Marc-Andre Fleury.
“I think he answered it right because I’m one of those guys where you have to relish the challenges,” Julien said Tuesday as the Bruins returned to the ice as a team for the first time since eliminating the Rangers on Saturday evening. “You can’t fear them. Bring it on. And that’s what he’s telling you right now, ‘Bring it on. I’m ready for it.’ That’s what our whole team’s demeanor is going to be is like, ‘Hey, we know it’s a big challenge. Bring it on.’ We’re ready for it. We’ll give it everything we have and hopefully, that’ll be enough to win a series.
“I think there’s two teams here that know what’s at stake. They’re going to bring their best at us, and we’re hopefully going to do the same thing to them. And we know how we play and we know how they play and it’s going to be a matter of just seeing how it pans out.”
|Bruins notes from Friday: Up-tempo practice as Dennis Seidenberg, Wade Redden pick it up||05.24.13 at 5:43 pm ET|
The Bruins took to the TD Garden ice for a 30-minute up-tempo, intense practice after coach Claude Julien and players admitted that their effort was there on Thursday night but not their execution.
Friday was an effort, even after a tough overtime loss, to pick up the intensity level for Saturday afternoon’s 5:30 start against the Rangers, with yet another chance to close out the series in Game 5.
“It was just a good flow, good practice,” David Krejci said. “Hard and short. We don’t know what’s going to happen [Saturday] morning but it’s kind of an odd time for the game, 5:30. We’re just taking it day-by-day and we felt that, and the coaches felt the same way, that we needed to go out there for a short, hard practice. And we did that. Now, we’re just going to focus on [Saturday].”
Krejci wasn’t overly critical of his teammates and their well-documented mistakes in Game 4 that caused them to blow a 2-0 lead and lose the game in overtime.
“It was an OK game,” he said. “There were chances on both sides but the game is behind us now. They won in OT. [Saturday] is a new game and we’re going to do everything we can to get over it.”
All Bruins were accounted for except defenseman Andrew Ference, out with a lower body injury. Dennis Seidenberg (lower body) and Wade Redden (unspecified) skated together as a D-pair Friday and have been skating all week with the team. There’s a sense that Seidenberg could return on Saturday in place of Dougie Hamilton or Matt Bartkowski. Seidenberg hasn’t played since injuring himself on the second shift of Game 7 against Toronto on May 13.
“I felt comfortable out there today,” Seidenberg said. “But again it’s a decision where I have to talk to them first. We’ll see. They’re going to ask me a couple of a questions and go from there.
Seidenberg said he is itching to get back on the ice.
“Really bad,” Seidenberg said of his desire to return. “No one likes watching hockey games, especially around this time of year, so hopefully I get back in there soon, and hopefully can help.”
Seidenberg watched from upstairs Thursday night as the Bruins failed to close out Game 4.
“We know we played a good game,” Seidenberg said. “A couple of hiccups there but for the most part, we put a lot of pucks on the nets, had quite a few chances, especially on the power play so we know we could’ve won it. We just have to stick in the moment and try to win the next one.
“Every game we want to finish with the win, especially being up 3-1, it would be nice to finish it off but again, we have to play a good game first because they have the momentum now.”
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez gave us the “Butt Fumble” against the Patriots last Thanksgiving. Tuukka Rask gave us the “Butt Stumble” right across the Hudson River from MetLife Stadium Thurday night.
Say this much for Rask: He has a lot of patience with repetitive questions from reporters and he has a good sense of humor.
Both were on display Friday after practice at TD Garden as he was peppered with more questions about Thursday’s “Butt Stumble on Broadway” and the Bruins losing Game 4 in overtime just like they did three years ago when the collapse began in Philadelphia.
“I don’t even want to compare,” Rask said when asked whether the bizarre loss in overtime in Game 4 Thursday night reminded him of 2010. “It’s a totally different team. We beat Philly out the next year, 4-0. We won the Cup. Lots of things have happened. As we’ve said all along, we don’t like to look in the past or too much ahead. We like to live in the moment and focus on the task.”
And as for the blooper of all hockey bloopers this season?
“I think you either decide to cry about it or have a sense of humor about it and that’s it,” Rask said. “You just have to move on. You let in goals and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what kind of goals you let in, it’s still a goal. Some days it sucks to be a goalie.”
Rask lost an edge and fell backwards in the second period Thursday night, allowing Carl Hagelin‘s weak backhander to slide past him and into the net to cut Boston’s 2-0 lead in half.
“Yeah, I saw it. I saw it many times in my head, too,” Rask said. “I mean, you can either cry about it or laugh about it and I decided it’s better to have a sense of humor and laugh about it. Tough break, those happen. But to be honest, I think throughout the years I’ve been pretty good in making those ‘Not-so Top 10 lists’ so there we are again.”
Enough of the funny business. As for the serious business of getting ready for Game 5 Saturday night, Rask said he liked what he saw at the 30-minute up-tempo practice Friday at TD Garden.
“Absolutely,” Rask said. “It’s been a few days since we had a full team practice on an off day and today we just want to make everybody’s minds are in the right place and we’re making crisp passes and executing the plays and keeping it short and sharp, and that’s what it was.”
Does he wish he could play right away and not wait until Saturday?
“No, no. I’ll take my rest,” Rask said.
Claude Julien has been happy with his power play unit in this series, that is when the Bruins actually get a power play.
He made that much perfectly clear on Friday after practice as his team prepares for another chance to wrap up the series against the Rangers in Game 5 at TD Garden Saturday evening.
The Bruins were 2-for-4 on the power play Thursday in the Game 4 loss to the Rangers, with one of the two misses actually resulting in a goal as Tyler Seguin scored his first goal this postseason as a penalty was expiring in the third period. The Bruins didn’t get a single power play in Game 3 and had only one in Game 2. Boston is 3-for-9 in this playoff series while the Rangers are now 1-for-14 on the man-advantage.
With Nathan Horton and Torey Krug scoring on the power play Thursday night, is Julien pleased that his power play is making the most of its chances?
“Well, yeah especially the lack of them that we've had in this series,” Julien said. “It was nice to see us score a couple of goals. It's been tough. It's a good thing we're a good five on five team and that we've managed to win hockey games, but last night two for four, and certainly it could have been three for four I guess two seconds after the power play ended, so our power play did a good job of producing and whenever you can count on that it's always a bonus.
Other notes from Friday’s practice:
The Bruins skated hard for 30 minutes in an up-tempo, early afternoon practice on the TD Garden ice. All players were present and accounted for except for Andrew Ference, who is still nursing a lower body injury that has kept him out since Game 5 in the first round. Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden were the fourth defensive pairs to skate in drills Friday. Julien kept his defensive pairings the same, with Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton leading the way, followed by Johnny Boychuk and Matt Bartkowski and then Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug. There were no changes on the lines either as Tyler Seguin remains on the third line with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.
“I think it was one of those practices today where you wanted to get a good sweat, knowing it's an early game tomorrow, or afternoon game,” Julien said of the odd 5:30 p.m. start time on Saturday afternoon. “And we just want to make sure we're ready for tomorrow.”
|Claude Julien on Game 4 OT loss: ‘There’s no panic here’||at 12:34 am ET|
NEW YORK — There were no Jekyll and Hyde comments from Claude Julien after his team blew a 2-0 lead in the second period and lost a potential series-clinching Game 4 to the Rangers in overtime, 4-3.
To the Bruins coach, Thursday’s loss wasn’t a matter of being outworked, just sloppiness, puck-watching and a lack of execution.
“There’s no panic here,” Julien assured everyone afterward. “Had we been outworked and not been there at all, I’d be talking differently here. But we didn’t get outworked. All it was, our team didn’t execute as well as we have been lately. We have to go home and play a better game. But our work ethic was there. The things we did extremely well weren’t that easy tonight.”
Julien was asked about the bizarre two goals scored by New York on mistakes by Tuukka Rask (falling down) and Zdeno Chara (getting picked behind the net) and how those goals erased the 2-0 lead and allowed the Broadway Blues back in the game.
“I don’t know if it was the momentum that shifted more than … I felt we didn’t get outworked but we didn’t play as well as we could’ve throughout the whole game, even after the first period we talked about it,” Julien said.
“But the other thing is when you give them two gift goals, eventually it’s going to hurt. So, that’s what happened. We have a 2-0 lead there and it’s looks good. But then [get] unlucky and it’s a goal and it’s gives them life again. But at the end of the day, it’s pretty simple, didn’t play well enough, not outworked. We competed as hard as they did but we didn’t execute as well as we can.”
Rask falling down, Chara getting stripped and too many men on the ice all were mistakes that added up to disaster for the Bruins on Thursday.
“I think Tuukka did the job he had to do and just Z got stripped,” Julien said. “Again, it’s a mistake, but as we often say, how many does he repair versus how many does he cost. At the end of the day, those two goals certainly hurt us.”
On the Rangers’ power-play goal, their first of the series and just third in 41 tries in the playoffs, the Bruins allowed Brian Boyle to get deep into the slot with no one covering him and score with 10 minutes left to force overtime.
“We’re 3-2 and the power-play goal [happens] and it’s a mistake on our part. We’re puck-watching. We felt we were puck-watching, allowing Boyle to get into the slot for an easy shot. We were a little sloppy. We weren’t as crisp as we have been in past games. Eventually, they came back and found a way to win this hockey game.”
|Tuukka Rask: ‘We gave them a couple of gifts’||05.23.13 at 11:32 pm ET|
NEW YORK — It was the blooper that will live in infamy.
Tuukka Rask lost an edge and then his balance and fell over at exactly the wrong time, allowing Carl Hagelin to score and cut Boston’s 2-0 lead in half with 11:21 left in the second period. Hagelin shook off Johnny Boychuk just enough to flip a backhander on net that Rask would’ve normally turned aside without any fanfare. But he fell backward.
“I took a step to the side,” Rask explained. “There was what I think was a skate mark or something. That’s what it felt like. I lost my balance and the rest is history.
“Happens maybe twice a year in practice. Focus, got to be more focused, I think. Just a tough mistake. Looks pretty bad on TV. Just sloppy, I think. It kind of freezes you, and you still have a second to decide whether you’re going to scramble with the paddle down or just try to wrap your way around. Just awful.”
Rask was burned again on another bizarre goal when Derek Stepan stripped the puck from captain Zdeno Chara while Rask was still settling into his crease. Stepan wrapped around a shot into a vacated net and the game was tied 2-2, early in the third period.
“Nothing,” Rask said of what he saw on that goal. “We tried to wheel it [out of the defensive zone]. A guy surprised us and I couldn’t do anything, didn’t see anything. We gave them a couple of gifts, obviously. That’s, at the end of the day, what costs us a lot of energy, a couple of leads and the game.
“It’s a game of mistakes. Every team makes mistakes, every player makes mistakes and you just have to learn from them and move forward. I don’t think a couple of mistakes are going to make us a bad hockey team. It’s just what happens sometimes and you just have to shake it off and move on.”
The Bruins and Rangers would exchange goals, including the Bruins getting burned yet again for too many men on the ice in a playoff game. The game went to overtime before Chris Kreider finished a perfect pass from Rick Nash by netting the game-winner at 7:03 of extra time.
“I thought that was the best goal of the night for them,” Rask said. “That was a really good goal. A really good tip. I could’ve had it but I couldn’t get there. Can’t blame myself too much.”
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