You’ve just got to watch this to believe it … defenseman Mark Stuart and some of his Boston Bruins teammates rocking out at Sunday’s Wives Carnival.
WILMINGTON — Although thebruinsblog.net proved that he cannot be passed in the race to be the Eastern Conference All-Star head coach, Boston Bruins bench boss Claude Julien declined comment on the matter today after his team’s practice at Ristuccia Arena.
“Not officially,” Julien defiantly said when asked his reaction to coaching the All-Stars. “There’s no announcement, I’m not talking about it.”
The coach is selected based on the team with the best points percentage after games of Jan. 10 and no team in the East can catch Julien and the Bruins. The game will be played in Montreal Jan. 25.
WILMINGTON — Although defenseman Aaron Ward did not practice with the Boston Bruins today at Ristuccia Arena, there was good news on the veteran from head coach Claude Julien.
“Aaron’s actually doing a lot better. It was a mild charley horse; his motion of range today was pretty good,” Julien said after his team’s one-hour practice.
The coach also added that Ward will try to take the morning skate with the club tomorrow at TD Banknorth Garden and then determine his status.
Elsewhere on the Bruins blue line, Andrew Ference — out since mid-November with a broken foot — left practice with about 10 minutes to go and did not participate in the 1-on-1 center-ice battle drill. Julien said it was just a precautionary departure and Ference is still day-to-day.
Julien also said that he’s crossed paths with Patrice Bergeron (concussion) since the center started his light biking. Julien described his own attitude about Bergeron’s return as cautiously optimistic.
“He’s feeling better and every day I talk to him it seems to be going on the positive side. I’m just a little cautious because those kind of injuries, sometimes there’s setbacks and we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves and make some big comments and then there’s a setback. Right now, all I can say is it’s going in the right direction,” Julien said.
The Bruins expect Bergeron to make himself available to the media for the first time since last month’s concussion some time over the next week or so.
WILMINGTON — The Boston Bruins are on the Ristuccia Arena ice at this hour going through the first of their practice drills without defenseman Aaron Ward.
Ward left Saturday night’s game with Buffalo in the second period with what head coach Claude Julien said after the game was a “slight charley horse.” So far, there have been no updates on the veteran blueliner. I hope to get one today.
Everyone else that’s healthy is on the ice, with the forward lines the same from Saturday (with Petteri Nokelainen mixing in the with the fourth-liners) and the D pairs feature Mark Stuart/Zdeno Chara, Matt Hunwick/Dennis Wideman, Andrew Ference/Shane Hnidy, with Matt Lashoff the extra.
It stands to reason that in a week when something unlikely happened — an actual Boston Bruins regulation loss for the first time since Dec. 10 — an unlikely player should have a solid all-around week.
Defensive stalwart P.J. Axelsson potted one goal, assisted on three others and posted a plus-2 rating in three games for the week ending today — solid enough numbers to earn him the Bruin of the Week title.
While Axelsson, like most of his teammates, was quiet during the club’s loss to Buffalo Saturday, the forward made plenty of noise during the team’s two victories. He notched two assists, including one on the go-ahead power-play goal by Zdeno Chara, in the win at Pittsburgh Tuesday. And then back home he scored the go-ahead goal (albeit by awkwardly sticking the puck out of the air into the net) Thursday against the Penguins.
Other contenders for the title were defenseman Dennis Wideman (1-3-4, plus-3) and center Marc Savard (2-4-6, plus-2).
Boston Bruins general Peter Chiarelli had no update on the status of defenseman Aaron Ward today. Ward left Saturday’s game one shift into the second period after he hit Buffalo center Matt Ellis. Head coach Claude Julien called the injury a “slight charley horse” after the game. Chiarelli said the club should have more info Monday.
Chiarelli also reiterated what he said about winger Marco Sturm in a published report today — the veteran will have knee surgery soon. Sturm has been out since he last played Dec. 18. When asked about the seriousness of the injury, Chiarelli would only say, “He’s going to have surgery and when it happens we’ll give you an update.”
As for the report that center Patrice Bergeron, out since Dec. 20 with a concussion, is doing light exercise and riding the bike, Chiarelli confirmed that the biking has taken place both at TD Banknorth Garden and Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington — a good sign for Bergeron because he’s been able to get out and about. As for the next step on his road to returning from his second concussion in as many seasons, Chiarelli said that there’s a protocol in place — as there is for all head injuries — but at the end of the day the team defers to the feelings of the player.
When Bergeron begins to feel able, he’ll have to do “activity at a certain heartbeat rate for a certain period of time over a certain number of days. And then there’s a certain period (he has) to be symptom-free,” according to Chiarelli.
One loss by the Boston Bruins after a 10-game winning streak isn’t going to derail the club’s season. And the defeat to Buffalo Saturday also didn’t cost head coach Claude Julien a personal accolade, as after a brief crunch of the numbers thebruinsblog.net can confirm that the Bruins’ bench boss will be behind the Eastern Conference All-Star Team bench in Montreal Jan. 25.
The coach of the team in each conference with the best points percentage after games of Jan. 10 will earn the nod. The Bruins currently sit with 62 points through 39 games, and they have three games in the week ahead. Even if they lose all three, they’d have accumulated 62 of a possible 84 points for a percentage of .7381.
The closest competitor, Washington, has 55 points in its 40 games. The Caps also have just three games on this week’s docket — and wins in those games would give them 61 of a possible 86 for a percentage of just .7093.
The NHL will make an official announcement after those Jan. 10 games. (more…)
The Boston Bruins produced a respectable one goal in five power-play opportunities during their 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres today at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, but that didn’t stop head coach Claude Julien from switching guys around in an effort to get things going in Boston’s favor.
By the time the Bruins were on their last man-advantage of the afternoon, the first power-play unit featured Chuck Kobasew up front with regular first-unit forward Marc Savard and P.J. Axelsson.
Julien was asked if he made the move because of something Kobasew had done to earn it or something someone else did to deserve a demotion. (more…)
BOSTON — This is what it’s come to with the Boston Bruins.
Even when their 10-game overall winning streak and 14-game run of home dominance ends in a 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, they don’t go down in flames — they go down fighting
It’s a tribute to the current band of Black and Gold-wearing skaters that their ‘B’ or even ‘C’ game can keep them within striking distance and a bounce here or there of grabbing a point in the standings (if not two).
Even after losing today at TD Banknorth Garden, the Bruins are 11-3-2 when they allow the first goal (.688 winning percentage). Without an even-strength point from their second or third line, the Bruins still mustered enough offense (including a goal by tough guy Shawn Thornton) to climb back from two goals to one goal down twice. And it took a career offensive night from Buffalo fourth-line center Matt Ellis (two goals, one assist) and a couple fortunate bounces in front of Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas to lift the Sabres over the Eastern Conference leaders. (more…)
BOSTON — Boston Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward left today’s 4-2 loss to Buffalo at TD Banknorth Garden after skating just one shift in the second period due to a “slight Charley horse,” according to head coach Claude Julien.
Julien added that Ward was being examined and the team will know more in the days ahead. The club is off for its Wives Carnival Sunday.
Ward seemingly was injured when he checked Buffalo forward Matt Ellis in the corner on a shift that ended with Ellis scoring his second goal of the game. Previously this season, the 35-year-old Ward missed 10 games with a leg injury.
MK: Well, Ward is a big part of this Bruins team, but with Andrew Ference coming back this week the Bruins could afford to give Ward some time off to recuperate.
The Boston Bruins’ 10-game winning streak overall and home 14-game winning streak both ended today against the Buffalo Sabres at TD Banknorth Garden.
You can read the game story on Yahoo!
In addition, center David Krejci (10 games) and defenseman Dennis Wideman (4 games) had their personal points streaks end.
BOSTON — Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien confirmed this morning that defenseman Andrew Ference and forward Petteri Nokelainen, in their continued attempt to return from injury, skated this morning and will not play this afternoon against the Buffalo Sabres at TD Banknorth Garden.
Defenseman Matt Lashoff joined the rehabbing duo, so the blueliner will be a healthy scratch as well. Expect the Bruins to have the same line-up they twice beat Pittsburgh with this week when they skate against the Sabres.
UPDATE (12:35 p.m.): Tim Thomas will be the Bruins’ starting goaltender, opposed by Ryan Miller for Buffalo. The Bruins are in their alternate black sweaters. And the forward lines and D pairs, as of warm-ups, are the same as Thursday night.
The Boston Bruins’ penalty kill has been on a roll — having blanked the oppositions’ power plays over each of the last five games heading into today’s showdown with Buffalo at the TD Banknorth Garden.
The kill is a perfect 20-for-20 over that stretch. But the killers aren’t just getting the job done in their own zone, they’re also putting the heat on with offensive pressure. In the last two weeks Blake Wheeler and Martin St. Pierre have netted shorthanded goals for the Bruins. And Wheeler and David Krejci have formed a dangerous duo that clears the zone with ease and then can make things happen at the other end.
“It’s trying to find ice time sometimes for players, and putting them in positions again that they can help your hockey club,” head coach Claude Julien recently said about Krejci and Wheeler getting time on the PK. “And they’ve just seemed to build pretty good chemistry where they do a pretty good job of killing penalties. But they’re also, every game so far lately, they’ve been a threat 4-on-5. They get the puck out and they get some scoring chances as well.”
Although it ranks just 11th overall in the NHL on the season, the Buffalo power play comes into today’s game at TD Banknorth Garden on a bit of a roll and will provide a stiff test for Boston’s red-hot penalty kill.
The Sabres have scored a power-play goal in seven straight games and are 9-for-30 over that stretch. Of course, Buffalo hasn’t always turned a hot power play into W’s, as the Sabres are also just 3-2-2 over that time. (more…)
The Buffalo Sabres, the Boston Bruins’ opponent for a Garden matinee Saturday, have been flip flopping with Carolina in the eighth and ninth spots in the Eastern Conference for the better part of the last two weeks.
But that doesn’t mean that they’re any less dangerous than they were earlier in the season when many had them pegged as Northeast Division title contenders and even handed the Bruins a shootout loss in October.
“Obviously, they’re fighting for a playoff spot,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said after practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington today. “They’re right in there in the mix. They’ve played us pretty well this year so far. And they’re a team that makes it hard for you to break out of your own end; they’re very aggressive. They’ll pinch the walls. So anything you want to do along the walls, you’re going to be in a battle. … I think they’re probably a team right now that feels – and rightfully so – that they should in a higher mix than the bottom spots. But as some point they’re going to find their groove and you just hope it’s not against your team.”