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Posted On Friday, 05.13.2011 / 3:42 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

No change in Bergeron's status

It's been a full week since Patrice Bergeron suffered his concussion, on a hit from Philadelphia's Claude Giroux in Game 4 of the last round.

However, there remains no timetable for his return, according to Boston coach Claude Julien, who addressed Bergeron's condition after Friday's practice, the final one before Boston begins the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay, with Game 1 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC, RDS).
"I think he's improving, he really is improving," Julien said. "We're optimistic about him. As Peter (Chiarelli, GM) said, we knew he was going to miss the start of the series, and how much he is going to miss I can't tell you right now. But he is on the right track and we're staying positive.

"Again, I say that every day. I'm not going to say much more because when it comes to concussions, you have good news and you have setbacks and you have all kinds of things that can happen. I'm not going to stand here and change my tune every day except to tell you that right now that's going in the right direction."

Bergeron has not been back on the ice since the hit in Game 4 of the Philadelphia series. Once he is cleared to practice, it likely will take several days before he is allowed to play in a game.
Posted On Thursday, 05.05.2011 / 2:53 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Kampfer returns to practice for Bruins

There was a new face at Boston's light practice Thursday at TD Garden, defenseman Steve Kampfer.

The rookie was skating with the Bruins for the first time since injuring his knee on April 9, while playing for the American Hockey League's Providence Bruins.

"It's good to get back out there. It's been a long couple of weeks sitting by and watching, but it's good to get back out there skating, and skating with the guys especially," Kampfer said after practice. "It's definitely a perk. It's moving ahead, but it's always slow at this time."

And while Boston might still be in the market for a sixth defenseman after the injury to Adam McQuaid in Game 2 -- replacement Shane Hnidy played less than three minutes in Game 3 -- don’t expect to see Kampfer in the lineup.

"We had no contact in our drills, so [Thursday] was a very good skate for him. We're moving forward as we're being told by our medical staff," coach Claude Julien said Thursday. "He's looking better every day, so we just have to stay with it, but he's not ready."

Speaking of McQuaid, the defenseman did not skate for the third-straight day after injuring his neck in Game 2. But Julien said McQuaid is making significant progress.

"He is definitely getting better," Julien said. "I know we are still saying day-to-day, but there is improvement in him. We are getting very optimistic things are going to happen quicker. Right now, we are just keeping our fingers crossed. He seems to be doing well and, hopefully, we will have better news here in the next few days."

Even with the newfound optimism, there is no expectation McQuaid will recover sufficiently to play in Game 4, especially with Boston holding a 3-0 lead in the series. That means Hnidy will once again be in the lineup.

Despite using Hnidy for less than three minutes in Game 3, Julien said Thursday that he has full confidence in the veteran, who has just four games of experience this season.

"We definitely have confidence in him," Julien said. "We also understand he hasn't played much this year. Right now, the guys we had in our lineup last night were able to share our ice time last night. But having him as a sixth defenseman is something we are certainly comfortable with."

Posted On Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 11:25 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Boston's McQuaid travels home with team

Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid, knocked out of Game 2 after a scary collision with the end boards in the first period of Game 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday at the Wells Fargo Center, was released from the hospital and made the trip back to Boston with the team, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

"He's coming back with us," Bruins coach Claude Julien told the Globe. "So that's a good sign in itself."

McQuaid was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia after the incident, at the 17:38 mark of the first period, and he remained there several hours for observation. On the play that led to the injury, McQuaid tried to throw a big check on Flyers captain Mike Richards near the Boston goal and missed, launching himself awkwardly into the end boards, where he struck head first before crumpling onto the ice.

He remained on the ice for several minutes before being helped off the playing surface by teammates Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic.

Boston was forced to play the rest of the game with just five defensemen. Because of overtime, the workloads became significant.

Dennis Seidenberg played a game-high 36:26 and Chara played 31:35. Johnny Boychuk played almost 29 minutes and Andrew Ference was just short of 28 minutes. Tomas Kaberle played just under 20 minutes. McQuaid played just 4:04 before leaving the game.

McQuaid's status for Game 3 Wednesday (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC) is unknown, although it should be updated Tuesday following the Bruins' practice.

Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 2:33 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Chara feeling much better

Zdeno Chara was actively involved throughout Wednesday's practice at lake PLacid and showed no lingering effects from the dehydration issues that ruled him out of Game 2.

Chara played in Monday's Game 3, a 4-2 win by Boston, and played a bit more than 26 minutes. He had an assist, blocked three shots and doled out three hits. And, it appears two days of rest here in Lake Placid have only made Chara stronger on the eve of Thursday's game 4 at the Bell Centre

"I'm feeling much better," Chara said after Thursday's practice.

Chara's improvement hasn't escaped the attention of his teammates either.

"The other day, when they pulled him out of the game, he looked like he was going to die any second," defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. "I think he's totally recovered and he looks fine to me."
Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 2:14 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Recchi: Belief will fuel comeback

Five years ago, Boston forward Mark Recchi, then with the Carolina Hurricanes, opened the playoffs with two-straight home-ice losses to the Montreal Canadiens. Yet, two months later, Recchi was lifting the Stanley Cup, having overcome that disastrous start.

This season, Recchi watched his Bruins fall into an 0-2 hole against the Canadiens – again with both losses at home – and felt all the same disappointments before remembering how Carolina turned that playoff-opening adversity into a pathway to a championship.

Does he see similarities with the Bruins now that they have a Game 3 victory under their belt against the Canadiens and have, at least, forced themselves back into the series.

"If we win tomorrow, maybe we'll see some similarities," Recchi said, laughing. "It's still a long road ahead. Obviously, me being through something like that, you can talk to the guys about it. It's been done, it can be done. But, there is a lot of work to do. We have to stay focused. "

Recchi believes the key to engineering a comeback from such long odds has less to do with tactical changes than it does with the consistency of the team's mindset.

In 2006, Recchi joined the team, through trade, with about 20 games left in the season. He says his first impression was how united the team was in its belief. That unity, he says, rescued the Hurricanes when things started off so poorly.

"It's all about believing and believing in what we have done all year and believing in each other and trusting what we have done all year and trusting each other;  that's what it comes down to," Recchi said. "If we don't trust each other, we wouldn't have won Game 3.

"Now we have to believe in each other more than ever tomorrow and trust in each other that everyone is going to go out there and play a good game and do the right things for the hockey club like we have all year. If we do that, then we put ourselves in a good position to win a hockey game. If not, then we will make it very hard for ourselves."
Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 1:16 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Kelly sent home for further evaluation

Boston forward Chris Kelly was sent home to be examined by the team's doctors for a possible facial fracture, according to Bruins coach Claude Julien.

"He just went back to Boston (Wednesday) to see our doctors today and make sure everything is OK and we anticipate him back in Montreal with us tonight," Julien said. "Everything's alright, according to what we know. There might be a fracture, but it’s nothing that would prevent him from playing."

Kelly was hurt in Game 3 when Scott Gomez knocked him down and Kelly fell face-first into the goal post. The Bruins forward finished the game -- even scoring the empty-net goal that sealed Boston's 4-2 victory.

If Kelly can't play in Tuesday's Game 4, it appears rookie Tyler Seguin will be drafted into the lineup. During Wednesday's practice at Lake Placid, Seguin and Jamie Arniel took turns in his spot during line rushes. Seguin has far more experience this season, having spent the whole year with the team.

Seguin, a healthy scratch in the first three playoff games, had 11 goals and 11 assists in 74 regular-season games.
Posted On Monday, 04.18.2011 / 1:16 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 ECQF: Philadelphia-Buffalo Live Blog

Leopold could play in Game 3

Buffalo News writer Bucky Gleason is reporting that Sabres defenseman Jordan Leopold could return for Monday's Game 3.

Leopold, who tops all Buffalo defensemen with 13 goals, suffered a broken hand on March 25 and has not played since. He has been skating with the team for a little more than a week and was expected back on April 22.

If he is able to return, Leopold should be a huge boost to the Sabres' power play.
Posted On Saturday, 04.16.2011 / 11:19 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Julien: Chara should play

Despite being treated at the hospital for dehydration Friday night, Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara is expected to be in the lineup for Saturday's Game 2 at TD Garden

"Until our medical staff tells us he can't go, he's in tonight," Boston coach Claude Julien said Saturday morning after the team's optional morning skate.

The team announced Saturday morning that Chara was treated at a local hospital for dehydration, confirming a story first published by the Boston Herald.

Otherwise, they were very tightlipped about the status of their No. 1 defenseman.

Many of his teammates did not even find out that Chara was hospitalized until they arrived at TD Garden Saturday's morning skate.

Yet, they believed, to a man, that Chara will be in the lineup Saturday night for Game 2 of the best-of-7 series.

"I'll be surprised if he's not in the lineup," center Patrice Bergeron said

Chara skated in Friday's practice after playing a game-high 25 minutes and six seconds in Thursday's Game 1. He was, not, however, his usual dominating self. Several times, Montreal forwards beat him wide with speed in the attacking zone and he lost more puck battles than usual.

His absence, if the doctors hold him back, would be a huge hit to the Bruins, who need to win to avoid heading to Montreal in an 0-2 hole.

Posted On Saturday, 04.16.2011 / 10:32 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Chara hospitalized for dehydration

According to a report in Saturday's Boston Herald, Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara spent Friday night in the hospital, receiving fluids to battle dehydration.

Boston spokesman Matt Chmura confirmed that Chara was in the hospital and is still being evaluated by Boston's medical personnel. His status for Saturday night's Game 2 is yet to be determined.

Chara skated in Friday's practice after playing a game-high 25 minutes and six seconds in Thursday's Game 1. He was, not, however, his usual dominating self. Several times, Montreal forwards beat him wide with speed in the attacking zone and he lost more puck battles than usual.

Posted On Friday, 04.15.2011 / 11:22 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Sopel willing to pay any price to win

With Montreal's defense ravaged by injuries throughout the season, GM Pierre Gauthier was on the lookout for reinforcements throughout the season.

Brent Sopel was one of his targets; coveted for both his presence in the defensive zone and his championship pedigree after winning a Stanley Cup this past season with Chicago.

Gauthier was able to land his man in late February and the hard-nosed vet is already paying dividends. Thursday night, in Montreal's Game 1 victory against Boston, Sopel was at the vanguard of his team's shot-blocking commitment. The Canadiens blocked 19 shots and Sopel shared the team lead with fellow defenseman James Wisniewski. Each player had 4 blocks.

"It's playoff time," Sopel said. "Everyone is battling for one another and sacrificing. I've always said that blocking shots hurt, but if a puck hits me it is not going into the net. That is what you have to do is block shots and play solid defensively."

Sopel proved his point in the third period, splaying out to block a dangerous shot from Boston defenseman Andrew Ference.  

"Like I said about sacrificing to win, I'll do that; I'll drop in front of anything," Sopel continued. "Pricey is there for us and I am there for him. We all are. It was just one of those things, a bang-bang play. He has a shot and I am going to be lucky to get my body on it."

Price certainly appreciates the willingness of those around him to sacrifice their well-being for the greater good.

"I could mention everyone on our hockey team," Price said. "From Andrei Kostitsyn to Brent Sopel; everyone is willing to sacrifice the body for the team."

Price says he tries to let his teammates know how much he appreciates their efforts after each block, but he was extra demonstrative after the block by Sopel on Ference.

"I let him know every time he blocks a shot," Price said. "When I have guys that are willing to sacrifice any part of their body to keep the puck out of the net and from reaching me, I'll let them know for sure. That is encouraging and is good for our hockey team."

Sopel is happy for the acknowledgment from his goalie, but insists he is just doing the job for which he was imported into the organization two months ago.

"Price and I have connected pretty well from day one," Sopel said. "I sacrifice my body in front of the puck and he enjoys that. He is thankful for that. That is how we win. We haven't talked about it but I'm sure later on we will have a laugh."
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Quote of the Day

It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
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