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Posted On Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 12:48 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Eriksson, Iginla set to debut for Bruins vs. Lightning

BOSTON -- It's finally time for the Boston Bruins to unleash their much-hyped offseason acquisitions Thursday, as the Bruins will host the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden in the season opener for both clubs.

Loui Eriksson and Jarome Iginla are scheduled to make their debuts with Boston and play on the lines they were projected to skate with in the summer, and played with all through training camp. Eriksson will line up with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, while Iginla will skate with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Bruins coach Claude Julien said Krejci, who recently missed time with back spasms, will be in against the Lightning.

It'll be important for the Bruins' new top two lines to forge early chemistry.

"I think we feel pretty good out there," Eriksson said after the Bruins' morning skate. "We've been having lot of practices together and we played a few [preseason] games together too. So I think everyone is excited to get going here and start playing."

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Posted On Friday, 09.13.2013 / 1:24 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Bruins captain Chara talks Stanley Cup controversy

BOSTON -- Although the Boston Bruins' run to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final made for an abbreviated offseason, Zdeno Chara's summer mostly was uneventful.

The 36-year-old defenseman said he stuck to his same offseason workout regimen, despite rehabilitating a hip-pointer injury. He still refuses to speak about the injury or admit it hindered his performance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Chara also mixed in plenty of family time and a brief vacation in Florida. However, even when relaxing Chara couldn't escape a little modern-day controversy. As a devoted friend to and Slovakian Olympic teammate of Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa, Chara agreed to attend his countryman's Cup championship celebration party.

No one should think that Chara completely enjoyed that experience.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 4:02 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Bruins' Julien puts new faces on top two lines

BOSTON – Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien wasted no time inserting his club's new additions onto the lines they've been projected by many to join since the summer.

Julien had Loui Eriksson, who was acquired from the Dallas Stars in the Tyler Seguin trade, skate with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, in Seguin's old spot, in the first practice session of the first on-ice day of training camp Thursday at TD Garden.

Jarome Iginla, who was signed as a free agent to replace Nathan Horton, skated alongside center David Krejci and Milan Lucic in the second session.

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Posted On Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 3:38 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Bruins' Campbell on ice for first time since broken leg

BOSTON -- A few weeks of skating on his own and a couple days participating in informal skates with his teammates couldn't tell Gregory Campbell if he was ready to go all-out in Boston Bruins training camp.

He had to just do it, and Thursday at TD Garden the veteran center was on his usual line with wings Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton during the team's second on-ice session of the afternoon.

Coach Claude Julien said the trio that's been a staple of the Bruins' lineup for three seasons looked solid as usual, but Campbell was a tougher critic as far as his own performance. It was the first time he took part in a formal NHL practice since he broke his leg in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final last season.

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Posted On Wednesday, 09.11.2013 / 1:42 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Training Camp 2013 blog

Bergeron, Campbell not 100 percent for Bruins

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins’ depth up the middle might be tested at the start of training camp as veteran centers Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell continue to recover from injuries incurred during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Bergeron famously played through a broken rib, injured rib cartilage, punctured lung and separated shoulder in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks. Just as famously, Campbell broke his leg in the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins and had to have surgery.

Both players took their physical exams and went through off-ice testing with their teammates at TD Garden on Wednesday. Also, both might be limited when on-ice sessions start Thursday.

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.25.2013 / 1:28 AM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins' Chara won't blame injury for tough time

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara has a Norris Trophy, several All-Star Game appearances and a Stanley Cup championship on his resume. The 6-foot-9, 255-pound blueliner is widely regarded as the best shutdown defenseman in the NHL.

So that he was on the ice for 10 of the Chicago Blackhawks' last 12 goals over the course of the last three games of the Stanley Cup Final was a major shock. There had to be a physical reason for Chara's struggles.

Unfortunately, the hockey world will have to wait a couple of days to find out what was hampering Chara other than the Blackhawks' top line of Jonathan Toews, Bryan Bickell and Patrick Kane.

"I'm not thinking about my physical status. Sorry," Chara said after the Blackhawks defeated the Bruins, 3-2, at TD Garden on Monday in Game 6 of the Cup Final.

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Posted On Monday, 06.24.2013 / 12:56 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins' Ference understands both sides of Game 6

BOSTON -- Most players in the Boston Bruins dressing room were part of the 2011 team that avoided elimination in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final then won the Cup on the road two nights later.

But few in black and gold know what it's like to be in the Chicago Blackhawks' position, which is leading the series 3-2 heading into Game 6 Monday at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Defenseman Andrew Ference is one who's been on each side.

In addition to helping the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks in 2011, Ference played for the Calgary Flames in 2004. That season, the Flames were at home for Game 6 and did not finish the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning won Game 7 as well.

"Well, it's a tough one, for sure," Ference said Monday after the Bruins morning skate. "I've been on both sides, where I had a chance to win in Game 6 and didn't and ended up losing, and then vice versa. It's a difficult game to win. At this point of the series there's no secrets between each other. Everybody knows the stakes and what you're going to get out of each other. And it's just a matter of that razor-thin line of success or defeat. It just depends on individual performances and small little details, that if you're showing up for your first hockey game tonight you wouldn't be able to see. But everybody in the room knows what they have to do and you hope that's enough to put you over the edge."

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Posted On Monday, 06.24.2013 / 12:36 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins' focus: defensive awareness, more physicality

BOSTON -- With nine goals allowed in the past two games, eight with a goaltender in the crease, the Boston Bruins defense has been much leakier than it had been previously in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So as they try to avoid elimination Monday in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), the Bruins are going to have to do a better job of containing some of the Chicago Blackhawks' best players, including Patrick Kane.

Kane has scored three goals in the past two games.

"Well, it takes an extreme amount of awareness of everybody on the ice," Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said after his team's morning skate. "Our defensive game relies on a five-man unit picking up their assignments and just being ultra-aware of positioning and where the threats are. So like I said, you're not asking anybody to do anything that they've never done before. Everybody knows what it takes. We've played against some pretty amazing offensive players and teams, and I think you're asking everybody to play defensively to the potential that they've shown."

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Posted On Friday, 06.21.2013 / 1:43 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins might use Soderberg, reconfigure fourth line

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien used his team's practice at TD Garden on Friday to test out a new fourth line.

Rookie Carl Soderberg wore a merlot-colored sweater along with Shawn Thornton and Rich Peverley during the 35-minute session in preparation for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. EST, NBC, CBC, RDS). The rest of the Bruins lines remained the same from Game 4.

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2.

"Just trying something else here," Julien said before boarding the bus in front of a throng of fans outside the Garden. "Again, I'll make that decision [Saturday]. But just get a different look at what that would look like, that's all."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.20.2013 / 2:52 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Kelly, Marchand talk missed opportunities

BOSTON -- In a 6-5 game, there were obviously plenty of offensive chances players cashed in during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday at TD Garden.

However, two Boston Bruins forwards missed great opportunities to turn the game in their club's favor. Instead the Bruins fell to the Chicago Blackhawks and now the teams head to the Windy City for Game 5 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS) at United Center with the best-of-7 series tied 2-2.

Boston's Chris Kelly hit the left post with enough room in the net to fit a St. Bernard in the closing minute of the second period with the Bruins trailing 4-3. Rich Peverley had just threaded a cross-ice pass to his linemate.

The goal horn sounded, but play continued.

"No, I knew I didn't score. But the horn kind of threw me," Kelly said Thursday on his team's off day at the Garden. "I thought the period was over. And then I looked up and I think there was 40 seconds left. But no, it didn't throw me off to think I had scored. I knew I didn't score."

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Quote of the Day

I don't have a crystal ball. Predicting is a real complicated thing. If we stay healthy, have enough depth and get the good goaltending we think we're going to have, you can go all the way. But a lot of things have to happen. There's going to be a lot of teams that think the same thing. Everyone made deals. We're all are optimistic about where we'll end up.

— Rangers general manager Glen Sather after being asked if he's constructed a team that can win the Stanley Cup before their 4-1 win against the Predators on Monday
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