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Bruins looking forward to their trip to 'Hell'

Tuesday, 10.05.2010 / 11:16 AM / 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere

By Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

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Bruins looking forward to their trip to 'Hell'
The Boston Bruins will receive a unique experience when they see Czech team Liberec's 'White Hell' during Tuesday's preseason game.
PRAGUE -- As AC/DC sang, Hell ain't a bad place to be -- at least in this instance for the Boston Bruins.

The NHL team travels Tuesday to Liberec to play the White Tigers in their final exhibition game before the 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere series against Phoenix this weekend.

The Liberec fans are famous for creating a "White Hell" -- dressing in white, waving white towels and screaming throughout the match -- that is legendary across the Czech elite circuit.

Boston center David Krejci, who played his junior hockey in the Czech Republic, knows all about Liberec's reputation.

"They are playing an NHL team and they are definitely motivated and ready to play. For us, it makes for a great opponent. No one should think it is going to be easy because they got that extra motivation that makes them hard to play against." -- Claude Julien

"Liberec, every game is sold out there, 8,000 people," Krejci said. "You'll see (Tuesday) -- it will be something cool."

Phoenix forward Radim Vrbata has played for Liberec and experienced the advantage the home fans can give the home team. He believes the Bruins will be in for a unique experience.

"They have good fans, and when that team gets to the playoffs, there's a little white out there," Vrbata told NHL.com. "The fans are really good and I think it will be a good, interesting game."

The Bruins believe that and say, "Bring it on!"

"When you play the home squad, it's a lot of fun," Boston forward Mark Recchi said. "The atmosphere is great, they are cheering and chanting. And it's awesome.

"That will be great for us. It will be a hard game, but a fun game."

Plus, the Bruins have paid attention to what has been going on across Europe as five other teams play their final preseason games before the Premiere series begins Thursday.

San Jose needed a shootout to beat Adler Mannheim in their first European exhibition. Minnesota found itself in hard against Finnish club Ilves Tampere for almost half a game before pulling away for a 5-1 victory. Carolina, meanwhile, dropped a 5-3 decision to SKA St. Petersburg on Monday, a game that more resembled the Stanley Cup Playoffs than a meaningless exhibition.

Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien certainly has been paying attention. He is excited to see how his team responds to the hostile atmosphere it will encounter and how his players handle a quality side.

Liberec is a middle-of-the-pack team this season, going 3-3-1 with a plus-3 goal differential after seven games. Former NHL star Petr Nedved is on the club, joining Miloslav Horava as co-leading scorers. Each player has 6 points in seven games.

"If you did your homework, Carolina lost in St. Petersburg and San Jose won in a shootout, so there are a lot of teams here that, for them, it's like a playoff game," Julien said. "They are playing an NHL team and they are definitely motivated and ready to play. For us, it makes for a great opponent. No one should think it is going to be easy because they got that extra motivation that makes them hard to play against."

Boston also is close to making its last cuts. The team has to make its final roster decisions soon after Tuesday's game and must pare down by at least two players.

Fortunately, Tuesday's game against Liberec will be played with 22-man rosters, the norm in the Czech league. That means Julien will be able to dress an extra forward and an extra defenseman.

"If somebody is not going well, you have somebody to replace him," Julien said when asked about the dynamics of having extra players at his disposal.

Julien said after Tuesday's morning skate that all the skaters except for forward Brian McGrattan and rookie defenseman Matt Bartowski will dress against Liberec. Tim Thomas will play goal for the Bruins.
Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres