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30, 33, 37 & 55 Remained in Boston

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Bear Force One was a little lighter for Thursday afternoon's flight to Canada's capital and before the Boston Bruins left for Ottawa Head Coach Claude Julien explained that he was leaving four of his most reliable players home as his club prepared for Game 81 of the 2011-12 regular season.

30, 33, 37 & 55 Remained in Boston
"Zee...and Bergy and Tim are not making the trip," said Julien of defenseman Zdeno Chara, center Patrice Bergeron and goaltender Tim Thomas. "Obviously Johnny [Boychuk], who’s being checked on right now won’t make the trip

"So those are four guys we’re leaving behind."

Boychuk is the only player in the group who is remaining in Boston due to injury, but post-practice on Wednesday Julien didn't have any official update on his blueliner, who collided with Pittsburgh's Aaron Asham during Boston's 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

"Not yet," said Julien. "He was seeing our doctors this morning and we haven’t had the results yet, but I’m confident it will be -- hopefully -- not as bad as it looks."

Horton & Rask Skate
Julien did have minor updates on two other injured Bruins -- goaltender Tuukka Rask and forward Nathan Horton -- both of whom hit the ice before Boston's regular practice session Wednesday morning at Wilmington's Ristuccia Memorial Arena.

"Tuukka’s been skating, as you know, for a few days," said the B's bench boss. "He’s coming around so we hope to have him soon in practice.

"With Nathan, it’s just going out there. It’s nothing more than just skating to get a feel how things are.

"He’s not close to joining us as we speak, but still keeping our fingers crossed."

Nathan's Still Smiling
Juliens said that Horton's spirits remain good.

"He’s in a good spot emotionally," said Julien. "Again I haven’t talked about anything related to hockey and coming back - the last thing you need is a coach to start asking those kind of questions. That’s not my job, and certainly not something that would be a positive thing to do.

"So I leave him be, everything I do with him is small talk and ‘How’re you doing today?’

"He’s looking good...and he seems happy so those kind of things are encouraging," said Julien.

Horton hasn't played since January 22nd, and Julien was asked if it were difficult to help Nathan feel part of the group after being on injured reserve for much of 2012.

"It’s not hard because we’ve always been that way," said Julien. "He comes in every day and everybody is happy to see him, he’s happy to see everybody and there’s no doubt he’d love to be part of this group right now.

"But that’s part of the nature of this game, you go through some situations where you got to watch your team play and you hope that when he does come back, he’s hungry and wants to help his team as much as he’s wanted to [when he's watched] them play."
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