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After Slow Start, B's Back to Practice

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
3:58 p.m.

Friday's practice made for interesting viewing.

This was a far departure from the informal skates of September and much more structured than most of the sessions we've witnessed during Training Camp '09.

It seemed designed to both remind the Bruins of their stumble against the Caps as well as point the B's in the right direction as they prepare to weather the Hurricanes.

"I think you think about it," said Matt Hunwick of working out after a loss. "But you can't let it drag you down and you can't let it effect your next practice.

"You learn from it and work harder than you did the day before.

"You know, we have a game Saturday, so there's no time to dwell on it, that's for sure."

Hunwick that a little bit of soul searching is, of course, necessary -- but not too much.

"You don't want to over analyse," he said. "You try and learn from the mistakes that you've made. If you feel like you didn't work hard enough, that's something that you will try and do on Saturday.

"You just try and correct the little things in your game [knowing] that you can't always do it in one day.

"As long as we come out and work hard the next game...mistakes [might] happen, but we'll work through them," he said.

Although many fans may have expected the infamous "bag skate" for the Bruins on Friday, the coaching staff instead brought a structured, physical practice to the wipe board.

"Last year we had a few of those [dips in performance] where we were in a losing streak," said Hunwick. "It could have gone either way, bag skate or, what we ultimately had, a fun skate.

"You try and get your confidence back and that worked for us."

A solid showing against the club that knocked the B's out of the playoffs might do wonders for the Bruins confidence. No?

12:06 p.m.

Looking back at Marc Savard's postgame quotes, the reasons for his early morning efforts become clear.

"I think we started the game the way we wanted to," he told the press on Thursday night. "We practiced all week and talked about it and it seemed gradually as the game went on we lost things.

"We have to look in the mirror tonight and come back tomorrow and be ready for Saturday."

Savard verbalized what many fans and pundits saw.

"We are not playing our style and that’s the bottom line," he said. "You just have to chip in pucks in deep, and we were still looking for that extra play to shoot on net.

"We didn’t hit the net at all tonight, our entries were fine, we got in towards the goal. We take that first shot wide and they come back down the ice. We have to look at hitting nets, and I am not pointing fingers at anybody but we all have to do better."

11:48 a.m.

The University of Toronto Varsity Blues hockey team is in attendance and watching practice.

They are in town for a team-building weekend before heading to New York to take on Clarkson and St. Lawrence on Saturday and Sunday.

11:35 a.m.
A determined Marc Savard hit the ice several minutes early to practice his shot. He was joined by several teammates before the regular practice session started at 11:30 a.m.

9:41 a.m.

Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien did little to hide his disdain for the result of Thursday night's season opener against the Washington Capitals. Following the game, during his regular press briefing, he let fly -- and gave everyone a clear reminder of what he expects from his club going forward.

"We had our opportunities and then halfway through that period, we end up with...a play where we need a line changed, and we’ve got a player throwing a puck at the bench when he should have been chipping it out," he said. "We get too many men on the ice and they take the lead.

"When you play teams like Washington, who are a very good team and take advantage of those kind of little mistakes, those things come back to haunt you. Right there and then it changed the momentum a little bit. We started playing on our heels and as the game went on, we had some guys forcing the issue a little bit.

"Tonight was probably one of those nights when we had too many good players at their worst," said Julien.

Julien said that Washington's Alex Ovechkin (2 g, 1 a) had a great game, but said that his own team's effort was not a hindrance to the superstar.

"You never take any credit away from a good player who scores goals like he does, but at the same time, you have to look at how he gets them," said Julien. "A lot of those were maybe what I would call “gifts” from us, looking at those areas where he got the puck.

"His first goal was a terrible line change, which is goal number two, and the other one, [Milan] Lucic should have had him in good position.

"Those are the kind of things that you don’t want to take credit away from him, but you also want to be a little more demanding of your players, especially when he’s on the ice," he said.

Julien was asked if his club was rusty.

"I think it’s a little bit of everything," answered Julien. "It’s not excuses, because this will not be the team that you’re going to see night after night this year -- that much I can guarantee.

"The fact is, as I’ve mentioned, we’ve had three days of practice as a team. We came out strong. We didn’t sustain the tempo we had in the first ten minutes. Not that we couldn't, we just didn’t, and I think that’s what hurt us a little bit. You’ve got to be focused for sixty minutes in this game and we weren’t. I think that’s the challenge that we have going into the next game."
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