It's good to be back in Wilmo and getting down to business.
I stopped into the Bruins locker room to grab a cup of Joe and Our Boys' spirits seem to be better than they were on Saturday. No doubt the upswing is fueled by the news that Patrice Bergeron
is home resting after the brutal hit he took at the hands of Philadelphia's Randy Jones.
No word yet if Mr. Jones, who by all accounts is a pretty gentlemanly player, will receive any league mandated reprimand -- and in fact TSN's Bob McKenzie says that according to his sources, Jones' punishment, if there is one, will be slight.
Now, I am not sure what those people saw, but I saw what Coach Julien saw ("a dirty hit"), and, gentleman or not, I expect that Jones will be sitting for at least a while.
As far as the upcoming task at hand (Buffalo on Thursday), there is no word as to whether the club is expecting to bring up a player to fill Bergy's spot -- there would seem to be no doubt that he will miss some time -- but Brandon Bochenski has returned to the Boston fold.
I wonder if the lines will look something like this:
A few more minutes and we may know! And, by the way, Peter Chiarelli may address the media, and there is no doubt that Claude Julien will speak to us after practice…keep it here.2:44 p.m.
Just saw the ruling on Mr. Jones: Two game suspension.
I'm going to withhold comment.
That being said:
Save your e-mails about Patrice bearing any responsibility for the hit (because he turned at the last second, because he was facing the boards, blah, blah, blah, etc).
I've also heard this argument from NHL commentators. It's Rubbish, people. Pure rubbish.
It's Not the case. Not even relevant in this instance. Not even debatable.
Patrice was the victim in this case. Period.
Today's practice was as up tempo as possible, considering that most of the club was getting used to a new line mate. Here is Coach Julien's first attempt at the lines minus Bergy: White: Axelsson-Savard-Murray
Brick: Lucic, Krejci, Thornton, Reich
Black: Alberts, Allen, Chara, Ference, Stuart, Ward, Wideman
Goal: Fernandez, Thomas
To get the guys back into the groove, the practice was full of cardio testing sprints, a bunch of line rushes with the new groupings and some battle drills in the corner.
From the onset, it looked as if the goalies were working on rebound control, and were getting some tutoring from Bob Essensa, who made the trek in from Detroit.
I thought I noticed an increased effort to communicate on ice -- now this might have been because of the new lines, or I might have been imagining it, but I don't think so.
After practice, the players talked about the game on Saturday and today's practice.
"You never want to see...anyone get hurt like that, ever," said Glen Metropolit. "It was unfortunate for Patrice, obviously and we're all happy that he is okay.
"With Bergy (getting hurt) it gave us a little (motivation) and we wanted to win it for him.
"We pressed hard and we just couldn't break Biron -- the effort was there," he said.
Metro said that the club needed a hard practice like today's session.
"The 1-on-1 battles, that's key," said Metropolit. "We have a skilled team coming in (with Buffalo) and if we out battle them, then it's all about puck possession.
"You have to win the battles and that's what we have been stressing in practice."
Across the room, Phil Kessel spoke about his friend and teammate.
"It's a tough situation when a play like that goes down," said Kessel, who admitted that he and his other teammates would have to pick up the slack until Bergeron returns. "Hopefully he comes back...and gets back to his old self.
"It's a tough thing. When ever you see your teammate (get hurt) it's tough...you get upset because you don't ever want to see that happen to anyone -- especially a teammate, someone you care about.
"Hopefully he get's better...bounces back and will be ready to go."