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Back to Work!

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Morning Update.

Got a bit before practice at Wilmo (11:30 a.m.) so let's do some reading. As you know, sometimes the post-game quote sheet just tells the whole story...

On Milan Lucic
"He gave us a chance to maybe at least get ourselves a point. It’s just part of what we’ve seen within the last couple of weeks as he’s got the opportunity to play on a different line and has taken advantage of the ice time that he’s given.  Not only is he a good physical presence, and you saw him tonight, he’ll go hard in the corners he’ll go hard to the net. And I’ve said it since the beginning of the year, I saw him this summer at the development camp here and the one thing that I noticed is from the blue line in, coming into that area where he scored them tonight, he was very good at scoring goals."

On the Bruins offense…
"When you look at the first period, we created some chances.  It was definitely there, but we need to vary those opportunities. I think we had about eight good opportunities, three breakaways maybe; obviously, two of them were goals, one that didn’t count.  So, we did see that.  I think it kind of disappeared a little bit as the game went on and that’s something we have to be able to sustain for three periods."

On the Bruins power play…
"I think it’s not what Ottawa did; it’s our power play that has to be a little better. And that’s a bit of concern. Your best players have to be your best players and clearly tonight they weren’t.  And that kind of took away from our chances of winning also."

On tonight’s game…
"My intention going into the game was to win and to compete against these guys.  It wasn’t, ‘let’s see what kind of a test it’s going to be for our team.’  But, once the game is over, it certainly shows you where we are right now and that means we still have some work to do.  We had a great first period, I thought, but we didn’t have 60 minutes of that.  And as the game went on, it seemed like we weren’t completing our plays; it was a little sloppy; we lost our focus on what we did so well in the first and it’s about sustaining it.  And sometimes to beat those teams, you need to get more of an attitude.  I didn’t think we had the attitude that it took to beat those guys tonight.  "

On the net being dislodging during the final minute of play…
"We get the luxury of looking back at the replay and there’s no doubt, the net was pushed off.  Even though (Glen) Murray gave him a little bit of a shove, he backed off and he just kept going forward and gave that net a tug.  Those are the things that happen in the games and you wish that the call would have been made, it wasn’t.  You wish that they would’ve called that Sturm goal, a goal, which clearly it was in the net before (the whistle blew).  But, the referee said the intent to blow the whistle was done before the puck was in.  And it’s not the whistle itself, but the intent that counts.  I’m aware of that so you have to respect the decision that’s made in that situation."

On the Ottawa Senators…
"They have some great offensive players.  When a team like that gets on a long power play in the third its tough.  They kept those guys out there the entire time.  We were close to getting a whistle so we could get a change. There was one that squeaked under my elbow and another that almost went over the glass.  If we could have had fresh legs who knows.  They are a strong offensive team; they have guys who can bury their chances. They keep coming at you in all areas on the ice. Off the rush, off the down low play, and obviously their power play is pretty good."

On the final Senators goal in the third period…
"I lost my stick there; I was trying to get it back, but you can’t lose your focus on the puck.  I didn’t want to grab a D’s stick, especially Z’s (Zdeno Chara) because his is valuable to us because it is so long.  A long reach is pretty important. I think it was (Daniel) Alfredsson who had the puck and made the play across.  It hit something then just sort of stopped for a second.  Then I don’t know if someone hit it out of the air or what."

On team’s performance…
"I think we need to play the entire 60 minutes.  At times we were the better team and at times we gave them momentum, and they carried the play.  We just have to play the whole 60."

On his team’s performance tonight
"At times we were not making smart decisions with the puck.  Some of those decisions are just not what we are used to. We are used to being more successful.  For whatever reason we were just not playing well especially in the second period."

On Ottawa’s second goal…
"It looked like it had a bounce and then I saw it was already on his stick.  I tried to block it and it just jumped the net.  The puck was in our zone for a good two and a half minutes.  That makes you tired.  Just those little things, bounces, the puck ends up in the net."

On playing the first place Ottawa Senators…
"Yeah it was a good test, but also we can look at it as a good lesson.  Playing a team like Ottawa is challenging.  We want to catch up on them in the standings.  We need to get better, but we are a much better team than we showed tonight. They had more chances than we did and we need to learn from that.  We need to put it behind us and get ready for the next one."

On his goal…
"Just hoping a rebound comes over and that was exactly what happened.  We were lucky it was off one of their sticks and onto mine and I just buried it."

On scoring late in the third…
"You never know, they can come at any time...I have been down 4 to 1 with three minutes left in the game to go on and win.  I don’t think we will ever quit on this team.  I think the big thing for us is to put together a full 60 minutes."

On feeling comfortable with his linemates…
"You could say I feel comfortable. I feel like there is chemistry between the three of us we work well down low and so far we have put a bunch of goals together on our line.  We just have to keep working and not get frustrated.  We have to work toward our advantage and I think we are only going to get better from there."

On Boston’s goals and overall offensive effort…
"One was a blocked shot, where the pass was a little slow, and one was the power play.  All of their offense was play that somehow started or stopped at their blue line – like I said a blocked shot, a turnover, a goal where they shouldn’t have gotten the puck in.  All of their offense from there and it wasn’t like it was blatant turnovers but we just have to do a better job of making sure the puck gets to clear the blue line either by being quicker before the trap is set up or before they get lined up across the blue line."

On the play of C Jason Spezza…
"I think he was pretty good for the most part.  That’s what good offensive players do is score at key times so he’s been playing pretty strong the last three or four games."

On the importance of Spezza’s 3rd period power play goal…
We saw it going in, we saw it for the last two or three days since we last played them that  it was going to be a 2-1 game and we would probably have to score a power play goal to win it and it turned out basically that way.  Our special teams were very good at the opportune times when they had to.

On scoring his first goal of the season…
"It’s nice to score and contribute offensively, but also this is a tough building to win in this year so we’ll take the two points here.  It was a very smart game that we played as a 20-man unit and as a defensive guy any time you can contribute a little bit offensively it’s always a little fun and guys have fun with it.  And it was nice that my dad was here, he made the trip so it was kind of cool that way too.  He came in from Ottawa and just came on the road trip.  It was kind of special."

On joining the offensive rush…
"I try to close the gap as much as I can – it helps defensively – and that’s our game plan is to play as a five man unit in every zone and there’s been a couple times where I’ve gone up to play and sometimes everybody gets looking at the deep guys and if they can’t get to the net.  The drop guys usually get to play it and obviously it worked for them on their second goal too.  It’s a dangerous area and sometimes attention is on everybody else so you just kind of slide into an open area."

On Ottawa’s power play…
"It was definitely fun to watch from back there.  I think we did a really good job keeping the puck in and they finally got them tired and that’s how they got that goal in there.

On the significance of tonight’s win…
"For us it’s pretty important being here, it’s a tough game always.  Playing here is always hard and last season we had some tough times to be successful here.  I think this year we’ve had two - another really good game - and something that really came from everybody, where we try to keep it simple and keep it disciplined."

10:24 a.m.
Just finished reading the clips. And yah, I was disappointed about last night, but I think the gloomy weather we've experienced recently may have hit the other Knights of the Keyboard around the Hub a little bit hard.

Cars still stuck in snowbanks, fellas?

Frankly, and I am sure if I am wrong this will be shoved in my face come this April (and I would expect nothing less, my friends), but I am not sure I see the gloom and doom that I am reading about this morning.

Yes, the Bruins are having a little trouble offensively. Yes, some of the major pieces of the puzzle have hit a bit of a snag. And yes, the fact that last night's loss happened in the TD Banknorth Garden is regrettable. Buuuuuuuuuuut...

Here's the deal: The B's were a goal away from tying the best team in the conference, last night, and I'll tell you this -- from my perch in the catbird seat, I thought that Marco Sturm had a goal in the first. And I also thought that the net came off its moorings at an awfully opportune time for the Sens in the last couple minutes of play. Hmmmmmmm...

Listen, I am not going to sit here and make excuses. Coach Julien said that the B's didn't seem to have the right attitude in the second half of the game and I am more than inclined to agree. And hey, bad breaks are part of any team's season.

But that being said, the loss was still only one of 82 and the B's are tied for the second best point total in the Eastern Conference. Furthermore, they are still in the top four and and would have home ice in the playoffs if they started today (hosting the 5th place Rangers).

Boston also remains in second place in the Northeast Division.

Now, I happen to remember a bunch of publications (I bought three or four of them at CVS, myself) across this country (and Canada) that had Our Boys at or near the bottom of the LEAGUE standings in their predictions.

So, if this morning I see fourth in the conference, second in the division and a Jack Adams candidate behind the bench with three games to play going into the Christmas break -- I'll take it.

And don't even get me started on some of the younger folks who have played major parts in the B's surprising second half. Given a healthy Tim Thomas, those kids will continue to thrive under Coach Julien and springtime could be pretty exciting around these parts...

Off to practice. I'll update later.

6:25 p.m.
It's later!

Nice day at the office, folks and I, for one am feeling that whatever ailed the team on Tuesday, will not aile the team on Thursday.

However, if the B's have anything to worry about on Thursday its a case of the Crosbys.

"We all know what he can do,' said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "He's very explosive.

"But the thing, for me, that puts Crosby above a lot of other players is the fact that he competes.

"And that's everyday -- in practice, games -- he doesn't know any other way," he said.

Coach Julien was Sindney's coach at the world championships and had to deal with Sid the Kid quite frequently in New Jersey.

"He's one of those guys that you have to be aware of when he is on the ice," he added.

Bergy in the Building
Saw Patrice Bergeron lurking in Wilmington and asked Coach Julien his status.

"He was here for a little bit of stretch," he said. "He is going to take his time.

"You don't want to go too hard and have to take a step back."

The last two times I have seen him, Patrice looked very good. But Julien strenuously cautioned that Bergeron has a bit of a tough stretch ahead.

"We are going to be cautious and have him do a little less and make it an encouraging situation more than a discouraging one," said Julien. "He's a positive guy, but it doesn't mean...he hasn't been discouraged sitting at home waiting to play.

"He wants to get back.

"That's normal for an athlete, especially for a guy like him who loves to play...he's staying positive, but it is a challenge," he said.

Is there ANY set idea about when he might return?

"You can't know," said Julien of Bergy's return. "Not even the doctors (know).

"I can say that I am looking forward to having him back, but I have also learned, as a coach, that you can't depend on those things. You have to work with the players that you have at your disposal...and the minute you find out that he's coming back, that (will be) a bonus to our hockey club."

It certainly will be. Get well soon, Patrice!
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