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Bear Essentials: Buffalo vs. Boston

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
9:53 a.m.

Both the Bruins and the Sabres are skating this morning in anticipation of their game this evening.

Yesterday, Marc Savard missed practice with the flu, so we will be watching intently for his return to the fold this morning. Meanwhile, Glen Murray and Bobby Allen practiced for the full session on Monday, but are not expected to suit up for this evening's tilt.

As you may have noticed, the Bruins rooting interests were fulfilled during the opening round of the annual Beanpot Tourney. As you may know, management has quite a bit of rooting interest for Harvard and the players have three BC alums in their locker room.
This should provide quite a few jabs over the coming day.

11:53 a.m.
Good news. Today's morning practice was exceedingly boring. Normal. Everyone was there. Everyone was in a good mood. Loose.

Seriously. All-systems are go. Life is good.

"We are confident enough that we know that if we play our game we can beat any team on any given night," said Coach Julien. "Now it's just a matter of showing up for every one of these games."

And with two games in a row against Buffalo, the B's have a chance to gain some more playoff points or allow Buffalo to gain ground.

"It could do a lot of damage both ways," said Coach. "[If we win] we could climb in the standings and creep up on some teams and at the same time [keep] teams behind you.

"All you have to do is win hockey games...and let things fall where they may."

Bobby Allen and Glen Murray will be out of the lineup, but are still progressing. Andrew Alberts is also progressing, but has not yet been on the ice. No word on Patrice Bergeron, today.

12:47 p.m.
Okay, so there were at least a couple of funny moments at this morning's skate.

Out of nowhere, Milan Lucic and P.J. Axelsson did a mid-air, basketball-style, chest bump. Hard to do on skates, but fun to watch.

And one Bruins forward stepped on a puck and nearly wiped out to the pleasure of the rest of the forwards.

But that was pretty much it for color from morning skate.

4:27 p.m.
Post skate Quotes from Coach Julien
On Glen Metropolit saying that his line is trying to keep it simple...
Well, I think what they consider simple is the basics of what we have been trying to do all year. When you attack and throw pucks at the net and you are there for rebound, such as Lucic’s goal against Ottawa, and creating those kinds of things. You see [Chuck] Kobasew shooting pucks any time he has a chance and he’s not trying to get cute by making that extra move, I think that is what we are looking for. That line has done a great job...and hopefully it rubs off on everybody else.

On Milan Lucic
I think from day one we never told him to go out there and fight. I think from day one he wanted to establish himself as a bonafide NHL’er and show people that they were not going to take advantage of him and that he was going to stick up for himself and his team and he has done that. Now he is in a position, obviously because of his injuries, that he is better off to stay away from [fights] if he can. But at the same time he has proven to people too that he is an very capable hockey player that can put points up on the board, make big hits and plays, and can shoot the puck well. So he is establishing himself as a good all-around player.

On Glen Murray…
As along as it keeps going [in the right] direction it becomes very positive for Muzz [Murray]. I think he is anxious just as much as we are to get him back in the lineup. The last few days have been good days for him so [we're] keeping our fingers crossed  that it will continue.

On Andrew Alberts…
Obviously, you haven’t seen him on the ice, he’s not there yet, but he is certainly making progress and feeling better. So again those are all positives for us.

5:02 p.m.
My intern Angela and I have escaped to the ninth floor to get ready for the big game. I hear workers getting the ice ready and I see one of the Sabres meditating on their bench...

No Bruins are around, yet, but I saw Shawn Thornton driving into the parking lot, so most of the B's must be getting ready down in the locker room.

5:24 p.m.
Ryan Miller is now alone on the Sabres bench doing some plyometrics. is reporting (citing the Buffalo News):
Maxim Afinogenov's return from a slight groin tear was delayed when he left Monday's practice early after experiencing pain. He has missed 13 games.

6:43 p.m.
Here are your Boston Bruins...
Chara-Wideman (sg) Thomas
Stuart-Ward (bg) Thomas
Ference-Hnidy Go Bruins

Not sure about who will be scratched...

7:05 p.m.
Petteri Nokelainen will sit tonight. I am heading over to the Running Recap. JB
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