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Bear Essentials: December 1st

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
2:28 p.m.

Here's the bad news.

“He’s not going to make the trip to Florida, so (he’s) definitely out for this week,” said Coach Julien of defenseman Aaron Ward. “Then he’ll be reevaluated when we get back.

“Hopefully, from there, he’ll be day-to-day.”

“Obviously, we’re going to have to call somebody up,” continued Julien. “Probably that will happen sometime (Monday), but Providence had three games in three days, here, so bringing somebody in, today, wasn’t necessarily a great move.”

In the good news department, goaltender Tim Thomas declared himself 100%.

“I was actually feeling fine by Saturday,” said the Tank. “I was ready to play, but hadn’t practiced for a couple of days.

Thomas was happy for Fernandez, who starred in back-to-back games for the first time since returning from injury.

“He did well,” said a smiling Thomas. “Those were the defending Stanley Cup champions.

“As a team, it was a great win.”

12:58 p.m.
Defenseman Aaron Ward will not make the trip to Florida and will be evaluated for a leg injury in about a week.

Bergeron, Wideman and Hnidy were given days off.

Sturm is back on the ice and will continue to be evaluated in terms of his readiness to return to the lineup over the next couple of days.

A decision as to a defensive call up should be coming later today.

More in a bit...

11:02 a.m.

Marco Sturm is on the ice, ladies and gentlemen!

However, only three defensemen are on the rink, thus far.

Ward, Wideman and Hnidy are the missing pieces in black.

Meanwhile, Patrice Bergeron is also a no-show...

December 1st Morning update...

Southern Hospitality?
Boston’s next opponent, the Tampa Bay Lightning travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday and will face off against the Flyers in the Wachovia Center before hosting the B’s at the St. Pete Times Forum at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The Lightning are 15th in the conference and 1-6-3 in their last ten.

Meanwhile, your Boston Bruins enter this week tied for first place in the Eastern Conference thanks to the play of a Panthers goalie. The associated press reports:

Craig Anderson is making Tomas Vokoun's starting job look tenuous.
Anderson got the call for the second straight game over Vokoun and made Florida coach Peter DeBoer's somewhat surprising decision pay off with a 37-save shutout in the Panthers' 4-0 victory against the New York Rangers on Sunday.
"I thought he would go back to Vokie," he said. "I want the ball, I want to be playing. I enjoy playing for these guys. I'll be ready whenever called upon."
Anderson was steady in his second shutout this season and sixth in the NHL. He stopped 43 shots in Friday's shootout loss to the Rangers on the heels of a solid relief appearance for Vokoun in another shootout defeat against New Jersey on Wednesday.

The Panthers, 5-3-2 in their last ten and 12th in the East, are the B’s opponent on Saturday in Sunrise, Florida.

A statement on "The Statement"
After Saturday's win, many of the players in the Bruins locker room were asked of the 4-1 defeat were a statement to the rest of the league.

B’s head coach Claude Julien had something to say about that premise.

“We did some good things, but at the same time I think you have to realize that it wasn’t necessarily a complete game,” said Julien. “Our first ten minutes I thought we did a lot of watching, and it took us a while to get going.

“I kind of liked the way we handled the third period, I thought that was one of our better periods, we skated, kept putting pucks in.

“We wanted to play more of the type of game that we wished we could have played for the whole 60 minutes,” he said.

So much for resting on your laurels. However, Julien did concede that his squad is playing very well as a team.

“We’re in sync,” he said. “When I’m standing behind the bench in the third period, I don’t have to say much because the players are the guys yelling the things to the guys on the ice about what they need to do -- chip it in, put it in deep, that kind of stuff.

“Basically you just have to watch and try to control your bench and the players coach themselves. That’s where we’re at right now. Our players believe (that) what we’re doing is successful for us. They want to continue doing that for us.

“We’ve got everybody on the same page and everybody is kind of pushing each other to do those things and supporting each other to do those things as well.”

Worrying about Wardo
Coach Julien also spoke about the loss of Aaron Ward – who went into the boards awkwardly in the first period and was lost for the remainder of the game.

“It’s a leg injury,” said Julien. “You guys saw when he hit the boards there he came out and he was limping. There’s not much we can do here, he’s going to be evaluated (Sunday).

"Hopefully by Monday, when we start practice again, we’ll be able to give you a better assessment of his injury right now.

The B’s bench boss also spoke about his club’s ability to cope with having only five defensemen against the Wings.

“I thought they did a great job,” he said.” I think that was a situation (Saturday) where everybody felt like they were in (the game). We mixed and matched and we put different players with different (partners).

“(Earlier) I talked about the third period, our (defense) really did a good job at moving the puck and giving each other outlets and making things easier for Manny (Fernandez).”

Boston's seventh man had a great game...
Many members of the Black & Gold marveled at the support the team has been getting.

“The fans are coming more and more to the game,” said Zdeno Chara. “It is nice to see anytime you are playing in front of a full building and you have the crowd behind you, it’s big and you can really feel them cheering for us.

“It gives us extra energy and is almost like having an extra man on the ice. We want to thank all the fans for coming out so far and hopefully they keep coming.”

Coach Julien weighed in on the crowd, as well.

"When that (Noise Meter) goes on (Garden HDX) the fans get into it,” he said. “It’s great for a hockey club.

"Now, every night, you’re coming out (of the locker room) and there seems to be more and more people.

“But also people seem to be more involved and that’s important. It’s exciting for the players, it’s exciting for the team, and (the crowd) definitely are a seventh player. I know even getting behind the bench when you look around you see a crowd like you do tonight it’s so much better."

“Boston is such a great sports city in that they are passionate and behind their teams,” Chara added. “Anytime we have a team come to Boston and we have sellouts like we have had it is obviously harder for them to play against us.”
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