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Bear Essentials: December 2nd

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
3:20 p.m.

Sturm Update...
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.
Today, Marco Sturm was under the watchful eye of his coach for just the second practice in a row. However, he seems to be making good progress towards recovering from his upper body injury.

“Good, so far,” was Coach Julien’s answer to questions about how his left winger looked. “We’re getting some good news, as far as after practice.

"He’s still feeling very good, so…tomorrow will be another good test for him.

“I guess that my thought process (means) having to make that decision on Thursday morning – deciding which direction we are going to go with him, according to what our trainers are going to tell us,” he said.

2:49 p.m.
Defenseman Matt Lashoff and Johnny Boychuk were wearing some pretty big smiles as they walked into the locker room after practice on Tuesday – and why not, they just earned a trip to Florida in December.

However, the two offensive defensemen will hope to plug the wide gap in the B’s defensive corps left by the injury to Aaron Ward.

“We’ve been playing really well,” said Boychuk of his time in Providence. “Last weekend we had a three (games) in three (nights) and we won all three.

“It was good when we came together to win those three games…now we’re in first place again.”

First place in the Atlantic Division in Providence and first place in the Eastern Conference in Boston -- not bad, Johnny! And the mere mention of wearing an “Original Six” jersey made the bid defenseman shake his head.

“Well, obviously, Boston is a great place and I’m just happy to be here,” he said with a laugh.

Boychuk and Lashoff were paired on the P-Bruins power play and Johnny has a very high opinion of his partner on the Providence man-advantage.

“Lash can skate the puck up really well and he make the simple, but effective, plays,” said Boychuk. “When we were on the power play we just tried to use each other’s (strengths) and shoot the puck – just make the simple plays.

“As soon as we tried to do something out of the ordinary it messes up and we get in trouble anyway (laughs), so you might as well keep it simple,” he said.

Lashoff looked thrilled to be back in his stall, but having been in the B’s locker room previously this season, had a bit more of a glint in his eye.

“I just have to prove the things that I’ve been working on,” he said. “I have to be stingy and feisty down low, start moving the puck to my strengths, keep things simple and, obviously, not disrupt the thing that we have going on right now.”

As for Boychuck, Lashoff said, “he’s got a big, booming slapshot, for sure. I’m more of a finesse guy (who tries) to get it through.

“We bring some of the same capabilities – he’s an offensive guy, who’s pretty good on the power play and I think the thing to here is to try and not do too much.

“You’ve just got to try and play it simple. This is a tough, defensive team, and you want to try and fit into that role…(by) taking care of your checks in the defensive zone and playing with poise.”

10:40 a.m.
This morning, the Bruins took to the ice with a full complement (13 forwards, 7 defensemen and two goalies) -- an extra at each position.

Defenseman Johnny Boychuk and Matt Lashoff were the two new faces and Marco Sturm and Patrice Bergeron both hit the ice.

Two-on-two drills were the first things on the docket...

Morning Update...

Yesterday, after practice, but before the call-ups, Coach Julien spoke to how the Bruins had achieved a near perfect mark in November.

“(There) was a lot of sacrifice,” said the Bruins boss. “There’s no doubt about that. Because, with 10 games in 18 days, we had to be disciplined in the way that we got ourselves prepared – getting our rest, and obviously our nutrition and everything else.

“The guys did a great job. They handled it one game at a time.

“You’ve heard us say that numerous times, but I think that simple approach helped us get through this month.

The Bruins finished November 11-1-1 for the clubs best month since 1978 when the Bruins had 24 points (11-2-2) in December.

And Saturday’s win over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings was the red and white frosting on a 23-point cake.

“Yah, it was a good effort,” agreed Julien. “Obviously, throughout the sixty-mintues, they were able to showcase their talent, but we defended well against it.

“And when we had our chances, we made them count.”

Which, in reality, is what the Bruins have been doing since the beginning of the season.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Milan Lucic. “You’re always happy when you are winning…but I think it all comes down to our work ethic and our willingness to play together and be on the same page as the team’s systems go.

“ We’re just doing the little things right and I think that’s (helped) us have such a successful November.”

Lucic spoke about the difference between this Bruins team and the 2007-08 edition.

“I think…there’s more confidence, knowing what to expect, coming into this year,” explained the B’s super-soph. “And for me, I just try and go out there and focus on playing my game, helping the team win and just being physical.

“I think the end of last year really helped unify this team and we like being around each other, which I think helps, as well.”

Veteran forward P.J. Axelsson was asked the same questions, but having been with the B’s since the 1997-98 season, he had a broader perspective.

“It’s really good,” said the soft-spoken Axelsson. “(Now) you hear people in town talking about hockey.

“There’s a long way to go, but it’s a lot more fun to win.”

Axelsson pointed to the offense as the biggest difference between this and last season.

“I think we played some good hockey last year too, but we didn’t score as much as we are this year.

“That’s probably the main thing.”

Axelsson also agreed with one reporter (to a point) who said that it was too bad the B’s had a big break between games.

“You don’t want too long of a break, but at the same time we’ve played a lot of games, so it’s nice (to get) a little break.”

Boston returns to practice this morning in Wilmington.
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