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Bear Essentials: Game Day @ Buffalo

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Perusing the Papers

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.
Gearing up for tonight's HUGE match up with Buffalo, there comes some good news from Kevin Paul Dupont in The Boston Globe. He apparently tracked down Patrice Bergeron for an update

"Obviously, I'd like to be back [this] week," said Bergeron to Dupont. "I think about it every day, and I'm staying positive. I want to get back this season, for sure, and at the same time, I don't want to risk anything, take any chances. But that's my plan right now, it's my goal."

KPD's article runs about a page and sheds some light on Bergeron's condition.

All I have to say is "Get well Bergy! We miss ya!"

Since I am back in New England, keeping an eye on my pops who recently got out of hospital, I am happy to read that another one of our B's might be on the ice as early as tonight.

Writes Fluto Shinzawa, also of The Boston Globe:

Andrew Ference, sidelined for 11 games with a knee sprain, believes he might be able to return after sitting out one more match.

Coach Claude Julien said Ference could be ready to play tonight against Buffalo.

"I think he's a smart player," said Julien. "He competes. He's not very big. I compare him to a player I had in Montreal in [Francis] Bouillon. Those are guys that are not big in stature, but they do play big. They compete every night. You've got [Zdeno] Chara and his reach. He's big, tall, strong. A guy like Ference, he has to compete even harder because he has to go against bigger guys."
"It's good being around the guys," said Ference, who's been the regular off-ice workout partner of Shawn Thornton (broken foot). "We're getting sick of each other. I've had to see him every day of every week. It's tough, especially with the guys being on the road. It's almost like it's the point of time before training camp. You're working out, but you can't really do anything yet."

Fluto also noted that Coach Julien was being pretty creative with his line combo's when the B's faced T.O...

During Saturday night's 2-1 win over Toronto, Julien tweaked his third line, shifting Peter Schaefer from the left wing to the right side. Milan Lucic took over left-wing duties while Phil Kessel centered the trio.
Boston Bruins' Peter Schaefer, right, sends Toronto Maple Leafs' defenseman Bryan McCabe into the boards during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Toronto, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)
"Schaef's been around a long time. He's capable of switching over there," Julien said. "That line has a little more physical presence with Lucic there. He's a young kid. We want to develop him in a positive way. He got some opportunities and a little more ice. He can play that role. I thought he had a couple good scoring chances from the slot. He played a physical game."

Steve Harris, who is also on the road with Boston, writes about the Bruins style of play in this morning's Boston Herald. Described as "boring" by some, the B's have created a distinctive game plan, and when followed to the letter, Boston has a serious chance to win:

“It was just one of those games, as a home team, that was disappointing,” said B’s coach Claude Julien yesterday as about half his players practiced at a suburban Buffalo rink. “As a road team, it was a great road win for us.”
Indeed, the Bruins are a club whose best chance for winning is to clamp down and play a simple, cautious, hard-working style - and they did just that in Toronto.
The Leafs also were checking tightly, making for a game that a national television audience in Canada couldn’t have found entertaining. But for the Bruins, beating a divisional foe to snap an 0-1-1 slide, the game was just fine.
“We kept things simple,” said Julien. “If you’re a Boston fan, you’re happy with that game. If you’re a Toronto fan, not just the loss but the game itself was a little disappointing. They didn’t get much. We didn’t get much. We had the scoring chances 10-9 in our favor. That’s not much. If we hadn’t won the game, I would have talked about us not generating much offense.
“But I thought with our team overall, we were in pretty good control of the game without the puck, the defensive part of our game. We may not have generated a ton of offense, but neither did they.”

Thanks for the update guys, I am hoping to make my own contribution after Our Boys leave the ice following pregame skate...

1:01 p.m.
Boston Bruins goalie Alex Auld makes a glove save on a shot during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007. Auld made his first start for the Bruins since being acquired by the team Thursday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)
According to Claude Julien, Alex Auld will be in net tonight and Andrew Ference will not play.

Other observations from Buffalo -- Bobby Allen was the only person missing from the skate, while Shawn Thornton and Vladimir Sobotka were the last guys off...

2:15 p.m.
My mole in Buffalo, we'll call him the Caped Crusader, says that the weather in Wing Town is cold and gray in the 30's.

He also said that he "Had some wings at Bada Bing's while watching the Pat's game...they were pretty good!"

He also said that the Sabres expect a good crowd (as usual) for tonight's action.

I am still awaiting word from my original mole in Buffalo -- Spicy Chicken.

3:24 p.m.
Jamie (from Newfoundland?) sent this along:

Hey Bish, just read a nice little article on about Glen Metropolit.  Talks breifly about him growing up in a rough part of town and how he made it to where he is now.  It is only a small excerpt from an interview for Hockey Day in Canada in February, but a nice read for us True Believers.

It is, so go here to read it.

4:07 p.m.
Hey everyone, the B's asked me to pass the following along:

The annual Boston Bruins Toys for Tots Toy Drive will be held at Bruins home games on Thursday, December 13th and Saturday, December 15th. Fans are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped, non-violent toys to the game to donate to the Marine collection sites located at the main turnstiles.

Thanks for your donations (ahead of time)!

7:05 p.m.
Courtesy of Fluto and The Globe:
Stuart-Chara (sg) Auld
Alberts-Wideman (bg) Rask

Caped Crusader agrees, saying "No Ference, Thornton, Allen or Sobotka for warmups."

He adds, "Auld is still rockin' his Coyotes gear...Place is buzzing, great crowd for a Monday!"

See you on the running recap. Go Bruins!

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