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Bear Essentials: Game Day vs. Chicago

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Bear Essentials: Game Day vs. Chicago

Both clubs had morning skates and today, in my opinion, was the most "normal" day we have had since the season began. Meaning the teams skated, the coaches spoke and the rest of the day has gone smoothly. Let's hope tonight is the same. JB

Tim Thomas will start in goal for Boston this evening.

"Timmy has been extremely good for us since the first day of camp," said Claude Julien after morning skate. "He had a good start to the season and hopefully that's going to continue tonight. We look forward to having him in net…hopefully tonight he'll continue to keep doing what he's done."

The rest of the lineup should be similar to that iced during the Montreal game. Bobby Allen will be a scratch, and I expect so will Jeremy Reich.

3:21 p.m.
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.
Sometimes you get the usual, "Well, yah, they are an Original Six team" explanation when you aske the players if they are excited about playing one of the NHL's most storied franchises.

Today, however, most of the B's were excited just to be playing again, period.

"To tell you the truth...every game is special," said veteran forward Glen Metropolit. "Original Six, or not.

"It's just another game that we want to win."

Tonight's starter, Tim Thomas, said, "It is special to play an Original Six squad, but then again, playing L.A., San Jose and Anaheim was special because I had never played them least I had not been out to their rinks.

"Every game is special -- especilly at this level and you have to enjoy it, and try to take advantage of the opportunity.

"You are only here a little while."

Rookie Milan Lucic has litterally been with Boston "a little while."

But like the other Bruins He said every opponent leaves him excited to play.

"Obviously Chicago is another team that has been around a long time -- Original Six -- and that doesn't happen too often because they are in the West.

"So, I just think that this is going to be another exciting night.

"I'm having a lot of fun and hopefully the outcome is what we want it to be tonight."

4:08 p.m.
NESN will run a piece on former Bruin, Normand Leveille, on Saturday.

If you are not sure who this inspirational person is, I suggest you read this snippet from and watch for that clip during the 3:30 p.m. pregame show on Saturday:
Left-winger Normand Leveille played parts of two seasons with the Boston Bruins in the early 80s. After a brilliant junior career, he was off to a good start as a pro before he was struck by a debilitating brain aneurysm.

The Montreal native scored 79 goals in two years with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. He was drafted 14th overall in 1981 by the Bruins after notching 55 goals and being named to the QMJHL second all-star team. A few weeks later the clever youngster made the club out of his first training camp. The talented forward impressed as a rookie with 33 points and responsible play without the puck that resulted in a +16 plus/minus rating.

Nine games into the 1982-83 season Leveille was off to a bright start and averaging a point per game. On October 23 he collapsed in the Boston dressing room during a game versus the Vancouver Canucks. Doctors concluded that he suffered a severe brain aneurysm and that his motor skills, speech and comprehension were permanently affected.

This is a picture of Normand at the reacent Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament. It was snapped by photographer Alan Sullivan, who described the scene:

I was on the par three 17th hole on the Jones course and I noticed the next group coming through was going to be lead by Nomand Leveille.

I had no idea that when he arrived at the tee he would actually get up there and play golf with his foursome, but that is exactly what he did. After his 4 playing partners teed off Norman got out of his cart, strolled up to the tee put his tee in the ground and his ball on the tee. He then grabbed his club in one hand and swung away. Normand hit the ball hard and launched it to just short of the hole which was about 150 or so yards away. He turned towards his cart and smiled as the accolades from his teammates were showered down upon him.

I was totally impressed by this golf shot!

And every time I saw Normand that day he was smiling and was eager to shake everyone's hand. I was truly impressed by the man...

4:29 p.m.
After practice, Bruins defenseman Bobby Allen came in from the rink with a big grin on his face.

nBobby popped a couple of homers over the Green Monster earlier this year. He, like most Massachusetts natives, is a huge Red Sox fan.
He had been to the Red Sox game the night before and the good vibes were still flowing.

"Beckett is awesome," said the would-be Sox analyst. "Everytime he takes the mound you feel like something special is going to happen.

"And the place was electric last night -- the fans were really into it.

"It was just good to get off to a start like that, with the Rockies coming in so hot. It was good for the Red Sox to break their momentum a little bit," he said.

Big Milan Lucic made it to the game, as well -- courtesy of Mr. Aaron Ward.

"Do you believe it?" said Milan. "He just called me...I had a great time."

The rookie simply can't believe how generous Ward-o is towards the younger guys on the club and wanted me to make sure to mention it and thank him.

5:03 p.m.
I just got a new camera, and I hope to add a few pictures of my own here and there.

So, I headed up to the event floor to see what was going on -- not much. So I took a couple of shots of the quiet building:

A somewhat darkened Garden from the Zamboni door.


Another unique view, this time of a quiet Garden HDX.

I am pretty excited about the camera, particularly so I can capture some of practice and pregame skate on the road. Plus there are rumors of my going on the road trip to Florida!

5:11 p.m.
Time to head to the press box. BRB.

5:58 p.m.
Here is a recent Blackhawks lineup, and a decent guess for tonight:
Keith-Sopel (sg)Khabibulin
Zyuzin-Seabrook (bg)Lalime

6:34 p.m.
The Boys are on the ice...I don't see Bobby Allen or Jeremy Reich.  On the other side of the ice Sergei Samsonov, who was a scratch for Chicago last game, is on the ice. Khabibulin led Chicago on tho the ice.

It looks like this for Boston:
Chara-Ward (sg) Thomas
Alberts-Ference (bg) Fernandez
Stuart-Wideman-Go BRUINS!

6:57 p.m.
Scratches: Boston: Allen, Reich. Chicago: Brent Sopel, Rene Bourque, & Danny Richmond.

I am heading over to the running recap...see you on the flip side!
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