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Bear Essentials: Game Day vs. Tampa Bay

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins

Inspiration: Sergeant Dustin Dorken, Cheering from Afghanistan
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.
Game Day: Tampa Bay vs. Boston Bruins
The guys are not tight, but they are not all that loose, either. Timmy had his game face on, so did Milan Lucic. Everyone seems willing to do what need be to get the home schedule off on the right foot JB

12:03 p.m.
The Bruins have been on and off the ice, with the only exception being Jeremy Reich -- he has an undisclosed minor injury and was kept off for precaution reasons, only. The scratches for tonight look to be Allen, Bochenski and Reich.

So, that means that tonight's lineup should be a carbon copy of Saturday's:

Chara-Ward (sg) Thomas
Alberts-Ference (bg) Fernandez
Stuart-Wideman-Go BRUINS!

And yes, Tim Thomas will be in goal.

"We want to make home ice a distinct advantage this year," said Thomas. "Coming off five road games it's almost like we have to start over again.

"It's great, what we have accomplished so far, but we have to start doing it at home and it would be nice to start off on the right foot (tonight)."

Coach Julien agreed with Tim.

"I think we are all looking forward (to being home) after a five game road trip," said Julien. "I think the guys are pretty excited to be back home and hopefully looking forward to playing a great game."

Their opposition looked like this during their last game:

Lecavalier-Prospal-St. Louis
Ranger-Kuba (sg) Holmqvist
O'Brien-Lukowich (bg) Denis
Smaby-Lundin-Go BOSTON!

Their scratches were Doug Janik and Andreas Karlsson.

Going through my notes, now -- more in a bit...

1:33 p.m.
Spoke with Shawn Thornton and even though he is a veteran of several home openers of almost every ilk, he said that he is still pumped for 7 p.m.

"It's exciting, especially for me -- it's my first real game in the Garden," said Thornton.

"I hope the (fans) are involved," he added, "but it's our responsibility to make it exciting, too."

Shawn believes that the B's will keep emotions in check, even though the temptation will be there to try and entertain instead of just playing the game.

"We are going to go out and play our game and do what we can...hopefully (the fans) will enjoy it."

2:24 p.m.
Sgt. Dorken
I thought it was time to put up Sergeant Dustin Dorken as a thank you to everyone in the United States and Canadian military who are protecting us and are unable to be with us tonight.

The below explains the scene in the picture at the top of the page and right:

...This is a photograph of Sergeant Dustin Dorken, who is perhaps one of the largest Bruins fans on this planet.  Dusty normally travels from Canada to Boston yearly to catch a couple of games in Boston, however, this year, he will be busy fighting in Afghanistan.

If you have the time and space to post this on your website, I am sure he'll get a kick out of it, and it will go a long way in boosting his morale, and the morale of the thousands of Bruins fans engaged in the war on terrorism.

Thanks in adavance,

Myke Hamm, Master Warrant Officer
Canadian Forces Military Police

I also got a letter from Dusty, himself.

...I'm flying this flag (PROUDLY, MIGHT I ADD) off my armored vehicle which runs me the risk of drawing fire not only from the enemy but from our own guys!

Over 90-percent of the Canadian Battle group on this rotation is from 5 Brigade which is primarily out of Quebec -- Obviously Habs fans!

GO BRUINS! Here is to a big start!

Sgt. D. A. Dorken
Close Protection Team Leader For
Task Force Afghanistan Commander

I am sure that Our Boys (and our fans) will see this and be inspired. Stay safe Dustin!

3:31 p.m.
Boston, Meet Milan. Milan, Boston.
Rookie power forward Milan Lucic continues to impress everyone, especially his coach. And, over the last few days, the Bruins new bench boss, Claude Julien, has had to speak an awful lot about his young winger.

"I've had to talk about this guy every day, so he is obviously doing something right," said Julien on Thursday morning.

On Wednesday, when asked if Milan will be sticking with the Bruins Julien said that no decision has been made as of yet.

"I can't declare anything because I am not the guy who has the last say on that," said Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "So it will be a matter of Peter (Chiarelli) and everyone else involved, (making) the decision.

"But I can stand here as a coach and tell you I like what I see," he said.

What's not to like?

The kid has asserted himself, and the rumor around the room yesterday amongst his teammates was that Milan was the quickest ever to have notched the coveted "Gordie Howe Hat trick" (a goal, an assist and a fight) on Friday, October 12th against the Kings.

"There's no doubt...He's got good presence, he scored a nice goal and he's been in some scraps," said Julien. "He's done everything we've asked of him.

"So, am I pleased with his play so far? Absolutely."

Boston Bruins' Milan Lucic (62) sends Toronto Maple Leafs' Darryl Boyce to the ice.
Five games into what is essentially a nine game tryout, Lucic has made it very difficult for the Bruins to send him back to juniors, but he has not let any of this praise go to his head -- he remains the same optomistic person he was in juniors.

Sitting in his locker room stall, pondering his first game in The Garden, Lucic still had a lot of "aw shucks" humility on display.

"My coach Don Hay, in juniors, taught me to stay levelheaded," said Lucic of his even keel. "Be cool. Be calm. Don't let the highs get too high, or the lows get too low.

"I think that has helped me mature into the player I am today.

"If I want to keep being successful, I have to keep the same attitude," he said.

Despite the lack of outward emotion, Lucic said his calm helps him enjoy the NHL.

"I think every day is a new day -- you don't know what to expect," said Lucic. "I think it makes it more fun and makes the outcome more exciting no matter what happens."

5:32 p.m.

Kids skating on the ice right now, giving hints about tonight's opening ceremony...

5:57 p.m.
Just a few minutes until the doors open up...
6:29 p.m.
Goalies Johan Holmqvist and Tim Thomas just led their teams onto the ice.

Tampa's new uni's are pretty nice.

Bobby Allen and Brandon Bochenski are skating in warmups, but I do not expect them to suit up for the game.

More in a bit...

7:07 p.m.
In a very nice touch, the players are being introduced alongside a youth hockey player wearing their jersey. A really nice show.

See you later, I am heading over to the running recap...Go Bruins.
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