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Bear Essentials: New Jersey vs. Boston

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
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.
Pretty light attendance at today's optional skate, with only Tuukka Rask, Tim Thomas, Bobby Allen, Shawn Thornton and Marco Sturm in attendance.

Sturmie looked good, besides a pretty nice shiner.

"Yah, I am going tonight," said Mr. Sturm, who will wear a half-shield on his helmet this evening. "I don't like it but, during the lockout I had to play with one, so (sighs).

"I'll get used to it."

Hopefully you stick with it permanently, Marco! Eye injuries are pretty scary.

Defenseman Bobby Allen (back) and beat cop Shawn Thornton (foot) looked like they were almost there.

Allen gave yet another reason to get back to the lineup quickly -- his wife. He credits her "persuasion" as a key to a turnaround.

Explanation: Natalie Allen is expecting.

"She does not want to hear it from me," said Bobby. "She has enough back she certainly did not want to hear any whining or complaining from me.

Mr. Thornton looked as if he was ready to play a couple of games (or at least go a couple of rounds) and said as much when asked about his convalescence.

"This is the first time in my career," said Thornton of his injury lay off. "I should say that I am pretty lucky -- eleven years and this is the first injury that has kept me out for a long period of time.

But he is sick of sitting.

"I don't need the rest this time of the season and I am working twice as hard in practice so I am not a step behind when I get back."

Across the room, Thomas was being pragmatic.

"This is the first games I've missed since the year 2000," said Thomas -- who is obviously just as annoyed at not playing as Thornton. "And it's the first injury of this type that I have ever had.

"(But) it's the human body. Not reliable (in terms of a timetable).

"Your hope is that every day it gets better and continues to progress," he said.

Unlike Thornton, the Bruins regular workhorse agreed that a little time off might be beneficial down the line, but doesn't make it easier to sit.

"It really helps that the team is doing well and we are getting wins," he said. "It's been a different point of view watching the guys on TV."

3:35 p.m.
Coach Julien was in a great mood as he spoke wit the media this morning. Win streaks will do that, I suppose -- but he is always pretty good to us.

Asked about Milan Lucic's evening, he was generous with his praise:
"I couldn't happen to a better guy last night. Because, the last three game he's really had a lot more ice time than he's had all year and (he's) excelled when given the opportunity. For him to be rewarded with that type of goal and for him to (score) the type of goals we're looking for -- it was great to see him accomplish that."

Another writer asked about the clubs position in the standings and whether Julien had imagined such success:

"I guess when you  come into a situation like this, it's about turning a team around.

"To be honest with you, we didn't set goals. But I think as we move on here, more and more, the guys are believing more in the teamwork.

 "We've been through some adversity and some injuries and everything else, but (those things) have never been mentioned…they just go out there and execute.

"So I think that so much of the credit (for the team's strong start) has to go to (the players) for their work ethic and their commitment to doing what needs to be done."

4:10 p.m.
I just want to reiterate: THE GAME IS STILL ON!

5:41 p.m.
More from coach...
"There is no doubt that it is good to be back home...but it's all about being cautious. The minute you start feeling comfortable is the minute you get yourself into trouble. We did some good things on the road these last couple of weeks. Now it's about being rewarded by doing those kind of things at home. And you don't want to ruin that by having some poor performances here.

"We know that we are going to be facing some really good teams here in the next couple of weeks at home...we just have to be ready for the challenge."

5:57 p.m.
A guess at the Dev's lineup:
White-Greene (sg) Brodeur
Martin-Rachunek (bg) Weekes


6:20 p.m.
A guess at our lineup:
Chara-Stuart (sg) Auld
Alberts-Wideman (bg) Rask
Ference-Ward Go Bruins!

6:53 p.m.
Not much else going on...if the lineup deviates big time, I will adjust it. Go Bruins!
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