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Bear Essentials: NY Islanders 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.
Just like you, I am pretty happy that the Bruins have a home game so quickly after Tuesday.

Yesterday at the Ristuccia Memorial Arena, the team looked as if it were ready to get right back on the ice, forget about their issues with Montreal, and get back to the business of attempting to secure a playoff spot.

The final word to come out of the locker room on Boston's aversion to the Habs this season was uttered by the Bruins newest all-star.

"I can't explain that, and I can't explain UFO's," said Tim Thomas, cracking up the reporters around him and allowing another subject to be broached.

Later, head coach Claude Julien emphasized the importance of moving on, checking the standings, and realizing how important the tilt against the NYI's is for Boston.

"Right now, there is nothing we can do about yesterday," he said, before pointing out some of the more positive aspects of the last few games for the Black & Gold.

"Basically, (going back to Toronto) we looked at this as a five game segment," explained Julien. "And if we win (on Thursday) we'll have picked up seven of (a possible) ten points.

"So, to me, it becomes a pretty successful segment."

One of the reporters mentioned that after last season, this year continues to look very good.

Julien, who is clearly a candidate for the Jack Adams Trophy for coach of the year, agreed that he is pleased with much of the progress the club has made, but is not going to rest on any laurels quite yet.

"I don't think we are going to run away from anybody," said Coach. "It's going to be a tight race right until the end, and we're just trying to stay (in the playoff picture). You don't want to slide below."

And as far as a self-assessment, Coach said he is keeping his eyes on his work.

"To me, it's up to (the media) to tell me whether I have (helped the B's) or not," said Julien in a gracious tone. "I am just doing my job.

"You always hope you are doing that, but the perception (outside the locker room) is not mine to say…if you do well, people will recognize it.

"And you don't have to tell them how well you are doing," he said.

However, Coach did seem buoyed by his interaction with the fans at the Boston Bruins Wives' Charity Carnival.

"(At the Wives' Carnival) the majority of our fans liked the direction we are taking, so hopefully we can keep going that way."

11:57 a.m.
It was an optional practice this morning folks...I'll have more in a bit. JB

2:43 p.m.
Turn the page...
"We've been this route before," said Claude Julien after this morning's skate, "having to bounce back from a real poor performance (but) I think our guys are focused.

"And I think both teams know the importance of this game."

A day of practice certainly helped, but so does a desire to go into the all-star break on a positive note.

"We leave after this game, so it should make for an interesting outcome, tonight."

As a staff, the Bruins focus on the task at hand.

"You have to turn the page," said Julien. "We've played a lot more (good) games than we have of that type -- there is no reason for us to start looking back.

"We have an important game ahead of us."

One at each position
This morning, It was pointed out that Boston has a player at each position for the All-Star Game. Zdeno Chara at defense. Marc Savard at forward. And Tim Thomas in goal.

"It is (nice) and it's been great for the organization has been great for those individuals (to get) the recognition that they deserve," said Coach Julien. "To have three people represent (the Bruins) bodes well for all of us and I am sure they are going to represent us very well.

"Personally," he added, "I am very happy for them."

Scouting the Isles
Looking one bench down, Julien says he sees a very familiar visage.

"(New York is) a team that was treated with the same kind of 'respect' that we were at the beginning of the year," said Coach Julien of the scrappy New Yorkers. "And they've responded pretty well the same way.

"We're pretty close to each other (in the standings) and hoping to prove people wrong.

"They work hard every game, they're in every game and they are playing well as a team," he said.

And, of course, it's another "four point" game.

"I'm sitting here thinking that way," said Coach. "They are standing over there thinking the same thing.

"So you have two teams with the same thought process going into tonight and it's just a matter of hoping that your team plays as well as it can and gives itself a chance to win."

4:47 p.m.
I ran into Mark Stuart this morning. Um, make that, I spoke with Mark this morning -- if I ran into him that would bad.

Mr. Stuart looked as if he still had a bit of a puffy lip because of his close encounter of the third kind with a vulcanized rubber disk.

That happened before the Montreal game and despite what was probably a pretty big ouchie, Mark played.

"I don't know," said Mark when asked where and when he, and other hockey players, learn to deal with pain. "I probably just learned when I was coming up. It's part of the hockey culture I guess."

When pressed, Stuart began to piece together some reasons why hockey players tend to "heal quickly."

"There is really no time (in hockey) to sit there and nurse things. During the game you have to just go out and (get the job done).

"My face wasn't anything big, it wasn't like a hand or something like that which might hurt how I played.

Stuart pointed out Zdeno Chara, who also played through a bit of pain against Montreal.

"For a guy like Z, he's playing so much that he's just got to get right back out there."

Is there anyone out there who is better than Z in terms of pain threshold or stamina?

"I don't think so, no," said Stuwie.

6:26 p.m.
Just waiting on Our guess is Timmy in net. He did not skate this morning.

6:38 p.m.
This is where we are at:
Chara-Wideman (sg)Thomas
Ference-Ward (bg)Auld
Stuart-Hnidy Go Bruins!

Not on the ice is Peter Schaefer, who was actually one of the Bruins who skated this morning.

That's all from here, folks. Go Bruins! JB
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