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Bear Essentials On the Road: Halifax, Nova Scotia

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Halifax, Nova Scotia (Halifax Metro Cenre)

Off to Halifax this morning boys and girls. And I'll tell you the truth -- anytime the Bruins take on the Habs, I am a happy guy. In the same way that a Boston University vs. Boston College or Red Sox vs. Yankees makes the heart go pitter-pat, B's vs. Habs is always a terrific take. We are in Boston at the moment, but will be on a plane really soon. JB

Halifax, Nova Scotia (
Where are we going?

Halifax, the capital region of Nova Scotia, is a lively and colorful combination of urban and rural living at its best. Governor Edward Cornwallis and 2500 settlers created Canada's first permanent British town here in 1749, on the scenic shores of the world's second largest natural harbor. Beyond the harbor, the Regional Municipality stretches both south and west along the South Shore, and east through the coastal villages of the Eastern Shore and the pastoral landscape of the Musquodoboit Valley.

Boston Bruin Glen Murray was born in Nova Scotia, as well as prospect Brad Marchand. Marchand, along with prospect Andrew Bodnarchuk still live in Halifax, and Bodnarchuk even plays for the Halifax Mooseheads.

Hockey greats Sidney Crosby and Al MacInnis are also from Nova Scotia.

Where are we playing?
Since opening its doors in February of 1978, Halifax Metro Centre has become a first class multi-entertainment, sports facility and exhibition centre connected to the World Trade and Convention Centre, in a strategic downtown location at the centre of metro business activity. With seating capacity in excess of 10,000, Halifax Metro Centre grew to include 11 ExecutiveSuites in September 1996 and opened 20Sky Boxes and a VIP lounge in January 1998 marking the 20th anniversary of the facility. The Halifax Metro Centre is home to the QMJHL’S Halifax Mooseheads.

Who are we playing?
The Montreal Canadiens are one of the founding Original Six members of the NHL. The franchise is officially known as the Le Club de Hockey Canadien. Founded in 1909, eight years before the founding of the NHL, the Canadiens are oldest continuously operating club in the league, and they have won more Stanley Cups than any other team in the NHL (24). The Canadiens have many French nicknames, but their most common nickname is the Habs, coming from “Les Habitants.”

Who is playing for us?
From the looks of it, meaning who is on the plane, the lineup should be:

Goalies (2)
35 Fernandez
40 Rask

Forwards (13)
11 Axelsson
37 Bergeron
43 Karsums
81 Kessel
56 Nokelainen
12 Kobasew
46 Krejci
62 Lucic
27 Murray
91 Savard
72 Schaefer
16 Sturm
51 Thompson

Defense (6)
41 Alberts
38 Allen
21 Ference
48 Hunwick
45 Stuart
44 Ward

Looks like one guy extra in the forwards.

Is the game on?
The game will be broadcast on WJAD (Canadiens English broadcast) and should be available on or

Sunday snippets...
8:08 a.m. In an empty, semi-darkened TD Banknorth Garden, I am starting my day. But both the players and the equipment staff have been here for some time and all of us are preparing for both the practice at 8:30 and the bus at 10:15.

Keith "Babs" Babineau, whose dad and brother are the team's photographers, is an assistant equipment manager for the Bosotn Bruins. This morning, he is my only company as he prepares the home bench for practice and helps pack those players who are traveling.

For those of you who have been in empty arenas, you understand this. There is nothing more peaceful than a huge hockey rink, empty, except for the sounds of compressors for the ice and air conditioning.

I could fall back to sleep right now -- but I can't. I have to work on my game preview and watch the non-playing players practice.

Check back in a few for an update and the full-on Bear Essentials: On the Road.

8:20 a.m. Marty Karsums is the first on the ice, and just dumped a water jug full of pucks onto the fresh, unused ice and is juggling one of them as he traverses the quiet surface.

Jonathan Sigalet joined him shortly thereafter, and the scrunch, scrunch, scrunch of their skates is clearly audible over the quiet din of the empty rink.

Marty just shot a puck at Jon, "playfully," and the rest of the crew is about to join the pair who first hit the ice.

8:33 a.m. On the ice, right now:
Glen Metropolit
Tim Thomas
Zdeno Chara
Dennis Wideman
Brendan Bochenski
Jonathon Sigalet
Shawn Thornton
Mark Mowers
Bobby Allen
Mikko Lehtonen
Martins Karsums
Vladimir Sobotka
Tuuka Rask
Jeremy Reich
Jeff Hoggan

Coaches Bob Essensa and Geoff Ward are manning the wipe board this morning.

8:39 a.m. Just met Jules, a student from Northeastern who no doubt took the trek from his dorm on the Green Line to catch Sunday morning's open practice. He joined a number of other fans who are excited to see Our Boys in this environment.

9:07 a.m. The B's are just running through some 2-on-0's that turn into a 2-on-1 and finally into a 3-on-2. Lots of skating on that one.

9:54 a.m. Bus is about to be boarded, more from the plane.

11:27 a.m. This time I am on the other side of the plane and the view is ALL water. This is somewhat disconcerting, but no more than the white cliffs of Newfoundland were.

The weather is gorgeous, and there are virtually no clouds to be seen.

11:27 a.m. Islands! Not sure which islands, but it is good to see land again.

12:06 p.m. We are definitely over Canada, and descending towards Halifax. The plan should be landing very shortly. Quick trip!

2:21 p.m. (Halifax time) What a gorgeous rink. I love it. Reminds me of something out of Youngblood. I am really impressed with the home of the Halifax Mooseheads.

2:48 p.m. The Habs lineup (by number)

Goalies (2)
31 Price
41 Halak

Defense (6)
3 O'Byrne
8 Komisarek
24 Cote
25 Dandenault
32 Streit
44 Hamrlik

Forwards (12)
6 Kostopoloulos
14 Plekanec
20 Smolinski
21 Higgins
28 Chipchura
40 Lapierre
46 A. Kostitsyn
59 Grabovski
62 Milroy
73 Ryder
74 S. Kostitsyn
80 Maxwell

Keep it here...

3:29 p.m. The B's came out of the locker room led by Manny Fernandez and the Habs left their dressing room led by Jaroslav Halak. Carey Price is Halak's backup and Tuukka Rask is Manny's.

I am going to start on my running recap in a bit (you'll see it on space #1 on the front page), but I will post the lines here at the top of the hour.

4:44 p.m. I am a little late, but things got pretty interesting pretty quickly.

Here are the B's lines:


See you on the flip side...

10:49 p.m. Just got back.

The B's have tomorrow off and will not hold practice, so yours truly will be able to do some catching up with some projects. I have a few MP3's in the can and will follow up on the B's roster moves from earlier today. Also, there is plenty to report about Boston's exhibitions from the past week, so keep checking in at
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