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Bear Essentials on the Road: Los Angeles, California

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Bear Essentials On the Road: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (STAPLES Center)

Grauman's Chinese Theater (
The Bruins are entering their last day in the Los Angeles area, and their second-to-last day in California. Two games in two nights is a tall task, but from what I've seen, the B's are willing to work for two more wins. JB

Where are we going?
Los Angeles was founded in 1781 by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following independence from Spain and then a part of the United States in 1848 at the conclusion of the Mexican-American War. It was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850—five months before California achieved statehood. Los Angeles is the largest city, by population, in California, and the second most populous city in the United States.

Where are we playing?
The Kings’ home is now the STAPLES center. Led by the vision of Anschutz, Roski, and then team President Tim Leiweke, the state-of-the-art downtown arena was constructed in a record 18 months and featured its first NHL game on October 20, 1999, as the Kings and Boston Bruins skated to a 2-2 tie. The arena opened up three nights earlier, on Oct. 17, with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. It is home to five professional sports teams including the Kings, the NBA’s L.A. Clippers and L.A. Lakers, the WNBA’s L.A. Sparks, and the AFL’s L.A. Avengers. It houses 18,118 hockey fans over five concourses and one million square feet.
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.
Who are we playing?

The Los Angeles Kings are beginning their 40th season in the NHL. The Kings spent their first 32 seasons (half of the 1st) playing at the old Fabulous Forum, as they became one of the six expansion teams to double the size of the “Original Six” NHL league to 12 in the 1967-68 season. 

When are we playing?
10:30 p.m. ET. It will be 7:30 p.m. here on the coast.

Who's playing for us?
The skate is at 10 a.m., check back in a few.

Is the game on?
Yes. NESN and WBZ will cover the game.

7:27 a.m. (in LA)
Working on my first coffee of the morning, and I am not even sure what time it actually feels like. Up until, say, yesterday, I was sure what time my body clock was saying, but right now, it could be 2 a.m. and I would still feel the same -- numb.

I have truly gained an appreciation for what the athletes have to go through in terms of traveling and sleep and food. Away from home, all of those factors seem so insurmountable, but the guys get by just fine.

"Well, you need to get your rest," said P.J. Axelsson in when asked how he conserves energy. "That's the key.

"A lot of food in you and a lot of rest.

"(But) if you prepare well (fatigue) may not happen. You feel tired some days, but you fight through it," he said.

Aaron Ward didn't think the club was showing any signs of slowing down.

"I don't know if we are tired," said the veteran D-man, who agreed with P.J. that off season workouts go a long way to help players through fatigue.

"The foundation of our training should obviously be substantial enough so that it get's us through this stage of the roadtrip.

"I don't think anyone should be tired."

Except your friendly reporter from The Bear Essentials, right Ward-o?

9:49 a.m.
The Bruins are in L.A. We hit the STAPLES Center about 20-minutes ago after a pretty easy foray into Los Angels traffic.

From what I gather, however, we haven't seen anything in terms of the real traffic -- knock on wood.

No hints as to who is starting, as of yet. Our Boys hit the ice in 10-minutes or so.

12:20 p.m.
We are back at the hotel. The biggest news I have to pass on before I hit lunch is that Manny Fernandez will play this evening against the Kings.

Marc Savard is still a game time decision, but seems ready to play.

More in a bit.

3:10 p.m.
Only about an hour and a half until the team leaves the hotel for the final time.

This hotel has been our home base for the last six days or so, and I would be lying if said I didn't enjoy my stay. BUT, I am genuinely looking forward to San Jose on Saturday and Massachusetts on Sunday -- God willing, we will have the day off. HA!

Looking at my notes from this morning, everyone except Bobby Allen skated, so my guess on the lines would be the following, (assuming Savvy skates):

Chara-Ward (sg) Fernandez
Alberts-Ference (bg) Thomas

That would leave Reich and Bochenski out. Again, that is my guess, but we'll have to wait for warm ups for the whole truth.

You'll notice Mr. Lucic up on the kid line with Krejci and Kessel.

"Well, he's going to get an opportunity to play on that line -- there's no doubt," said Coach Julien after the skate this morning. "I would like to see what he can do with (that opportunity) and go from there.

"We are going to do whatever we can to make this team better.

"And guys are going to get ice time based on whether they deserve more or they deserve less -- to me it doesn't really matter about contracts, it just matters about performance," he said.

Can't wait to see how things shake out, tonight!

6:14 p.m.
Everyone is back at the STAPLES Center and I have made it to the press level. What an amazing place this is -- I mean it is just incredible. Three levels of luxury suites and seating for over 18,000 people.

I had the the pleasure of running into Tom McVie and Scott Bradley -- both here to meet with Peter Chiarelli on account of their scouting duties.

Browsing through my recorder, I found a little bit where Coach Julien spoke to the media about Glen Murray.

"He's already hard on himself -- demands a lot of himself. What I saw last game was that maybe his timing is not on (but) he battled hard along the boards and got a lot of loose pucks," said Julien.  "And even on the power can see that the second efforts were there.

"And when you see those kind of things you have to give a guy an opportunity to get his groove back.

"He didn't play much in the second half last year, so it's a matter of giving him the opportunity," he said.

6:57 p.m.
Scratches: Brendan Bochenski, Jeremy Reich and Bobby Allen.

How do I know this? They were near the snacks in the press box...the rest of Our Boys will hit the ice soon.

7:07 p.m.
Boys on the ice...this is what it looks like.

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

See you on the flip side...
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