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Bruins Earn a Day Off

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Washington, DC -- With their 5-4 shootout win over the Alexander Ovechkin led Washington Capitals on Sunday, the Boston Bruins ended their 2008 training camp on a high note and earned some much needed rest.

A day off on Monday
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien, left, uses a hockey stick to illustrate a point. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
“Overall, I think it was a tough training camp,” said Claude Julien from outside the visiting locker room of the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. “We had a lot on our plate.

“We’ll be ready to take a day off on (Monday).”

That said, the Bruins have learned quite a bit about their club since camp opened and Sunday’s game enhanced that knowledge nicely.

“To me (having a shootout) was good,” said Julien. “I was hoping that we would win in regulation – that would have felt good as well – but that was something that went through my mind, that this was our eighth game and we hadn’t had a shootout, yet.

“You want to see your shooters get that chance to get into it, so tonight was a good night for it, and it kind of fell into place (nicely), because it ended up giving us the win.”

Although there were some lapses, Julien was pleased with what he saw on Sunday.

“I think everybody did some good things, despite some of the mistakes,” he said. “Those are things that I looked at.

“There were mistakes made, but when you see your players being mentally strong…and they refocus and do the (right) things, that’s what I like.”

Highlights for Julien included:
  • Phil Kessel played on the penalty kill unit. “He’s got speed and can put pressure on guys, and can also be an offensive threat…and if Phil can do a good job there, it just gives him more ice time. And that’s to his advantage and our advantage.”
  • David Krejci scored two goals. “We all witnessed that last year. Once he got his confidence level to where it should have been, he became a difference maker in a lot of games and he showed that again, tonight with some big goals for us.”

Manny was the man in the shootout
Manny Fernandez
Another highlight was the poise shown by Manny Fernandez.

“Tonight was a good situation where I had to battle through and my team kept putting me back in the game,” said the goalie. “That gave me a little more adrenaline.

“And I liked the outcome.”

Fernandez pointed to the shootout as his personal highlight.

“I know that it doesn’t really matter at this point, but still, we want to start on a good note,” he said. “I mean, it wasn’t pretty but we (would’ve gotten) two points and showed that we could battle through adversity.

“And I think we came out with our best period of camp in the third period.

“So, overall, team wise, it was a good step,” said Fernandez.

In the shootout, Ovechkin was the only Capitals player to score as the Bruins goalie stopped Michael Nylander and Alexander Semin to secure the victory for Boston.

“I didn’t (expect) those guys going low,” explained Fernandez. “Especially all three of them, but I think that was their (plan).

“I think after Nylander went, they thought I would be expecting the high shot somewhere and they all went five hole or tried to.”

Even with the win, Fernandez lamented the one that got through.

“I thought I had it closed against Ovechkin, but I guess there was a little hole there,” he said.

Thornton scores a smile
Boston Bruins' Shawn Thornton (22) is congratulated by Milan Lucic, center, after Thornton scored against Washington Capitals goalie Jose Theodore while Capitals' Mike Green (52) skates away during the second period of a preseason NHL hockey game Sunday, Oct. 5, 2008, in Washington. The Bruins won 5-4 in a shootout. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)
Bruins beat cop Shawn Thornton had a smile on his face following the game and it wasn't just because he scored on Washington goalie (and Bruins nemesis) Jose Theodore.

He also enjoyed playing alongside Milan Lucic and veteran center Stephane Yelle.

“Luch did a good job tonight, banging bodies,” said Thornton. “And Yeller, he’s been around for centuries, and he’s easy to play with.

“He knows what he is doing – he didn’t win two cups by accident.

“The fact that he is fifty helps, too,” said Thornton with a laugh.

For the record, while it is true that Yelle did win two cups (1996, 2001 with Colorado), he has not played for centuries (and enters just his 13th NHL season) and is not 50 years old (and is only 34).

Thornton wasn’t the only one laughing on Sunday.

“That wasn’t really how I envisioned my first goal of the season,” said Thornton of his shot. “But I’ll take it.

“I was laughing, but Jose was laughing, too.

“I think he wishes he had that one back, I am sure,” he said.

The Bruins will be back in action tomorrow in Wilmington. Call 617-624-1910 for practice times.
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