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Bruins Go to Work in a Toyota

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Claude Julien instructs Andrew Alberts.

 BruinsCast: Bergy and Milan

This morning (L.A. time) the Bruins traveled to the Toyota Center (a.k.a. the Kings practice facility) by bus and began their prep work for this week's upcoming games against the Anaheim Ducks (Wednesday), the Kings (Friday) and San Jose Sharks (on Saturday).

It was a high-paced practice from the word go, as head coach Claude Julien made good on his promise that there would be no laurel resting after the club's victory over Phoenix on Saturday. Coach had his megaphone voice going today and really put the guys to work.

Missing were practice were: Marc Savard (core injury), Peter Schaefer (flu-like symptoms)

Coach Julien said that Savard's injury would continue to be evaluated and that Schaefer should return to practice, tomorrow.

Today's lineup looked like this:

Gold: Bergeron, Bochenski, Lucic, Metropolit, Murray, Sturm
White: Axelsson, Kessel, Krejci, Thornton
Black: Alberts, Allen, Chara, Ference, Stuart, Ward, Wideman
Goal: Fernandez, Thomas

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.
The session began with a semi-sprint around the perimeter of the rink, and was followed by another breakneck paced shooting drill where three skaters carried the puck into the offensive zone and, in succession, put shots on the goalie.

Other drills created shots to the goalies through traffic.

Coach Julien could be seen giving intense instruction about neutral zone play and defensive assignments.

My favorite drill today involved 5-on-5 play down low and created some wicket physical battles, the best of which was between Shawn Thornton and Zdeno Chara -- it was all in a day's work, however, and they exchanged stick pats when they were through.

Ran into a hockey fan named Ron Fechter. He and I had a really nice chat about hockey and all sorts of other things about the area. For instance, according to Ron, it's a little known fact that his children's high school, Mira Costa, has produced more Olympians than any other in the U.S.

"For volleyball," he said, "not hockey."

The Kings facility is outstanding, with at least two rinks that I saw, and an attached, and also a covered, street/roller hockey rink.

One very nice touch: A large poster with the names "Ace" and "Mark."

Ace is for former Bruin Ace Bailey and Mark is for Mark Bavis, a former Boston University standout. Both men were members of the Kings staff who were lost on September 11th.

The end of practice included a bunch of sprints, one after the other, after the other. Coach Julien gave the boys one way to get out of the first sprint, however, and anyone who could make a rink-length shot into the distant goal was excused.

Everyone still had to make a bunch of sprints, however, because nobody makes a rink-length shot that often.

Finally, the B's were through several rounds of sprints with cool down laps between the anaerobic ones.

Burger Time
Defenseman Aaron Ward had a surprise for the boys when they got off the ice -- In and Out Burgers! He had asked the LA King's equipment wrangler Dana Bryson (from Medford, Mass. and Northeastern University, by the way) to grab some of the sought after sliders and they were waiting in the locker room. Ward-o also allowed me and Rob Simpson to partake.

The best burger? Many of the B's think so. (
That is a tasty burger!

And the rest of the guys agreed.

"That's pretty good," said Andrew Alberts. "My first experience at In-N-Out Burger and I am pretty satisfied right now."

"It's good," said Tim Thomas, who is purported to be the hamburger king on the team. "(Strength and Conditioning Coach John) Whitesides won't like it though.

"It tastes great right now...and I am not going to compare it to anything else."

Aaron Ward, the purveyor of today's treat said that he "was the wrong one to ask. I know too much about them. And that's a bad sign.

"It's a tradition when you come to the West Coach and most teams that I've been on somehow you either make your way there during the road trip or someone brings them to the locker room.

"I did it last year when I was with New York and the year before in Carolina," he said. "It's a treat to have them."

It sure was. Thanks again Ward-o!

After a free afternoon, the B's return to the ice tomorrow morning.
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