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Bruins Notebook: Feb. 25, 2010

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Wilmington, MA -- Today, the Boston Bruins began the rest of their lives -- or at least most of them did.

With USA's Tim Thomas, Canada's Patrice Bergeron and Slovakia's Miroslav Satan and Zdeno Chara in Vancouver and David Krejci and Marco Sturm given until Monday to recover, the B's had a good, solid practice with improvised lines.

"It’s...good to be back," said B's head coach Claude Julien. "I think we got an exciting finish here ahead of us with 22 games left."

Julien is most excited, ironically, to have his whole team back and healthy -- or will be when the Olympians return.

"Time off is so important at this time of year for those reasons -- for the injuries and even for the mental break," said Julien. "It was nice to see the guys come back. They were excited to be back and practice again.

"It’s a long year...and you know, normally during the regular season, you get three, four days for the all-star break, which isn’t much, but to me, this certainly has a good impact.

"I think people will probably get an opportunity to have some pretty exciting hockey from here on end, because of a lot of guys getting some time off and getting their injuries healed a little bit more and obviously some rest [to] get their energy back," he said.

Meanwhile, Julien has been enjoying the Olympic excitement from the West Coast of Canada.

"Yeah, I think probably more than ever, to be honest with you," said the B's bench boss. "I’ve spent almost every day at some point catching up or watching and it’s been pretty exciting."

It doesn't hurt that six of his players are there, either.

"Well, exactly," he said. "The thing that’s pretty impressive, is that four of those guys are going to be there until Sunday.

"And yeah, there’s a down side to it. You’ll like to see them get some rest and that’s going to be up to us. We’ll work around that and we’ll make the best of it.

"But that experience and that opportunity is something that’s important to those guys and you can’t blame him for it, so that excitement will hopefully help our team and we can benefit from it when they come and hopefully it spreads around the dressing room," he said.

Dalton Drops In
Matt Dalton, who has seen time in the ECHL and AHL after finishing his collegiate career with Bimidji State in last year's Frozen Four, made a reappearance at Ristuccia Arena today -- his first since the late summer.

"Well, it’s good – not only because he’s practicing with the NHL team, but he’s here with Bob [Essensa] and Bob is going to work with him and fine-tune him," said Julien. "He’s a young goaltender and the team is invested in him and I think it’s a great opportunity for him and it’s a great opportunity for Bob also to spend some quality time with him."

Boychuk is Back
Johnny Boychuk made his return to the B's on Thursday.

"I'm back to normal," said John with a big laugh and a smile -- as if to prove the point. "Everything's fine, I just got to wear a face shield now, but that's okay, I don't mind that.

"I knew I was pretty lucky when I saw the CAT Scan."

Johnny recalled the moment of impact.

"No, I knew that there was a one-timer coming, I tried to just move and shield for it, but it just caught me on the side of the melon," he said. "I knew I got hit in the face.

"I didn't know where, but when I looked up I saw blood and I was very scared actually."

It was very scary to watch, but John was particularly fortunate not to have sustained a concussion.

"No concussion at all," he said. "I've just got a strong rock up here." 

After "Three" Breaks Stuart Ready to Rejoin Bruins
Boston Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart, left, checks Minnesota Wild center James Sheppard, right, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)
Mark Stuart had been the B's iron man prior to breaking his sturnum earlier this season. Then, just a few games after returning, Sturt broke his finger. Then came the Olympic break.

"It was weird," said Stuart to of his extended leave. "Especially being hurt, I didn't play two weeks before the break. And then to have the break, it was weird and kind of tough to tackle, mentally, at first. But it was good, I didn't miss any more games.

"I had a chance to see some family and friends, which was good...but it's good to get back and get back on the ice."

Noting the compressed NHL schedule for the rest of the season, Stuart smiled.

"I can't think of a better way to get back into it," said Stuart. "You might as We'll jump right back in and play a bunch of games.

"Looking at our schedule, it's every other day, but it's going to be fun.

"It's going to be a month and a half long Olympic Tournament, it seems like...but the position we're in we have to win a lot of games, so I it's going to feel like the playoffs," he said.

Defensemen are Day-to-Day...
Coach Julien was pleased to see Boychuk and Stuart back on the ice and participating.

"Yeah, they’re day to day," said Julien. "I think Stuey just got his cast taken off a few days ago.

"I don’t know what they did," added Julien with a chuckle, "But he was stick-handling better than ever so they might have done something special there with that finger

"But no, he looked good. And Johnny feels good.

"Same thing with him.  He said besides the first probably four days of the injury he’s been getting better and he felt good today," said the coach.

On the ice today...
Dennis Wideman, Mark Stuart, Daniel Paille, Blake Wheeler, Byron Bitz, Matt Hunwick, Marc Savard, Vladimir Sobotka, Milan Lucic, Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder, Shawn Thornton, Steve Begin, Andrew Ference, Johnny Boychuk, Derek Morris, Tuukka Rask and Matt Dalton.
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