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Bruins Saturday Notebook

by Angela Stefano / Boston Bruins
A “Military Makeover”

Military members and their families will be honored during tonight’s game as part of the Bruins “Seats for Soldiers” program.

Fans donated over 1,200 tickets to tonight’s Military Appreciation Night game.

But yesterday afternoon, four soldiers were treated to a “military makeover” at the swank Barbershop Lounge on Newbury Street.  Bruins Phil Kessel and Blake Wheeler joined Specialist Matthew Maguire, 28; Private First Class Adam Stebbins, 21; Senior Airman Douglas Freeman, 24; and Sergeant Harold Cooper, 31; for a relaxing couple hours of haircuts, shaves and hand treatments.

All of the four will be in attendance at tonight’s game, except for Maguire, who will be celebrating his wedding day.  The rest of his platoon, though, will be at the game.

“This is a unique experience,” Maguire said yesterday after donning a black bib and being treated to a haircut.  “Being in the military, we’re not used to this.  It’s definitely relaxing.”

Maguire is scheduled to leave for Iraq in the upcoming weeks. Cooper and Freeman recently returned from Iraq, while Stebbins just came back from service in Afghanistan.

“It felt kind of like home (inside),” where the soldiers would play poker and watch U.S. sporting events, said Freeman, “until you walked outside into a sandstorm or something.”

Kessel and Wheeler chatted with the four soldiers and signed autographs for the stylists – one of whom gave "Kess" a “fauxhawk.”

“They do so much for our country, so when they get home, we’re almost obliged to help them out,” said Wheeler.  “They put their lives on the line for us.  I hope a lot of people are bending over backwards for these guys, because they really deserve it.”

The soldiers and their families will also be honored tonight with photo montages and video messages on the Garden HDX, as well as Zamboni rides during intermissions.

Two Hat Tricks in Two Weeks   
Milan Lucic
It may have taken Milan Lucic 85 games to score his first NHL hat trick, compared to rookie Blake Wheeler’s 13, but "Luch" wants to make sure people know his was more "impressive."

“I kind of threw a shot at him, saying that one of his goals was empty net,” said Lucic, poking fun at his teammate after yesterday morning’s practice.  “My hat trick, I got it all on goalies.”

Wheeler’s hat trick was the quickest one by a Bruins rookie since the 1987-1988 season, when Craig Janney scored three goals in only his fifth career game on March 12.  At the ripe old age of 22, "Wheels" is the oldest member of the Bruins to score a hat trick this season.

The two youngsters combined for the B's first multi-hat trick season since the 2002-2003.  That year, Glen Murray, Marty McInnis and Martin Lapointe each had hat tricks.

Wheeler said this morning that he took the puck from the third goal back to his new apartment.

“I have it in a bag in my apartment,” he said.  “I’ll probably give it to my parents when they come here.”

Patrice Bergeron’s Day Off
Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron, right, celebrates his goal with teammate Michael Ryder. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Jeff McIntosh)
After a month -- make that seven months -- of hard work, Patrice Bergeron was given the day off from practice yesterday.

“I’ve been going hard since April, so I guess coach wanted me to have a little day off,” he said this morning. 

Head coach Claude Julien emphasized yesterday that a rest day was important in Bergeron’s recovery period, which is still continuing.

“He’s been pushing since the beginning of the summer, so I think at some point there, we need to make sure we give him a little bit of rest,” Julien said.  “But no, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with him.”

Bergeron said he rode a bike for a little bit, but, other than that, took the day to relax – even though he wasn’t sure he needed it.

“He’s Coach,” Bergeron said with a grin.  “You can’t really fight him on it.”

Hats are cleared from the ice after Boston Bruins left wing Blake Wheeler's hat trick in the third period against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008. The Bruins beat the Leafs 5-2. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
After changing his number from 42 to 26 earlier this week, Blake Wheeler attributed the swap to fellow forwards from the University of Wisconsin – Thomas Vanek among them – who wore the number there.

When the Bruins face off against the Sabres tonight, Wheels will get a chance to share the ice with two of  the former number 26's from Buffalo. Teammate Phil Kessel and Buffalo's Thomas Vanek.

“He’s such a tremendous player,” said Wheeler of Vanek, “but at the same time when you’re out there, you’ve got to do your best to try and shut him down, which is easier said than done.

“But it’s definitely cool to see him out there.”

Vanek returns to Wisconsin over the summers, so Wheeler got a chance to work out and skate with him last summer.
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