For sure, three days off seemed luxurious to the players (and admittedly some members of the press), but Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien didn't think the break was anything special.
"It may be unusual for some people," explained Julien. "In the American hockey league the last two years –- I was there we had five straight days off –- and we came back, had a morning skate and played three [one year] and three [another year] and both year won all three games.
"You don’t get out of shape in three days, but you certainly get your rest.
"Today, we got a chance to practice, get the rust out, so there’s no excuse and there’s no reason for us not to do good. I think if anything, especially with how long the season went last year for this team, they can certainly benefit from the rest," he said.
For the Bruins, that important rest was both mental and physical.
"Yeah it’s always nice to take a break, a breather from everyday being at the rink and things like that," said forward Chris Kelly
, who echoed his teammates who spoke before the B's flight to Phoenix. "It’s nice to be around your family and not have to worry about what’s going on in the game for just a few days."
But given the B's recent success (and, of course, the club's 20-2-1 record since the beginning of November) Kelly was asked if he wished that the B's could have played through the holidays.
"There’s part of you that wants to just keep rolling, keep playing with the way things have been going – we’ve been playing well," admitted Kelly. "That being said, I think the break was nice for our guys to get a bit of rest, refocus, and realize there’s still a lot of hockey to be played."Adam McQuaid
agreed with the veteran NHLer.
"It’s almost 24/7 –- you’re go, go, go –- busy travelling," said the defenseman. "It’s nice to completely get a break away from everything, relax and get reenergized."
A little bit of the energy at today's practice session seemed to have come from the excitement created by the camera's that followed Bruins alternate captain Patrice Bergeron
from Boston to Bear Force One to Jobing.com Arena.
But break or no, Bergeron (who worried that NBC's cameras would capture about six hours of action and about 30 hours of the him sleeping) said that the B's were uniquely positioned to continue their fine play.
"Something we learned over the past year and over the playoffs is as soon as it’s over," said the center of each victory or loss.
"It’s something important to play the game and as soon its over, you have to worry about the next one and same thing this year," added Bergeron. "We’ve been doing it, and it’s been successful so we’re going to make sure we keep doing same thing."