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Buffalo in the house...

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
The sun came up this morning and the Bruins are preparing for their latest tilt against the Buffalo Sabres.

After a day in which many people were questioning everything and ripping the squad up-and-down, the B’s can actually do something about it this evening.

But it is a tall order.

Our northern neighbors come in tied for second overall in the entire NHL with 72 points -- good for first in the NHL’s Eastern Conference and the Northeast Division.

The Bruins are 1-3-1 vs. Buffalo with a 6-2 loss in Boston on Oct. 21, a 5-4 shootout loss in Boston on Nov. 2, a 3-2 shootout win in Boston on Jan. 15, a 6-3 setback in Buffalo on Jan. 17 and a 7-1 loss in Buffalo on Jan. 30.

Simply put, the Bruins need to turn things around quickly, but to do so will mean beating a very good team.

"Last game’s forgotten," said forward Shean Donovan yesterday after practice. "Obviously we have to win.

"It’s simple -- we are one game under .500 and we’re not where we want to be.

"We have to get back to .500 and start climbing (the standings)," he said.

Similar sentiments were elicited around the room from nearly every player. And they know that unless the fans see the results on the ice, their own positive words fall on deaf ears.

"Every team goes through this," explained Donovan. "I’ve been on teams like the Calgary Flames, for instance, who went to the Stanley Cup Finals.

"We went through the same thing…we lost 8-1, 9-2 and everything looked terrible, gloomy.

"But you know what, you start winning and that changes everything."

Veteran defenseman Jason York, who’s off the disabled list and who looks to play very soon, had his own theories -- theories that were eventually echoed by his coach.

"It’s all mental," said York adding "everyone in this league’s a good player and sometimes, mentally, you lose ’it’ a little bit and you’ve just got to get that back…and I think the best way to do it is with hard work.

"The hockey season is a long season. You don’t want to get too up and you don’t wand to get too low.

"Right now, it’s easy to get way, way low, and if you are in the room and you see guys low, you pick them up," he said.

Who knows, maybe the short turnaround between games will help the Bruins. The coach seems to thinks so.

"I’m looking forward to the challenge of playing the Sabres again, yes," said B’s head coach Dave Lewis. "They put a beating on us pretty good and we have to see if we can respond.

Coach’s calm demeanor often belies whatever active emotions are hidden behind his façade, but if you listen closely, you might discern what his thoughts are about a given situation.

"It was a hard hit," said Lewis of the hit that put rookie David Krejci down on Tuesday. However Lewis did not indicate that he believed there was malicious intent.

However, if there was, he did not believe that there was anything he, as a coach, could do about it.

"There’s nothing that a coach can do," said Lewis.

"The players are the ones on the ice, they play the games and they decide what they are going to do as far as anything like that.

Coach added, however, "the best (thing to have done) would be to have won the hockey game."

When asked about a particular player’s confidence, or lack thereof, Lewis said the entire team, not just one player, needs a bit of a confidence adjustment.

"Our care and concern are high," said Lewis. "Our confidence is low…and there is only one way to elevate that.

"That’s through hard work," he said.

Hard work comes at practice, and in games -- nowhere else. You can’t just think about what is wrong you have to work at it.

"It’s an amazing thing with an athlete," said Coach. "Confidence makes you quicker, faster and smarter.

"Without confidence you are slower…you’re weaker, you’re timid. We have to get that mindset back…going toward ’top’ confidence.

"(The players) care and they want to change, but nobody cares about how (the players) feel, except maybe themselves," he said.

Lewis considers hockey a ’results oriented business’ and uses the phrase often. Obviously, he wants to see results right away, and the coach knows what the consequences of more loses might be.

Still, Lewis thinks that the answers are in the hearts of the players who are currently in the Bruins locker room.

"There is only one way to get out of (a funk) that I have seen in 30-plus years, and that is hard work," he repeated. "Whether you spend more time on the bike, spend more time on the ice, practicing -- change the way you come to the rink, you do a lot of different things to try to snap out of it.

"When you have no confidence there’s about 3000 things that go through your brain before you play the hockey game.

"When you are full of confidence, you do a crossword puzzle and go play," he said.

Here’s hoping there are a ton of newspapers, all turned to the puzzle page, in the locker room this morning after the skate.

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