There was an optional morning skate this morning at the TD Banknorth Garden, and while today’s practice differed only in that Tim Thomas
was last off the ice -- starting goalies tend to leave the ice first, and Hannu Toivonen is in the barrel, tonight -- I have good news to report on a couple of fronts.
Brad Stuart is in town and will play this evening. Zdeno Chara
is going to play.
"There is always a chance that you could (aggravate the injury again), that’s the risk you take," said Chara in front of his locker room stall after the pre-game skate. "You can’t be thinking about that. You have to focus on the game, play hard and whatever happens, happens."
Chara believes you just have to play the same way you usually would play.
"If you start thinking about it or playing ’safe’…then you might (have a bigger) chance to get hurt," Chara explained.
It was hard for Chara to watch the last game, for a few reasons.
"You always want to play," he said. "And you hate to see your team lose.
"That’s one thing that any player (who’s hurt), when he’s watching and the team is losing, you always want to help the team and be there.
"We have to pick it up, we all know that. We’re at the halfway point of the season for us and, you know (what), we are not ’there’ where we want to be," said Chara.
The addition of Stuart, shortly following his family’s addition, should go far toward ’picking things up.’
"It’s been tiring, but at the same time it’s a pretty amazing experience," said Stuart of his cross-country stork chase. "I’m thankful that I’ve been able to be there for her.
"So obviously, I have the Bruins to thank for that. It’s been great," he said.
What do the Bruins need to do differently, Brad?
"We need to realize that although we’ve done some good things, and had our ups-and-downs, we’re not where we need to be," he explained, echoing Chara. "We need to be more consistent and we need to be more committed and responsible as a team.
"That goes on the defensive side of the puck and the offensive side of the puck -- everywhere.
"We haven’t been consistent enough to consider ourselves a good team, yet. We need to do it every night.
"We’re halfway through the season and we haven’t figured it out. It’s about time," he said.
For Boston, crunch time is NOW, not next month.
"From the fourth place to the 11th or 12th place it’s so close (in this conference), said forward Wayne Primeau. "Every game is important."
And as far as Toivonen starting, the Bruins know that most good teams have two solid goaltenders.
"It’s time for him to get into the mix," said Lewis of Toivonen. "If we’re going to get into the playoffs we’re certainly going to have to have two guys."Scouting the Isles
"They have a great goaltender in DiPietro," said Primeau. "I think that gives them a lot of confidence. But they (also) have some veteran D with Sean Hill and Tom Poti.
’They’re a good defensive team and they work hard.
"(Islanders coach Ted Nolan is) definitely a motivator and a guy that the players (want) to play for," said Preems.
The Islanders snapped their six-game losing streak with a 5-3 win at NY Rangers on Jan. 9. That followed loss to Ottawa (2-0 Dec. 27), New Jersey (2-0 Dec. 30 and 4-3 Jan. 4), Buffalo (3-1 Jan. 1), Philadelphia (3-2 Jan. 2) and Carolina (4-2 Jan. 6). They are 5-7-0 in their last 12 games overall.
The Bruins host the Isles tonight at the TD Banknorth Garden in the second of four games between these teams this season and the first of two games of the series in Boston. The Bruins are 20-17-3 overall with a 12-8-1 record on home ice. The Islanders are 20-19-3 overall this season with a 9-11-1 record on the road. A sad announcement
The Boston Bruins Pan Mass Challenge Pedal Partner, Jeff Hayes, passed away this morning. He was 18.
The PMC Pedal Partner program was designed to connect PMC cyclists with the very reason that they ride and raise money. And this year the Bruins cycling team was paired with Jeff, a then 17- year-old Sandwich High School hockey player, who was battling Ewing’s Sarcoma, a malignant (cancerous) bone tumor.
The reverberations of Jeff’s passing are just being felt throughout the Garden. In true Bruins style, Jeff was a “grinder." Time-after-time he beat back the disease that was afflicting him and he fought it until the very end.
"The news of Jeff Hayes’ passing is hard hitting for me personally," said Paul Stewart, Director of Development for the Boston Bruins Foundation. "As a friend and a cancer survivor, as well as a member of the Bruins community, our admiration for his courage in the face of a harsh enemy, as well as the commitment of his family to Jeff and to cancer research, has no boundaries or limitations.
"In honor of Jeff we must respect the commitment he made to trying to defeat this disease in his life. We must eliminate this disease so that sad moments such as this cannot effect future generations of our children.
"We owe this to him," said Stewart.
BostonBruins.com will bring you more information on arrangements for Jeff as soon as they become available. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his friends and family.