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Everybody Was Pulling Their Load

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
WILMINGTON, MA -- There's no doubt that getting players back from injury would be a big help to the Bruins, even though the club has seemed to find its stride during wins on Tuesday (in Toronto) and Thursday (over the Sabres).


But despite returning to the ice over the past few days, B's Head Coach Claude Julien didn't update the timetable for forward Daniel Paille or defenseman Andrew Ference.

"I know they’re day-to-day," said Julien, who hadn't yet spoken to the Bruins medical staff when he spoke to the press on Friday afternoon. "But I would still have to look at where they are tomorrow morning and decide whether we’ll put them out on the warmup and make that decision or not."

In the meantime, Julien was asked if there were any lingering issues with Brad Marchand, or with any of the Bruins who took the day off from a decently attended optional skate at Ristuccia Arena yesterday afternoon.

"I think four out of the last five weeks of the season, we’re averaging four games a week," said Julien. "Four in seven days catches up and for now we have to stick with what we talked about - giving guys an opportunity to rest when we can, and that’s just as important as practicing.

"We gave that option [on Friday], and I think a lot of players that play a lot of minutes stayed off and I just want to make sure I see a good effort from everybody.

"So whatever needs to be done for each individual, that’s their option," he said.

Goaltender Marty Turco continues to work toward being an option for Julien in the crease and Friday could be seen turning puck after puck away during various shooting drills.

"We just gave him a lot of opportunities to work on his timing and his posture and everything else," said Julien. "That’s what [B's Goalie Coach] Bob Essensa was assigned to do.

"Today he looked better than yesterday, and he looked better than the day before.

"So certainly, I like what I’m seeing from him right now," he said.

As far as the B's lone healthy scratch on Thursday, defenseman Greg Zanon, Julien said his reason for sitting the defenseman was so that fellow blueliner Mike Mottau could see some ice time.

"We’re trying to do a little bit what we did with Hnidy last year, trying to keep everybody as fresh and sharp as we can," said Julien. "Every once in a while, you pull a guy out, you put another guy in and when Ference is back, we have eight D.

"So we just have to monitor that in a way we’re going to try and do the best we can so guys don’t sit around too too long."

Despite having a seat in the press box previously, Mottau looked solid.

"I didn’t mind his game last night," said Julien. "He’s a smart player, he makes smart plays, good decisions, he finishes his checks when he has too, and I thought he was good [Thursday] night. I really did.

"That’s exactly what we need from the players that aren’t playing every night -- is that when they come in -- [that] they remain sharp and it starts in practice and he’s been working hard in practice, making sure he kept himself sharp."

That sharpness throughout the lineup allowed Julien to roll all six of his defensemen and all four of his lines consistently throughout the B's 3-1 victory over Buffalo.

"The reason we were able to do that is because everyone was pulling their load – no one was really a liability and I think it allowed us to spread our ice time around," said Julien. "When we took that lead and everyone was playing well, you could still continue to do that and when the schedule is what it is right now, it’s important to have those types of opportunities to spread it out and not over utilize your players."
 
And that ability to utilize the B's entire toolkit could be key against another desperate and talented opponent on Saturday -- the Washington Capitals.

"We’re certainly looking forward to keeping that momentum going," said Julien. "At the end of the day you want to win hockey games but what you want most of all is to see your team compete hard every night and be one of the better teams.

"I think we’ve been pretty good at that lately."
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