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Game Day: Boston @ Atlanta

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009

6:32 p.m.
B's GM Peter Chiarelli reported on 98.5 The SportsHub that Milan Lucic will play tonight. Marc Savard will not play.

Look for the rest of tonight's news on the live blog. Click here to join us.

3:44 p.m.
Despite what looks like another DNP next to his name tonight, B's forward Marc Savard sounds to be in great spirits.

"I feel great out there," he told the media in Georgia earlier this afternoon. "You have to put your time in, though.

"I'd love to be playing here tonight, especially here in Atlanta, but we are going to have to wait a bit."

Savard was asked about his physical tools. Are they ready ?

"Well, I think the hands are there," he said. "So, that's okay. And I am sure the rest of the stuff is there, so getting my wind back is probably the biggest thing.

"But I feel great and I felt good today, skating, so hopefully that keeps rolling over."

And is there any pain in the foot?

"No, none at all," he said. "Actually it feels better in my skate boot than it does in walking shoes."

How about his teammates, are they ready to have him back?

"I am definitely a guy who likes to have fun and the guys are already treating me great," said Savard with an implication he was trying to lighten the mood. "Even today when I got a couple of goals out there they were cheering and yelling, 'He's ready. He's ready.'

"So I guess they were trying to squeeze me in themselves, so that is always nice to hear and, you know, we have a lot of fun.

"I miss the guys and I wanted to go on this trip even if there was a chance I wasn't going to play. So hopefully there is a chance tomorrow night," stay tuned.

3:24 p.m.
Around noontime, Coach Julien addressed his lineup situation -- here  is a more complete breakdown of his comments.

"Well, Savvy [Marc Savard] is obviously skating with the team...for the first time and you know, he's obviously looking like he is on track," said Julien. "So we'll keep plugging away with him.

"Luch is on his way and we'll see how he feels and will be a game time decision.

"He was a little under the weather, and from what we could gather it was food poisoning. So, he wasn't in the condition to travel yet, yesterday, but felt much better by last night. And we'll see how he feels once he gets here," he said.

2:33 p.m.
Okay, so I was away from the comp for a bit. Here's what we know.

Milan Lucic may play...
"He was a little under the weather," said Claude Julien who blamed food poisoning. "So, he wasn't in the condition to travel yesterday. But he felt much better by last night. We'll see how he feels once he gets here."

Marc Savard will not play...
"Not cautious, just smart," explained Julien.

Tim Thomas was the first goalie off, but Tuukka Rask was not far behind. That makes it too hard to call in terms of who may or may not be starting. Sorry.

9:32 a.m.
Okay, True Believers. Because there was no practice and nobody had any access to the players or coaching staff on Wednesday,  there are a lot of thoughts going around pertaining to the look of tonight's Bruins roster.

As of yet, nothing is official and probably won't be set in stone until gametime. So, at the very least, let's just wait to make conclusions about the lineup until the B's hit morning skate at 11:30 a.m. and Coach Julien speaks around noontime in Atlanta.

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009
9:38 a.m.

Bergeron looked angry during Tuesday's practice.
The Bruins fly to Atlanta this afternoon, and although there is no practice this morning, if anyone were going to show up at Wilmington's Ristuccia Memorial Arena for a preflight skate chances are good that it would be Patrice Bergeron.

Bergeron, who had an uncharacteristic minus-4 during Monday night's loss to the New York Islanders, started practice early on Tuesday (before 11:00 for a 11:30 a.m. start time) and left the session late (just before 1 p.m.).

That's all after leading the Bruins forwards in ice time (23 shifts for 19:21) and winning 16 of 24 faceoffs on Monday. 

But there it was. Pre and post practice, Bergeron (the B's points and goals leader with a 6-7-13 line) could be seen pounding puck after puck into the rink's nets all while he wore a look of angry determination throughout his long time on the ice.

It wasn't at all surprising to defenseman Derek Morris, a long-time opponent and current teammate of Bergeron's who, like Patrice, was out at practice early to practice one-timers.

"I do admire that," said Morris when asked about Bergeron's professionalism and work ethic. "I played with Bergy at the World Championships his first year and I didn't realize it was his first year. He was so professional.

"He's one of those kids who comes to the rink and works harder than everyone else."

Such was the case on Monday in Wilmington.

"You watch what he does out there -- whether he is tired or not, he still finds a way to get things done," said Morris. "Things like that get overlooked by people [watching] games, but not by his teammates.

"[Plus/minus] is a dumb, dumb stat...he'll bounce back. He's not worried about it. He'll be fine."

Bergeron may not have been worried about it, but he looked to be pretty angry about the B's loss to New York. As such, the fans who arrived early to watch the session saw Bergeron out on the ice honing his game.

"That's why he's a leader," said Morris. "He's a quiet leader, but he leads by example."

Forward Milan Lucic wasn't surprised, either.

"No, no, no. He's always working," said Lucic. "That's what's got him here and has made him such an elite player -- that he's willing to work that hard to be that good. So, that's why he's a leader on our hockey club and he leads by example that way.

"I mean, it's tough. They've had a pretty good stretch of games...but maybe he feels as if he needs to work.

"But it's not unusual for him, at all. He's always working to get better and he always wants to be better. And that's why he does those types of things," he said.

Perhaps the most important result of Bergeron's early arrival (and the work ethic displayed by many of the Bruins) was the impact on the young players on the B's.

For instance, rookie forward Brad Marchand definitely noticed the B's assistant captain working his tail off on Tuesday.

"It just shows how dedicated he is," said Marchand. "He always wants to get better and he's always leading by example.

"That's what a team needs -- especially when you are having a tough time. You need somebody to step up...and that's what he is doing."

Marchand took the sight of the B's veteran working so hard as a lesson.

"When he was out there, I was like, 'Man, maybe we should all be out there early working on little things. If one of our best player's doing it, why can't we?'" said Marchand, who himself stayed after the main session to work on his game. "It definitely makes everyone think twice and want to follow in his footsteps and try and continue to get better."

Read Tuesday's blog, here.
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