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Game Day: Capitals vs. Bruins

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
0:00 - Boston had several beautiful chances...but it ends, 4-3 Caps.

2:15 - It seemed inevitable. After not scoring on two five-on-three opportunities, Washington's Chris Bourque scores to put the Caps up 4-3.

4:01 - Sturm to the box on a trip. Nothing came of the B's PP.

6:22 - Bourque in the box (for Washington). B's have a five-on-three for 25 seconds.

7:58 - Laich in the box for Washington.

8:46 - Alberts in the box for interference. Wash is one-for-one on the PP.

11:00 - Plenty of chances, but no dice. Big Luch in front of the net was good to see. He really blocked Johnson.

13:12 - Poti in the box. B's have a five-on-three for 1:32.

13:41 - Fedorov in the box.

14:40 - That trend continued, as Nokelainen grabbed a pass from Thornton, who backhanded the puck to the Finn from behind the net. Noke, stationed near the bottom of the circle to Johnson's right, put it by the Washington goalie. It's now, 3-3, in the third.

14:53 - As the power play wound down, Wheeler, Sturm and Sobotka had at least two excellent chances.

17:13 - No matter the score, Wheeler is the story tonight. He has made some terrific plays and continues to be a "difference maker" for the B's.

Jurcina in the Box, B's on the PP.

20:00 - Johnson in goal for Washington. Theo stopped 13 of 15. Thomas remains in goal for Boston.
0:00 - Again, I feel like the Bruins should be in control of the game, particularly because of the good work by the Bergeron line. Washington has taken advantage of their opportunities, for sure.

1:37 - Matt Hunwick with a save. Standing (basically) behind Timmy, he smacks away a Washington shot that bounced high.

2:30 - Boston leads in shots, 15-14.

3:48 - Nice scoring chance for Lucic right in front of Theo, but he was basically tackled from behind. No call? Hmmmm.

5:52 - Sorry for the lapse. A little bit of back and forth, and yah, Washington has the lead, but neither team is in control.

11:22 - More nice work from Wheeler, Bergeron and Sturm, who made true pests of themselves for over a mintue in the the Washington zone.

13:12 - Brashear was patrolling in front of the Bruins net, looking for a fight.

13:48 - A missed assignment leads to a pass from behind Tim's goal . Aucoin fed it to Fleischmann (to Thomas' right, close) who went top shelf. 3-2, Washington.

16:35 - St. Pierre looked to get a stick up high and went down hard. Clark gets a penalty for high stick. The B's fist PP.

18:57 - Big Don was out there for Washington causing some havoc. He is a battleship amongst schooners out there.

There's a scoring change. Ference gets the first Boston goal, from Lashoff and Sobotka.

20:00 - Washington leads in shots 10-6. No penalties for Washington, yet. Boston has just one (Sobotka).
00.0 - We're tied. 2-2. Boston should have much more control over this game. Defensive mistakes near and around the goal cost them.

40.1 - Real nice synergy, thus far, on the Bergeron line.

2:23 - Gordon, from Washington, is in the right place at the wrong time for Thomas, who left his post and had Blake's shot go off his back and into the net. 2-2.

5:34 - There's been an uptick in the physical play -- including a good battle between Brashear and Ference. No fists, yet. But it would not surprsise me if some guys square off, soon.

7:48 - Nice goal by Wheeler. Who picked up the rebound from a Bergeron shot to Theodore's right, while Alzner from Washington was giving him the business. 2-1, Boston.

8:48 - The B's take the lead in shots. 5-4.

9:47 - Chuck Kobasew with a nice hit in the Washington end. He looks fine.

11:37 - A nice cycle results in a shot from Andrew Ference from the point (to Theo's left) and may have hit Stephane Yelle (first of the preseason) in front before going by Jose. 1-1. Yelle gets the goal. Andy and Lash get the helpers.

11:48 - Stuey, who had gone to the room, returns to the bench. Phew.

13:06 - Stuart shuffles slowly to the Boston bench. Seemed to land awkwardly on a hit.

16:06 - Tim with three tough saves in succession. Nice bounce back from the goal.

17:00 - Decent penalty kill, but with 6 -seconds left, Clark scores for Washington. 1-0, Caps. Chris Bourque, son of Ray, had the secondary assist.

18:03 - Wheeler out with on the PK.

18:55 - Boston penalty, hooking. Sobotka in the box.

19:59 - Boston wins the faceoff.

20:00 - Opening montage. It's nice to be home.

Switching to game time...

3:43 p.m.
The lines...and bear with me (pun intended) as we have centers all over the place.
Lucic-St. Pierre-Kobasew

3:31 p.m.
Tim led the B's out. Jose Theodore is in goal for Wash.

3:12 p.m.
Some breaking news: Tim Thomas in goal. Chuck Kobasew will play. There will be more cuts later today. Stay tuned...

2:51 p.m.

The Bruins have released the following players from training camp: Andrew Bodnarchuck, Zach Hamill, Mikko Lehtonen, Brad Marchand, Matt Marquardt, Adam McQuaid and Kevin Regan will be assigned to Providence.

Unsigned draft choice Jordan Knackstedt will join Providence's training camp.

Mike Egener and Ryan Stokes have been placed on waivers and, if they clear, will be assigned to Providence.

1:57 p.m.
Johnny Boychuk
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk was in this morning for an off-ice workout and I asked him about his career.

“Both organizations are great,” he said when asked to compare and contrast the Colorado Avalanche, his former team, and the Bruins. “They are great organizations to play for, and you should be honored if you are going to be playing for…any hockey team in the NHL.

“Everybody in both organizations is unbelievable.”

But Boychuk smiled widely when asked about wearing the spoked-B for the first time.

“You grow up watching guys like Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, Don Sweeney,” he said. “There’s a lot of great hockey players that came out of Boston, and you should feel honored EVERY time you put on that jersey.”

When asked to describe his own game, Boychuk said, “I just try and keep everything simple.

“I try and be physical when the time comes and I try and get my shots through.

“Basically, I just try and do my job the best that I can,” he said.

But it’s hard to keep it simple when you look at the Boston lineup and see how tight the competition for spots can be.

“It actually is like a playoff situation,” he said. “There are four or five of us and you can’t really look at what the other guy is doing.

“They are different players and they bring different things to the team that you might not.

“But you might bring something else that they might not. So it doesn’t matter what the other defensemen are doing…you just have to worry about doing your job to the best of your abilities and hopefully, at the end of the day you’re the one who is going to be staying."

1:10 p.m.
I ran into Byron Bitz in the locker room. With the limited number of people on the ice for optionals (I think just Hnidy and Chara), I got to catch up with the affable forward from Cornell and the Providence Bruins. Bitz was called into action yesterday afternoon when Phil Kessel was feeling a bit stiff. Here are a few quotes...

Boston Bruins Forward Byron Bitz
Byron Bitz
About his late addition to last night’s lineup
You’re going to get on the plane and have a nap, and then all of as sudden, you get told you are playing. Then you are thinking about playing at the Joe Louis Arena against the Red Wings. I was wide awake on the plan and I couldn’t sleep. Just really excited.

About his linemates last night, Milan Lucic and Vladimir Sobotka
With Luch and Vladi, obviously those guys played here last year and they know what they are doing out there, so I am trying to feed off them and work hard.

About learning from Milan Lucic
He’s just a straight ahead type guy. Instead of going around somebody, he goes through them or over the top of them. He gets to the net a lot and if you were watching the playoffs last year, he was dominant out there, being physical. And I am pretty much the same build as he is, so I am trying to model my game after his (because) he is just such an important part of this team.

About Lucic’s work ethic
Obviously to play at this level, you have to work hard. And I think, with him, he seems like a blue collar kind of guy, a hard nosed guy, and off the ice, if you have that kind of frame you have to work hard in the gym, away from the rink, and it’s pretty obvious he does that.

9:48 a.m.
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Peter, Phil and Manny
Following the conclusion of Friday’s win in Detroit, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien spoke about the clubs somewhat benign injury situation.

Manny Fernandez had been expected to start against the Winged Wheels, but was unable to take the ice.

Manny Fernandez
“He took a shot in the warmup, just inside the thumb, so his thumb is pretty swollen,” said the coach. “It’s not broken. X-rays showed nothing.

“Just major swelling.

“They are just going to look him again (on Saturday) to see how things are, but right now it just seems like it is a swollen thumb from a shot,” he said.

Coach Julien was also asked about Peter Schaefer who missed the third period.

“It’s the same thing as (Kessel) who was pegged to play today,” explained Julien. “They are just a little stiff.

“Hip flexors and stuff like that, and we’re at a stage where we are not going to take any chances.

“So we are going to pull guys out instead of pushing them through those things,” he said.

Julien was asked more about Kessel and insisted, “It’s very, very minor, guys. Honestly.”

Combo confusion
Many Bruins forwards (and defensemen for that matter) have changed linemates over the course of training camp. And tonight's combos should be different, too.

The latest amalgams were (from last night):
Axelsson-Savard- Nokelainen
Lucic-Sobotka- Bitz

Boston Bruins' Jeff Penner, left, and David Krejci, right, of Czech Republic, congratulate teammate Michael Ryder, center, on his goal against Detroit Red Wings during the third period of their preseason NHL hockey game on Friday, Sep. 26, 2008, in Detroit. The Bruins won 2-1. (AP Photo/Jerry S. Mendoza)
Julien was queried as to the future of the Krejci line.

“They were pretty good,” said Coach.

However, he said, “The thing is, we looked a little tired tonight, so you have to take that into consideration when you are evaluating a group of players.

“But they looked, okay.”

During the preseason, mixing and matching is definitely in order.

“It’s just experimenting with different players and different combinations,” said Coach Julien. “You’ll probably see the same thing again (on Saturday) and we’ll go from there.

“I think once we get through this stretch where we play five games in six nights we’ll probably be able to stay more (consistent) with our lines than in the last three games.”

To skate or not to skate?
The B's will have an optional practice this moring at 11:15 a.m. This practice is not open to the public.

You can always check the status of a Bruins practice by calling the media and fan information line at 617-624-1910.
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