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Monday, Monday...

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
8:31 p.m.

Marc Savard and Byron Bitz both returned to action this morning, but there was no sign of Steve Begin or Marco Sturm.

Asked when Sturm would return, Julien explained that the forward remained day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

"Sometimes day-to-day becomes a week situation," said Julien of Sturm's stay in the pressbox. "That's the way those injuries are.

"Marco is still day-to-day...and the hope is that he will start skating this week and that's all I can tell you right now."

And Begin?

"He's also day-to-day and I think we hope to get him on the ice this week as well," said the coach.

8:24 p.m.
The skating practice seemed endless on Monday, but after the club finished stretching, the Bruins spoke to their current skid with as much good humor that they could muster.

"It's just got down to competing," said Paille. "We're going to have a long week here to work at that and bring it into this weekend because [the games] are definitely crucial.

"With us not playing until Friday we can drop more in the standings and we want to improve on that."

Paille, for one, said that the B's needed the intensity of the session to put some distance between the blub and their latest loss.

"It was something we needed. We didn't deserve a day off today, for sure," said Paille. "We needed to have that type of skating practice.

"Over the last several games we haven't been backchecking as well, and it's cost us goals and games, so I think today was just to focus on that.

"Everyday is just about improving our team, so I think today we did a lot better in practice with a better attitude," he said.

B's captain Zdeno Chara was just as blunt.

"Well, for sure, it was not our best game -- one of our worst games -- we all know that," said Chara. "We have to regroup and find a way to get better.

"And with four days...we have to work on things and that started today.

"Well we all know that we need a break from that game, and we just needed to regroup and have a good practice...and a good attitude in the practice; work extremely hard and get ready for the next game on Friday," he said.

Chara was asked if it were difficult to concentrate on his own game and whether the B's were perhaps trying too hard.

"You try to help the and I feel that we're all trying a little bit more than we should and that is definitely hurting us," he said. "We're trying to do other people's jobs out on the ice and that's what happens -- you're pushing too much and you try too much."

11:45 a.m.
The skating (with pucks) has begun. The B's have started off with rink-length sprints with passing and trailing backcheckers. Back and forth and back and forth...

11:08 a.m.

There are several Bruins on the ice, already: Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask, Marc Savard, Trent Whitfield, Adam McQuaid and Byron Bitz.

They are working with goalie coach Bob Essensa and the two goaltenders are being put through their paces by the three forwards and the defensemen.

Included in the usual pile of pucks are several white pucks, which has to be somewhat disconcerting to the backstops as they try and concentrate on the shot .

And I just noticed Cam Neely standing in the corner of the rink, watching the players practice.
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