- The Bruins hit the ice for practice today at TD Garden - and for the first time in a while, all of the B's were present, including Shawn Thornton
, Brad Marchand
and Dan Paille who have all been cleared to practice this week, but have not yet been cleared for Saturday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
As the B's were leaving the Garden postpractice, the snow was starting to fall, leaving a white dust covering the famous Bobby Orr statue out front - and shortly thereafter, it was announced that Saturday's game had been moved from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. due to the weather.
Boston still held business as usual though, making sure they were prepared for Saturday's game.
Today's practice saw the Merlot Line reunited, wearing their usual color scheme for the first time in more than a week, while the top three lines saw some different line combinations.
Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand were all in top line white, while the second line saw Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron and Rich Peverley in gold.
The third line had Chris Kelly, Chris Bourque, Jamie Tardif and Jay Pandolfo (still with Boston on a Professional Tryout Agreement) in grey, while Lane MacDermid suited up in merlot with Thornton, Paille and Gregory Campbell.
All seven defensemen were on the ice, with normal pairings (Chara-Boychuk, Seidenberg-Hamilton, Ference-McQuaid) and Aaron Johnson as the extra D.
Marchand, Thornton, Paille Game-Time Decisions
"Each day, it’s getting a little bit better, so that’s a good sign," said Marchand, on the day-to-day injury that has kept him out since he collided into the boards in the second period of Saturday's game in Toronto. "It’s just something that’s aggravating me a bit, and I just want to make sure that it’s not going to affect my safety out there."
"The guys did a great job in Montreal the other night and pulled out a big win, and that makes it a lot easier to sit out when the team can win without you," the winger added. "You want to play through anything, so it doesn’t matter what’s going on, you want to play…nobody wants to sit out."
"He felt really good today," Coach Julien said following practice. "To the point where we’ve got to consider him being a possibility tomorrow."
Shawn Thornton was happy to finally join his teammates out on the ice, and enjoyed being alongside his merlot linemates.
"I feel good, I feel really good. I've been on the ice today so we'll see where we go," said Thornton. "First time with all the boys in a week, so it's great. It's been a long week skating by myself. It was nice to be back in the swing of things."
Danny Paille also gave an update on his condition, after getting high-sticked by Tyler Meyers in the Sabres-Bruins game on January 31.
"I feel really good, I have no problems, but I have to speak with the training staff today and Claude and see if it's the right decision," he said, on the ability to play Saturday night against the Lightning.
"I looked at the replay, he was like five feet away from me, he's got such a long reach and hit me," Paille said on the unlucky circumstance of the injury. "It's a part of hockey that I've learned to deal with, certain types of injuries and certain types of pain. Some are more serious than others, it comes with the game that we enjoy that about it."
"It was good, just to have that practice feeling with the guys, handle the contact. I definitely enjoyed it."
Besides the Merlot back together, the other lines were jumbled a bit - a routine move by Coach as some of the guys are getting healthy again - and while he decides what to do moving forward for upcoming games.
"It obviously worked out really good in Montreal. There was obviously some chemistry there, and the guys did a great job," said Marchand, on the lines being switched up - both at the end of the Montreal game and today in practice. "And when guys are out - we’ve got three guys that are out now - but sometimes things need to switch up, and I thought we did a great job doing that at the right time."
"It was great to get the immediate results from making a line change there," added Milan Lucic, who finished the third period against Montreal with Tyler Seguin as the other winger on his line with David Krejci. "It only took a few seconds for Seguin to get a goal there in the third period."
But for the Bruins and the familiarity on their roster, no matter who they play with, they know that they will do whatever is asked of them by Coach Julien.
"I think for us, you're expected to play a certain way no matter who you play with, so if that's what it takes to maybe spark a guy, maybe a change sometimes needs to be made."
"I feel we play better, obviously, when the puck is going in the net and the team’s winning," said Krjeci, on the spark he helped create against the Habs, getting an assist on Seguin's goal and then scoring a game-winner of his own.
"It’s a good feeling, and we know we’ve been doing some good things, but we’ve still got something more to give to our team, so we’re just trying to keep our feet moving and keep trying to get better every game."
Coach Julien also commented on the line switches, and said not to read too much into the combinations.
"I think I can honestly tell you that I’m not 100 percent on those lines right now," said Julien. "There could be some changes. There’s players that we’re going to have to make decisions on, for sure, tomorrow, in or out, so those could change."
"So there’s room there for changes, but it's not a bad thing this season to put players with different players at times because it may happen. So, to me, it didn’t bother me to move players around a little bit and get them used to each other."
"Most of the guys have been with me for a long time, so they just react to where they’ve got to play, and they go with it. A lot of times, it had nothing to do with the individual more than it has to do with injuries and what could be and what could not be, so that’s why the changes were made today."
Stay tuned to Twitter @NHLBruins as we provide updates on lineup info heading into Saturday night's game.
Boston Blizzard 2013
With the snow beginning to fall as practice and interviews wrapped up at TD Garden, Coach Julien and the players were asked by media if they had ever encounter a similar situation before during their hockey careers.
"It's our job to be ready," Milan Lucic said, when asked about the forecasted snow storm. "I'm pretty close, thankfully. Good thing is everyone on the team lives in the city, which is pretty convenient for us."
"Even if I need to just throw my snow shoes on and get to the rink," he said with a smile.
Coach Julien recounted one time when he was with Moncton in the early 90s and a huge snow storm hit…
"At some point in your career you’ve been through that where there’s been snowstorms and caught where there was through a trip on a bus and you had to pull over, and there’s been different situations that have happened where we’re not able to leave town," said Coach Julien.
"I was on a team in Moncton back, I think in ’91 or ’92, where they broke the record. I think it was five-feet, six inches of snow had come down, and the whole town was closed, and our trainers and some of the people were stuck in the rink for a couple of days eating out of the concession stands."
"Nothing like a good hot dog, right?" he said with a smile, as he told the story from his press conference podium at TD Garden to media seated in front of him.
"I just actually made it out myself and made it back home because there was a morning skate, and I had to plow through snow, but I‘ve been through it, and it was interesting because the only thing that would clean the streets were pay loaders. There was too much snow for the plows, so it was an interesting storm, and I remember that very clearly."