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Practice Notebook: Seidenberg, McQuaid Both Make Trip to Detroit

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

WILMINGTON, MA - The Bruins hit the ice for practice on Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena with a full group. Both Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg have integrated back into team skates, but have yet to get back into game action since each suffering lower-body injuries.

The good sign? Both were set to travel to Detroit on Tuesday, as the B's prepare to face the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday night.

"Well they’re both going to make the trip with us," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following practice. "So they’re going to be on the ice [Wednesday] morning and I’ll see where both of them are at that point and make that decision then."

McQuaid has been out since November 9, missing the past eight games. He's close to a return.

"I think McQuaid is obviously inching a little bit closer, but that doesn’t mean [Seidenberg] won’t be ready either. I think he felt really good today so we’ll see how he is [on Wednesday]."

Seidenberg has been sidelined or nearly a week, having sustained his lower-body injury on November 19 against the New York Rangers.

"When I went back for the puck, I just couldn’t keep going," he said of the injury, that sent him to the locker room after just one shift.

Seidenberg skated for the second straight day on Tuesday. It marked his first full practice with the group. Both days, he went out early before practice to work with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides.

"I think I’m progressing. I went out yesterday for the first time; pretty cautious. And then today a little longer, did the full practice, and it’s getting better so it’s a good sign," said the defenseman.

"I kept it controlled out there. Every time I did a drill, I tried to focus on what was going on and being cautious. All I can say is it improved and that’s what makes me happy so far."

"It’s give or take so hopefully soon," he said, of a return to game action. "I’m just going to go on the trip and skate in the morning and we’ll see."

For Julien, a healthy blueline would also mean more difficult lineup decisions.

"Sure it is. It’s always a tough call when your team is winning and playing fairly well," said the B's bench boss.

Matt Bartkowski has now played in eight consecutive games, and Kevan Miller in three straight.

"We’ve played fairly well; I thought St. Louis and Carolina, in those games, we were pretty good. So it’s going to be a tough decision when the time comes, no doubt."

Playoff Spot by Thanksgiving

The Bruins are at the top of the Eastern Conference, 24 games into the season, with a 16-6-2 record. Their 34 points are three ahead of Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay at 31.

One of Boston's goals every season is to be situated in a playoff spot by the time Thanksgiving comes around.

Despite the winning record, and having won eight of their past 10 games, the Bruins aren't satisfied with their all-around play.

"I don’t think we’ve been a bad team. If anything, we’re good enough to be where we’re at right now," said Julien. "I think we’ve struggled a little bit at times with consistency in our game – which I think it’s early in the season and you go through those kind of things – and we’re an experienced team."

"Our guys, when it’s time for crunch time, I feel confident that the team is always going to be there. And right now, it’s about trying to build on certain things and correct other areas and so on and so forth and build a little bit of consistency."

"But if we’re complaining about our team, I think a lot of other teams would be complaining about theirs because we’re sitting at the top of our conference right now and it’s just a matter of continuing to work on areas of our team."

Shawn Thornton was at first, surprised, that the B's had won 8 of 10. They don't keep track like that, taking their game-by-game approach. But it's mostly because of what Julien alluded to; they're always trying to become stronger.

"We’re finding ways to win which is important, especially this time of year," said Thornton. "But we know we can always be better, so there’s always things to work on."

That factors into the identity of this team: finding ways to win.

"That's confidence, I suppose, that you gain over a few years of success," said the Merlot Liner. "You have to have short orders, just confidence and not cockiness, but I think we kind of just go about our business whether we’re down or we’re up our demeanor kind of stays the same, which really helps with consistency."

Practice Lines

The Bruins' practice lines remained the same, as expected.

White: Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla

Gold: Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Loui Eriksson, Jordan Caron

Grey: Carl Soderberg-Chris Kelly-Reilly Smith

Merlot: Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Defensemen: Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski-Johnny Boychuk, Torey Krug-Kevan Miller, Adam McQuaid-Dennis Seidenberg

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Chad Johnson

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