This morning the Boston Bruins held an optional morning skate before their tilt with the Florida Panthers -- a 7:00 start this evening.
"They work extremely hard," said Lewis of the Florida squad. "They’re fast, they get the puck in -- they do a good job of that, and they are a very responsible hockey team.
"They’ve gone through some strains with retirements and injuries, and that affects any team. But they are a young team that has lots of energy. And they have some…key veterans [to whom] they look for leadership."
Lewis is alluding to the recent retirement of Joe Nieuwendyk and the injury to power forward Todd Bertuzzi. The Panthers are led by Olli Jokinen (13-18-31 line), Nathan Hortan (6 power play goals) and veteran winger Gary Roberts (8-12-20).
"They play hard. And you have to give all of them credit for that," said Lewis.
Credit must also go to injured Bruins forward, P.J. Axelsson. Boston’s favorite Swede again tested his sore wheel this morning but will not play for the B’s this evening.
"There was a slight improvement from yesterday," said Bruins Head Coach Dave Lewis. "Not anywhere near what it has to be for him to play or even practice.
"It was a little bit better…[but after] today, I would think it would be very hard to anticipate his playing in the game on Tuesday."
Glen Murray, Paul Mara, Jason York and Brad Stuart opted out of the practice but were seen post-stationary bike in the locker room. Marc Savard
was back and reported that he was "100%" after missing practice on Friday. Coach Lewis did not belie any changes to the lineup.
As stated yesterday, Tim Thomas
will start tonight.