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The Blog: April 6th

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
1:52 p.m.

Who's in? Who's out?
The good news: Shawn Thornton and Phil Kessel may play tomorrow.

The bad news: P.J. Axelsson, Andrew Ference and Dennis Wideman will not.

"Right now, Phil is, obviously, much better," said Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "We'll make a decision on him, and whether he plays, tomorrow morning.

"That gives you an idea of how close he is...there's a good chance he will play."

Julien said "more than likely" Thornton would play and also said that the "worst of the bunch" was Andrew Ference.

"He's getting evaluated further, today, so we can know more [about] the severity of his injuries," said the head coach.

Julien would not speculate on the timetable for any of his players return.

"I think a lot of the injuries for the guys we didn't play [today] are...all maintenance right now.

"Wideman is the same thing -- and he is not going to make the trip and we're not going to play him tomorrow, but there is nothing serious there."

"If everything goes well, he should be in for next game."

Julien did not have a clear idea as to when during the game the two defensemen had been hurt on Saturday.

Also, Coach did not speak to P.J. Axelsson's issues, other than to acknowledge that Axie had left practice and he had to check on him.

"That's not overly serious, but we'll see if we bring him or we don't."

Julien then sent a Bruins representative to the press box to confirm that Axelsson wouldn't make the trip.

10:34 a.m.
Welcome back Thortie!
Shawn Thornton and Phil Kessel were both on this ice to start today's 10:30 a.m. practice at Wilmington's Ristuccia Memorial Arena. However, this was mitigated by the fact that neither Dennis Wideman or Andrew Ference were on the ice.

9:28 a.m.
While you were celebrating...

From top to bottom, the entire Bruins organization is having a heck of a year and, looking south down I-95, over the weekend the Providence Bruins illustrated that point very well.

After a setback to the Hartford Wolfpack on Friday, the P-Bruins dropped the Portland Pirates 3-2 on Saturday and the Manchester Monarchs 3-2 on Sunday.

Saturday's game clinched a playoff spot for Providence as the B's took the game to a shootout in front of 8,917 fans at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. The P-Bruins got their goals in regulation from Vladimir Sobotka and Brad Marchand and in the shootout from Martin St. Pierre.

Tuukka Rask stopped 26 of 28 shots in regulation and five of five shots in the shootout.

At this time, the P-Bruins opening round opponent is still to be determined, but Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals will be played at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Wednesday, April 15 at 7:05 p.m. and Game 2 will also be played at The Dunk on Friday, April 17 at 7:05 p.m.

On Sunday, the P-B's Providence pulled within two points of first when they bested Manchester Sunday at The Dunk in the final home game of the regular season. Mikko Lehtonen scored two goals and Kevin Nastiuk earned his first win as a member of the P-Bruins with 26 saves.

Meanwhile, Providence defenseman Johnny Boychuk continues to impress.

Boychuk has been named the league's winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL's outstanding defenseman, as voted by AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league's 29 member cities. Beyond that prestigious prize, Boychuk was also named a first team AHL All-Star and shared the league's CCM/AHL Player of the Month award for March.

The varsity Bruins hit the ice at Ristuccia at 10:30 a.m.
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