WATERTOWN, MA - A hockey player's senses are always tested.
Here's how it goes: close your eyes. Now imagine playing goalie, with no sight.
On Wednesday, January 22, with the Bruins amidst four days off from game action, the two Bruins visited Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA, and played "goal ball" with the students.
Perkins School, established more than 180 years ago, was the first school for the blind in the United States.
"Goal Ball" is geared towards blind and vision-impaired athletes, and consists of rolling a ball with bells inside that allows the players to use the sound to determine where it is. The objective is to roll the ball into the opposing goal. Stopping the ball usually involves sliding on your side once you judge it's just close enough.
Iginla and Smith wore dark goggles that made them a part of the group, relying on every sense, without being able to see.
"Good luck, you're going to need it!" was the message to the duo before heading out onto the gym floor.
BostonBruins.com - The Bruins announced on Tuesday, January 21, that the club had signed defenseman Kevan Miller to a two-year, one-way contract through the 2015-16 season.
Miller was first signed by the Bruins to a two-year, entry-level contract on October 21, 2011, after his four-year career at the University of Vermont. He was re-signed as a restricted free agent to a one-year deal on July 19, 2013.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound defensive defenseman has impressed through his first 16 NHL games with Boston during the 2013-14 season, after making his debut on November 21, 2013 against the St. Louis Blues.
His first NHL goal came four games later, in Toronto on December 8, and proved to be the game-winner.
"He’s a defensive defenseman who makes good strong plays," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, after Miller's debut came with Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid sidelined by injuries. "He was strong, I really liked his game. I thought he was a poised player out there for his first real NHL game."
"This is my third year and you just have to believe in the process - a lot of guys have been in the same situation, so it’s a great feeling," Miller had said.
BOSTON, MA - After being evaluated by team doctors on Monday, Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was deemed "day-to-day" with a leg injury.
McQuaid missed the second half of Sunday's game in Chicago, and was not able to play on Monday in the Bruins' eventual 3-2 win over the LA Kings.
"The doctors have assessed him as day-to-day. That’s good news," said an optimistic Claude Julien.
Prior to McQuaid being evaluated, Julien was unsure yet if this leg injury was related to the blueliner's other injuries this season. McQuaid has missed two stretches of eight and nine games so far this season due to a lower-body injury.
With the defenseman not able to play, Zach Trotman slotted into the lineup for the second NHL game, after being recalled from the Providence Bruins on Sunday night.
"I thought he handled himself really well. We’ve been picking away at D’s right now and we’re short on the right side so, after seeing him play in Ottawa, he was a logical choice," said Julien.
BostonBruins.com - It's called a streak for a reason. It's a flash, a flame, and it keeps burning until it runs out.
Right now, Brad Marchand's flame is red-hot.
| Watch: Marchand's Goes 2-for-2
Watch: Bruins Beat - Bruins Top Kings 3-2
View: Final Boxscore
The speedy, crafty winger had twice scored goals in three consecutive games. But even for a streaky player like Marchand, he hadn't yet reached this level.
"I do, I get real lucky," he said, following the win over LA, when asked if he could give some credit to luck.
With just under eight minutes left in the first period, and the Bruins tasked with killing their first penalty of the game, Patrice Bergeron sprung Marchand with a pass up through center ice.
With speed, the winger caused Drew Doughty to reach in on the backpedal and end up losing his stick. Marchand couldn't get the shot off he wanted to, but that didn't matter.
CHICAGO, IL - Adam McQuaid did not return to Sunday's game in Chicago after the second period. The was no further update yet on his condition following the game.
The Bruins were defeated by the Blackhawks, 3-2, in the shootout.
"I don't like saying it the night of, because he needs to be looked at by a doctor, we'll look at him tomorrow [Monday]," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "Just obviously not good enough to finish the game, but we'll evaluate him and at least give you a precise diagnosis on him."
McQuaid's last shift ended at 8:34 into the second, during which he recorded a shot on goal. The defenseman finished the game with 8:57 in ice-time and a plus-1 rating, after assisting on Brad Marchand's goal that made it a 1-1 game with 19 seconds left in the first period.
It's not the first time this season the Bruins have had to play down a defenseman. It usually means heavy minutes logger Zdeno Chara racks up the ice time. He played nearly half the game, logging 28:08, with Johnny Boychuk at 26:03.
CHICAGO, IL - The Bruins don't want to revisit the Stanley Cup Final.
The mantra is to constantly move on, push forward, and forget the past.
"We put that behind us," says Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara, and he means it. "It's a new season and we're going to focus on this season."
No one moves game to game quite like Big Zee; his mindset is always a testament to the cliche, but accurate "even-keeled" demeanor that he portrays. When he says that, it's not a facade. He's moved on.
"It's a really good team we're playing," he says of the Chicago Blackhawks, the second ranked team in the NHL. "We've just got to be ready. They're probably one of the best teams in the league, so it's going to be a challenge."
Still, coming back to Chicago and facing the Hawks for the first time since last June, the discussion and resurgence of emotions are almost inevitable.
And the consensus? Yes, the Black & Gold have moved on. But, yes, yes, it still hurts.
"It’s something that’s hard, still right now it hurts just to see the 2013 on the wall right there, you know?" said Patrice Bergeron, of the year designated on a Stanley Cup decal plastered to the wall of the Hawks' practice facility, Johnny's Ice House. The Bruins practiced there Saturday afternoon before their showdown with the Blackhawks.
For Bergeron, the Final hurt in several other infamous ways besides the end result.
CHICAGO, IL - After a day off in Chicago, the Bruins got back to work Saturday with practice at Johnny's Ice House before facing the Blackhawks in Sunday's showdown.
Though, it took a bit of rewinding back to their early playing days, first. The team suited up in full equipment at the United Center, before busing about five minutes down the road to the Hawks' practice facility.
With the snow flurries coming down, it was a unique trek to the rink, but once the Bruins hit the ice, it was business as usual. The nearly hour-long practice ended with sprints upon sprints, as the team looks to build upon their 4-2 win in Dallas on Thursday that kicked off the two-game road trip.
"It's about building some consistency here, and that's what we're looking for game, after game, after game," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "And one game is a good step in the right direction but it doesn't define that all of a sudden we're out of it and we're back on track."
Boston was pleased with the all-around performance, but is not blind to the fact that one game does not start a streak.
BostonBruins.com - This one was laced with everything a little bit Bruin.
It wasn't necessarily an overpowering performance. The Stars pushed, and didn't give up a ton. But the Bruins found a way to battle, and fight through, and put together an all-around performance in a 4-2 over the Stars in Dallas on Thursday night.
"Much better compete level," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame. "I thought our compete level for a road game - first period I thought was a good battle, second period there we got a timely goal and I thought we were a really strong team in the third."
Brad Marchand gave Boston a 2-1 lead in the third, after the Stars' Erik Cole had been the benefactor of a lucky deflection off his stick on the power play. Patrice Bergeron pressured Cole behind the net, causing the takeaway, before Marchand quickly put the puck home.
DALLAS, TX - The Bruins and Stars both opted for optional pregame skates before facing off against each other Thursday night at the American Airlines Center.
For Boston, all forwards and defensemen hit the ice except for heavy minute-logger Zdeno Chara, along with the line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla. The lineup is expected to look like it did against Toronto, with Dougie Hamilton (concussion) and Chris Kelly (broken right fibula) remaining back in Boston as they team hit the road.
Both teams have gone through tough mid-season stretches. Dallas recently halted a six-game losing streak to earn their first win of 2014, defeating Edmonton 5-2. Meanwhile, the Bruins felt they took a step forward with their stingy 1-0 win over San Jose, before falling to Toronto 4-3 on Tuesday night.
Lack of execution - not effort - has been a barrier for Boston as of late, with breakdowns, missed chances and not as many battles being won.
"Just a better overall commitment to our game. I think that's what we need to find here," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, on what he wants to see from his team when the puck drops in Dallas.
DALLAS, TX - Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara has been given the honor by Slovakia to carry the country's flag for the Olympic Opening Ceremony at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Chara will be suiting up in his third straight Olympics, and will again be Captain of Team Slovakia as he was in 2010 in Vancouver. While he played in the last three Games, this marks his fourth trip to the Olympics.
The Captain has full support of the Bruins' staff as he heads overseas, even if it means missing a game or two in Black & Gold due to the ceremony taking place on February 7 (the Bruins play on February 6 in St. Louis and then February 8 against Ottawa before the NHL's Olympic break).
"He talked to us about that, came to Peter [Chiarelli] and I and addressed it, and Peter approved it, and certainly with my support," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following the team's pregame skate in Dallas, on Thursday (January 16).
"When you look at what Zee has done for this club, I think it's an easy decision to make, because you're carrying your country's flag at the Olympics."