Happy Thanksgiving! Practice, Turkey & Showdown with Rangers
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins would have practiced on Thanksgiving morning, win or lose.
But coming off their 6-1 loss in Detroit on Wednesday night, they took advantage of the opportunity to flush out the disastrous game, and look forward to Friday's matinee against he New York Rangers in NBC's Thanksgiving Showdown.
This group wasn't just moving on, though. For a team that it still atop the Eastern Conference, the emphasis was on learning from the performance, and using it as a jolt. Head Coach Claude Julien hoped it would be a "wakeup call."
"Everyone knows what today is; personally, I'm glad we came in to practice," said Chris Kelly. We play a 1:00 game tomorrow, and after last night's performance, you want to get back on the ice as quick as possible, and feel better about yourself."
"We're in a pretty good spot. We're in first place come Thanksgiving, but that being said, there's areas of our game we can be better at, and need to be better at."
"I think it was great today to get on the ice, work on things, learn from it, but also turn the page in a sense," said Patrice Bergeron, who had candidly spoken in Detroit the night prior about the unacceptable showing.
"You obviously want to learn from it, that's the most important thing, but I think we took today to make sure we work on things, work hard, get back to the good habits - that was really important. Claude gave us a good practice and we got to get back right away at it tomorrow."
The high-tempo practice was full of intensity, with plenty of full-ice skating and work driving the net. The Bruins had gotten away from their type of offense, and haven't been dictating play as of late.
"I thought we were right back to feeling a little better about ourselves," said Bergeron, of the skate, and the team's need to increase their work ethic.
"It was definitely a jolt," added Matt Bartkowski, of the "snowballed out of control" type of game on Wednesday night. They'll take that jolt into Friday.
"I think last night will still be there in the back of our heads and should give us a lot of energy, a lot of jump, so it should be good."
After the skate, the Bruins held a team meeting in the locker room.
"To realize that we have high expectations of ourselves, and that we need to always demand that out of everyone, and go from there," said Bergeron, of the meeting's focus. "That's the main thing."
"We're a proud group here, we take a lot of pride in our game, and I think we were all disappointed with the way things went," said Adam McQuaid, who got back into the lineup in Detroit after missing eight straight games to a lower-body injury.
"So, you know, we're letting it sink in here, we had a good skate today, and we can turn things around tomorrow."
Happy Turkey Day!
After the B's grinded it out at practice, they were planning on heading home to relax and rest up for Friday's matinee.
"First Thanksgiving with my wife, so she's cooking dinner, and we're going to enjoy that and watch the Detroit Lions," said Michigan native Torey Krug, who had the chance to see friends and family in Detroit.
Don't expect him to be checking on the turkey, though. 'Are you going to help out cooking?' "No, not at all," the defenseman was quick to quip.
Fellow blueliner Matt Bartkowski was banking on a low-key day, and some help on the turkey from his girlfriend as well.
"I've got a buddy coming up from Pittsburgh and Jordy's coming over, so we'll have some food, and have some fun."
Getting to enjoy time with the team, and with their families today, some choose to merge the two.
Every year, Shawn Thornton and his wife play Thanksgiving hosts. Many of the B's may have grown up in Canada, but the 'Mayor of Charlestown' is about as Bostonian as it gets.
"My wife's cooking for everybody so I probably would have been doing errands around the house all morning, anyways," he laughed, of getting to come to the Garden for a practice.
"We have a bunch of the guys coming over, Soupy, Smitty, Dougie, Quaider, Looch, maybe Tuukka so a big feast, we've got some turkey and ham. Watch some football and get ready for tomorrow."
NBC Thanksgiving Showdown
The Bruins aren't just bouncing back on Friday afternoon from their loss to Detroit. Last time out against the Rangers, Tuukka Rask stole the show, with Merlot Liners Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton netting the B's goals.
"We know we've got to be much better tomorrow against this team," said Julien. "We can bounce back for many reasons; we can bounce back for how we play against New York, and especially how we played last game."
Seidenberg a Possibilty for Friday; Miller Assigned
Dennis Seidenberg has been out of the lineup since the last time the B's faced the Rangers. He only played one shift, before leaving with a lower-body injury.
"He felt pretty good today, and I haven't really sat down with my trainers to really get the low-down. But I would have to say that he's a possibility tomorrow," said Julien.
With McQuaid back in the lineup, and Seidenberg getting close to a return, the Bruins assigned defenseman Kevan Miller to the Providence Bruins.
Miller impressed with his strong, solid play in his first three NHL games while up with Boston. It's a sure bet we'll see him at another point this season, when the B's need help on the blueline.
"No doubt. I think we all saw how good of a defnseman he was. He was pretty steady," said Julien. "Even yesterday, I waited until after warmups to decide if I was going to keep him in or go with [Adam], and with the experience of [Adam] and everything else, is just the kind of guy that we needed with the young core right now."