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Working Hard to Win

Thursday, 09.28.2006 / 3:49 PM / News
Boston Bruins
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Working Hard to Win
Good Effort…
Nobody in the building seemed terribly upset with last night’s loss at Madison Square Garden and by all accounts (including a viewing by me, via tape delay, of the Bruins third period thanks to NHL Network Canada -- don’t ask me how, I have my ways), the B’s played pretty well -- Goaltender Tim Thomas, especially, by the way, as he stopped 27 of 28, including some breakaways.

No kidding…Timmy looked real good and was clearly the B’s best player last evening.

"I feel good," said a worn out Thomas after a very intense practice. "I mean, I’m getting game ready, so to speak. Got to see a couple of different things last night, like a 5-on-3 that I hadn’t seen in preseason and a couple of odd-man rushes that I hadn’t seen too much of. So, that is good practice, we’re going to see those during the season.

"I think, overall, for myself it was a positive…it’s preseason, and you’d like to get the win of course, but having said that it is PRESEASON and it is important to get your game together."

Yah, the Bruins wanted to win -- after all, they do keep score.

But, as Tim alluded, evaluation was the key last night, and remains the key in preseason.

And surely the coaches came away with lots of great film to look at and a better idea about many of the players on the ice.

However, there is only a little over a week until the first regular season game.

And only one exhibition left.

It’s crunch time, everyone!

High intensity
Today, Coach Lewis put the pedal to the metal, so to speak, and his charges pushed themselves harder than they had in several days.

The boys were put through their paces, skated for about two hours, with the end of the practice devoted to Lewis’ own version of ’Herbies’.

For those of you who are not familiar with the story of the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey Team, or by extension, the movie "Miracle", Herbies are rink length suicide sprints, back and forth at nearly top speed.

The Bruins went through several sets of these sprints -- we’ll call them ’Lewies’ until someone tells me to stop.

So from now on: A Lewie is a Herbie with stops-and-starts thrown in at various spots along the rink.

Ouch!

So, anyway, it was an ugly sight to the uninitiated and an even uglier sight to those writers who may have participated in similar drills in the past.

Best news: Nobody puked. Although it looked like it was pretty dang close.

Better news: Everyone took it in stride. Some even had to laugh about it afterward -- in an "Oh, boy, survived that" kind of way.

Best news: Hockey writers were not required to participate. However, at least one of the Bruins feels like that might be a good idea for a future blog.

In fact, I have a feeling that some of the boys just might have heard Boston’s finest hockey writers having just a little too good a time reciting lines from the famous "Again, Again, Again" scene from Miracle.

"I wouldn’t mind seeing that," said Nate Dempsey, with a serious chuckle, of having the writers strap on some blades for the stomach-churning sprints. "I wouldn’t mind seeing that at all, to be honest with you."

Mr. Dempsey, while laughing, looked askance at this scribe, who might be politely described as well fed, and chuckled even louder at the thought of my having to do the sprints.

"A-hem," I say.

Wilmington Whimsy
Did you know that the Ristuccia Memorial Arena is the home to the Wilmington Figure Skating Club, Inc. Their motto is "Edges of Excellence".

Gas is down to $2.15 in Wil-mo. Yowsa!

Hub, Hubbub
Everyone skated except Marco Sturm (little bit of a chest cold), Zdeno Chara (slightly tweaked hammy) and Milan Jurcina (elbow laceration).

Dave Lewis indicated that nothing was too serious, but were more precautionary sit-downs all the way around.

FYI: Wade Brookbank practiced with the defensemen today and did not look out of place.

The lines kind of looked like this;
Stastny-Savard-Murray
Tenkrat-Mowers-Hoggan-Kalus (lots of moving around)
Axelsson-Primeau-Donovan
Kessel-Bergeron-Boyes

The D, in no particular order were: Alberts, Brookbank, Dempsey, Mara, Stuart, York.

Toivo and Timmy both skated.

Hannu made a beautiful save on a break away during a drill: To his right, with the big paddle, in the butterfly. Nice.

Our B’s practiced forechecking via dump-ins with some semi-physical drills thrown in for good measure.

Nate is not the phantom, but…
Longtime Bruin executive (34 years with the club), Nate Greenberg, was kind enough to give his restaurant reviews for Montreal and New York City area for all you budding hockey scribes.

As a veteran of many roadies, we’ll go to Nate to ruminate on where to refuel away from the Garden.

Nate says (via e-mail):
"In New York: Wolfgang’s Steak House, 33rd and Park, walking distance from MSG…a midtown version of the famed Peter Luger’s of Brooklyn...their sliced porterhouse is truly something special. My cohorts and I visited there prior to our pre-season game in NYC and all agreed it was one of their best steaks ever!

In Montreal: a tried and true favorite for more than 30 years...Moishe’s Steak House on St Laurent...Pickles and coleslaw on the table to begin with...House specialty is rib eye steak...One local writer and I swear by the tuna steak, while a local news general manager calls the Moishe’s Special Chicken ’the best he’s ever had’...They also serve a twice-baked potato that our longtime TV voice, Fred Cusick, called ’the best he’d ever had’."

Now, I have to convince the powers that be to send me, too!

Nate, if I am there, I’m in! Gotta stay well fed!

From the mouths of Bruins…
"During the third, we just played our game -- played intense. We had good transitions from defense to offense and got the puck deep and just played in their zone…I think [we realized] that we had only four periods left in the preseason and we needed be a little bit better in the first two periods. During the third the mindset was to get the puck deep and create some chances."
Forward, Patrice Bergeron, on the Bruins fine third period versus the Rangers

"I’ve actually never been to the Garden. It’ll be my first time in the building and I am kind’ve excited to play a game in front of the Boston fans and everything. I think it should be fun…I’m having a blast so far."
Forward, Phil Kessel, on playing in Boston for the first time

"Win…winning cures everything. The harder we work, the more we’re gonna win. The team’s been working hard since training camp started and we’re not going to accept losing here. You know we lost 1-0 and we did not play our best and we know that. We still gave ourselves a chance to win in the last couple minutes there, but we want to win every game whether it is preseason or regular season."
Defenseman, Paul Mara, on hard practices, and what he is thinking about during practice

"Just look who’s first in all the races [laughing]… "
Defenseman, Jason York, on keeping up with the younger guys

"Well, he starts at the red line when everyone else is at the goal line…"
Mara, his retort against York and his "Who’s first" line

"Early in the season you want to get your conditioning as high as possible. We’ve got a practice tomorrow, so we have two days to get the lactic acid out…it was definitely a good skate today, for sure…I think everybody is in pretty good condition now and its just maintaining now, at a high level."
Forward, Jeff Hoggan, on wind ’Lewies’ and hard practices

And one more thing!
Patrice Bergeron will visit Children’s Hospital Boston to meet patients and introduce Patrice’s Pals on Friday, September 29, from 2:30-3:30PM.

Patrice’s Pals is a charitable initiative launched by Bergeron, which offers children’s hospitals and charities the opportunity to come to Boston Bruins games throughout the year. Bergeron will visit patients and invite patients and their families to be his guest at the Boston Bruins home opener against the Calgary Flames on October 19, 2006.

The families will receive VIP treatment and enjoy the game from Patrice’s Pals luxury suite.

Children’s Hospital Boston is a 342-bed comprehensive center for pediatric health care. As one of the largest pediatric medical centers in the United States, Children’s offers a complete range of health care services for children from birth through 21 years of age.

Until tomorrow, my friends…
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