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Georgia On My Mind

Monday, 11.06.2006 / 1:17 PM / News
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Georgia On My Mind
Georgia. Georgia -- The whole day through
So, it’s already early Monday afternoon and I am wishing that the hockey game would come even quicker.

Any momentum that the Bruins garnered on Saturday just might have a shelf life and I want them to hit the ice ASAP.

The mood in the room after the game on Saturday and yesterday afternoon was palpably outstanding. So, seriously, let’s drop the puck – NOW.

Anyway, yesterday’s Season Ticket Holder Practice was a blast and everyone involved had a lot of fun. Several hundred fans took to the stands and the Sports Deck and the other writers and myself found our regular spots in the stands occupied, so, naturally, we ended up on the visiting bench.

Oh darn [snaps fingers]!

What a different perspective of the practice that was! And, by the way folks, these guys are FAST (I know, I know. DUH!) And so are the pucks that fly off their sticks so I was a little afraid for my life. Seriously, I was hoping that none of the guys hold a grudge, lest I take a puck or a stick in the teeth. And they didn’t.

Not yet anyway.

Although Marc Savard poked me in the stomach with his stick as he skated by (Hee, heeee), and when Paul Mara stopped by he looked at my headgear (the Black & Gold hat shown in some of my blog pictures) and just shook his head.

“Bish,” he said of my very ‘fashionable’ tuque. “It’s not that cold.”

A-hem! I like that hat, a lot!

I was waiting for Wayne Primeau to do a Slap Shot skate by and take all of us out. For the three of you who haven’t seen the movie, one of the Hanson brothers skated by the opposing bench and took his stick to the head of every player as he skated by – as if he were playing a human xylophone.

However, the scare of the morning, for me, and for the crowd, happened when Coach Lewis skated by with his microphone and asked me to sing the National Anthem. I responded in the negative, as did Phil Kessel when he was asked and lucky thing for the Garden patrons as I am pretty sure that neither Phil nor I can carry a tune in a basket.

But I digress, a lot.

Just an old sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind
“Now we know that the schedule is going to be busy,” said Zdeno Chara about the increased number of games that the Bruins will encounter in the coming weeks.

“The games are going to be closer to each other, so we have to enjoy [the win over Tampa Bay] and [Monday] tomorrow is a another day and we need to bring our work boots and really bring our best game,” he said. “Atlanta is on a hot streak and they play well and they have some really skilled individuals who can make a really big difference in the game so we have to be ready for that.”

And that sentiment was echoed elsewhere in the Bruins locker room.

“If [the momentum from Saturday] doesn’t roll over into Atlanta, I wouldn’t be able to explain why,” said Bruins forward Mark Mowers. “It was a huge win for us and it puts us right back where we want to be.

“Now we’ll go play another good team and keep the systems rolling.”

“I’m going to be excited to play, for sure,” said Marc Savard, who contributed 5 points to the team on Saturday, and looks to continue his hot play versus his former mates. “Our line is rolling well right now and hopefully we continue that.

“Atlanta has a good offense, but at the same time I think they are kind’ve like Tampa – we can get on their ‘D’ and create problems,” he said.

Coach Dave Lewis thinks that the team has to work to make sure that they don’t lose any ground.

“We’re still feeling our way,” he said. “We’re still not there yet, but we’re seeing some things that we like and we’re trying to correct some things we don’t like.”

“It was a very emotional game [on Saturday]. We’ve had a lot of these emotional peaks and valleys. You know they are hard to handle. But you find a way. Finding a way to handle adversity is part of this league.

“It’s a good thing,” said Lewis. “It’s a healthy thing in the long run. You have to learn about yourself individually, you learn about your team. As coaches, we learn about ourselves.

“The guys have reacted, for the most part, really positively,” he said, explaining that each game is an event unto itself.

“You don’t worry too much about momentum,” said Lewis. “[Monday’s] another game in a different city against a team that has had a tremendous start.

“So we’re just going to figure out a way to play our game.”

And, says Coach, the team needs to trust itself and its systems.

“That’s always the safety belt,” Coach explained. “Players will be emotionally high some nights and…low or flat [on others].

“But the one thing that you control if you are a player is playing within the structure of the system.”

Still in peaceful dreams I see, the road leads back to you
There is no doubt, however, that the players love playing in the Garden and in from of the Boston fans.

“I thought everybody enjoyed [the open practice],” said Coach Lewis after the session yesterday. “The players showed off a little bit and the fans, they asked some good questions, they were involved.

“There were a lot of young kids out there, so that was good to see…they probably don’t get a real chance to see that very often, see a pro team practice up close like that.”

“It felt awesome,” said Marc Savard of the fans reaction after the big win versus the Lightning. “They have been great so far and we haven’t done all that great, so [Saturday] was a good thing for the crowd and…the team needed a confidence builder like that.”

So, the fan reaction after the Tampa Bay game and in the open practice was key.

“We really need that support [from the home crowd],” said Chara. “Anytime you get those fans behind you, especially fans like Boston fans, it gives you goose bumps – and it’s almost like you have an extra player on the ice.”

“I was great to hear that and see that,” said Chara of the cheers.

It always leads back to you
So, as you can see my friends, the Bruins players truly appreciate your support. So tune in this evening and send some good vibes down Georgia way – and if you can, swing in to the Garden on Thursday to ‘welcome’ the Buds.

Voices in the Crowd
“I am a big fan of the Bruins. Usually you just see them on the ice during games and it’s great to see them outside of the game, and how they prepare for the games.”
Boston Bruins Fan, Jason, Beverly, Mass.

“I am also a big fan of the Bruins. I came with Jason and his parents, who have season tickets…the practice is pretty cool to see and [the Bruins] are really good, too – it’s pretty exciting to be here.”
Boston Bruins Fan, Chris, Beverly, Mass.

“I just wanted to see what the Bruins were like and what they did at practice.”
Boston Bruins Fan, Zack, Billerica, Mass.

“It’s a special day. It’s so exciting to take pictures – especially with Wayne Primeau*…I bought a shirt for him to sign…this is very exciting for me. It is like football in Brazil!”
Boston Bruins Fan, Fabiany, Rio De Janeiro
*Wayne did sign Fabiany’s shirt, by the way.

More later…Keep it here.

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