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Getting ready for a HUGE game without BIG Z

Tuesday, 01.09.2007 / 11:51 AM / News
Boston Bruins
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Getting ready for a HUGE game without BIG Z had the following humorous assessment of the injury keeping Zdeno Chara out of tonight’s contest with the Senators: When you’re the size of Zdeno Chara, the simple "upper" or "lower" body ailment does not apply -- you need to add a "middle" category.

Ha ha. Funny. But Bruins staffers, players and fans are not laughing.

Sens roll call does a terrific job with game-day updates in their Ice Chips section and says that Ottawa’s lines tonight will look like this:

Heatley - Kelly - Alfredsson
Schaefer - Comrie - Neil
Eaves - McAmmond - Schubert
Hamel - (Hennessy) - McGrattan

Redden - Meszaros
Volchenkov - Phillips
Corvo - Preissing


TSN is also reporting that Antoine Vermette skated by himself before practice today but will not play Tuesday against Boston and that they anicipate that Josh Hennessy will be recalled.

A Buffalo’s writer’s take on the division
Tim Graham, Buffalo News and sports reporter, had a great notes column on the eighth. He had some thoughts on the highly competitive Northeast Division and wrote:

The Buffalo Sabres are the lone NHL club with 30 wins. They are one of two teams with single-digit regulation losses. Their record is so persuasive the next closest team in the Eastern Conference standings is seven points back and has played one more game.

In the robust Northeast Division, however, they have been pedestrian.
Saturday night’s 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs kept the Sabres from slipping to .500 in divisional play. They’re 8-6 with one overtime loss.

"When you play against teams that are battling for a spot in the division and even in the conference, no doubt, those are big nights," said Sabres goalie Martin Biron, who made 32 saves in the Air Canada Centre. "They’re fun games, but they’re definitely high stakes."

The Northeast has been the most competitive division in league thus far. Through the weekend, each of the five teams had a winning record (Toronto was below the watermark counting overtime and shootout losses). The Boston Bruins had the lowest point total with 43 - no other division had all teams above 38 points - even though the Bruins had played the fewest games in the league.

The Ottawa Senators have owned the Sabres, beating them four times in five tries. The Montreal Canadiens have played some taut games against the Sabres, beating them once in regulation, once in overtime and losing twice in shootouts.

"Our division is pretty tight, and there’s a high level of hockey being played," Biron said. "I think we should be excited we’re in such a strong division because in the end it’s only going to make us stronger."

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Sun had a pretty interesting note on their page today. Don Brennan writes:

…nothing the Senators have done against the Bruins in 2006-07 has worked. Ottawa’s has lost all three meetings, by scores of 2-1, 4-3 and 7-2.

The common dominator in each has been the brilliance of Boston goalie Tim Thomas. Not only has he stopped 95 of the 101 shots the Senators have fired his way this season, but he has extended a trend that began when he broke into the league. In seven games, Thomas has lost only once in regulation time against Ottawa, with a GAA of 2.12.

"He seems to have our number," said Kelly. "We just have to get more pucks at him and get some more traffic in front of him."

Said Murray: "Thomas has been really good against us, but I don’t think it’s magic at all. It just comes down to work and determination."

It’s good to see that Tim-Mania has spread north -- and there are continued rumblings as to Tim being a possibility for the NHL All-Star game. Stay tuned.

Around the Hub
Congrats to Billerica’s Amanda Mahoney. I just stumbled over the fact that on January 3rd, she scored FIVE goals to lead Billerica High past Marblehead, 6-2, at the Hallenborg Pavilion.

Sign her up, Peter!

More later…
Coors Light - To the Black, The Gold, and The Cold




1 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
3 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
4 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
5 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
6 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
7 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
8 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43


P. Bergeron 62 18 27 5 45
L. Eriksson 62 15 21 3 36
B. Marchand 58 19 16 9 35
M. Lucic 62 14 21 12 35
R. Smith 63 12 23 12 35
D. Hamilton 63 10 25 1 35
C. Soderberg 63 10 25 7 35
T. Krug 59 11 20 8 31
C. Kelly 61 7 20 9 27
D. Krejci 38 7 19 7 26
T. Rask 25 16 10 .920 2.35
N. Svedberg 6 5 0 .917 2.39
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