Thursday, 03.22.2007 / 2:34 PM ET / News
There was a new face in the Bruins goal this morning.
"At first, I was like, ’Who did we call up?’ and then I was like ’Wait a minute, I haven’t seen this guy in Providence’ then, when a couple of shots went by him, I said, ’Who is that?’" said forward Jeff Hoggan in between chuckles in a stream of consciousness explanation.
"Oh, it’s Goalie Bob ok," was his final realization.
’Goalie Bob’ is Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa dressed and playing goal this morning to give Bruins starter Tim Thomas a little extra time off.
"I was impressed, actually, when I realized it was him," said Hoggan. "I think he is pretty tired right now, hunched over, breathing hard."
Essensa, a very good sport, did wear an interesting shade of red in his face after practice, and said he might be the trick against the Habs, tonight.
"I haven’t been beaten by them in a long time," said Essensa, deadpan. "But my conditioning is not where it should be."
Joey MacDonald, who should be the actual backup tonight, had a blast watching his coach from afar.
"I like watching ’old’ goaltenders like that," said Joey Mac with a chuckle. "I remember seeing him play and just looking down the ice you can see that he hasn’t changed a bit.
In all seriousness, MacDonald was pleased just to share the ice with Goalie Bob.
"Hey, you don’t get too many opportunities to practice with a guy like that," said Joey.
Courtesy of Hockeydb.com, here are Essensa’s career totals.
GP, W-L-T-OTL, GAA, SV%, SO
446, 173-176-47-0, 3.15, .895, 18
Forward Shean Donovan is out tonight.
"He’s still day-to-day and we just have to evaluate as we go along," said Assistant Coach Doug Houda. "(As for) the other guys, it was optional today."
But forwards Patrice Bergeron and Marc Savard should be fine for tonight.
"They’re slowly coming along, getting a lot of fluids into them. They’ll be fine," said Houda.
As for the Bruins attitude, which was questioned by their head coach in recent days, the assistant coach said that nothing has changed in terms of the Black & Gold’s approach to the game.
"It should be positive, because you play in the NHL," said Houda. "It’s the best league in the world and if you can’t get excited to play, you are in the wrong business.
"We have guys out there that are young and are battling for jobs. We’ve got veterans that are here to help those young guys.
"Obviously, when you look at the points, it’s not pretty, but we have to make sure, no matter what happens, that we try to finish this off on a positive note and start building a culture (representing) what we want," said the assistant coach, who added "And that has to start at home with a big effort tonight in front of your home fans."
A big effort entails scoring a goal or two.
"We have to get to the net more," said Houda. "We have to get pucks to the net and we have to get traffic in front of (the goalie).
"Give credit to the (Canadiens) goaltender. He made the stops he had to.
"But…we believe as a coaching staff that we didn’t get to the net as much as we need to," he said.
Houda was also asked whether the B’s would abandon their conservative style of play for the final ten games of the season.
Houda answered in the negative, and explained "We want to make sure to maintain our style. We have to work on what we want to work on as a team and try and stay within our structure.
But there was one caveat.
"Our focus is on winning no matter what!" said Houda. "And we have to make sure that our fans know that we are continuing (to play) to win and that our players have to continue to get better."