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Bear Essentials: Carolina vs. Boston

Tuesday, 02.12.2008 / 12:30 PM / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop  - BostonBruins.com
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Bear Essentials: Carolina vs. Boston
John Bishop is the beat writer for BostonBruins.com. He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
12:33 p.m.
Good afternoon. This is just a quick update as we start our game day here in the Hub of Hockey. And for those of you who are fantasy hockey players, I can answer one of your questions.

Facts:
a.    Goalie Alex Auld is starting.
b.    …and there is no 'b' as of yet.


Captain Zdeno Chara did not skate this morning, but signs point to his playing tonight. Bruins head coach Claude Julien said that Big Z had a "maintenance morning" and should be in the mix for the game.

In any case, defenseman Bobby Allen skated with the club during the session and said he would be ready to go if called on to play.

As far as Alex goes, Coach Julien explained that with back-to-back games he felt it was wise to give Tim Thomas some rest tonight and also reward Auld with a game after his fine performance against Buffalo last week.

From what could be foreseen in the session, the lineup looked very similar to last game, but we can't confirm the healthy scratches until warm ups after 6:00 p.m.

3:11 p.m.
One of Carolina's hometown papers reports that Patrick Eaves, acquired by the Hurricanes yesterday, will miss tonight and several more days.

The News & Observer
reports in their Lord Stanely's Blog: Patrick Eaves took the morning skate with his new team Tuesday, but Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said it could be a while before Eaves makes his Carolina debut.

"Hopefully he's not too far away," Laviolette said. "He's been back working out in Ottawa. We'll get him in some battles and let him feel comfortable before we throw him to the lions. I don't think there's a timetable set on it. Hopefully not too long — five days, seven days, 10 days, somewhere in there."

The Canes called Ryan Bayda up from Albany (AHL) to fill in. Bayda returned to action Saturday after missing 22 games with a concussion.

They estimate the Carolina lineup, thusly:
Samsonov Brind'Amour Whitney
Bayda Staal Cole
Ladd Aucoin Walker
Brookbank Letowski Hamilton
Kaberle Wallin (sg)Ward
Hedican Gleason (bg)Grahame
Wesley Corvo


5:06 p.m.
Coach Julien agreed with a reporter this morning who said that the Bruins had been able to bounce back from losses pretty quickly throughout the year.

"Yah, we have been able to do that for most of the year," said Julien. "But hopefully we are not relying on that and will make it happen, instead.

"Obviously, we are looking for a little bit more consistency in our play, night after night."

A consistent level of play is necessary to put the club in the playoffs.

"That's really what it is all about," said the B's coach. "If you really want to wait until your back's against the wall that's playing with fire.

"We have a chance to control...our own destiny by playing some solid hockey."

More from Coach Julien
On the decision to start Alex Auld in goal tonight…
"Well, I think it’s another back-to-back game. This is the time of year where our goaltenders have played a lot of games and we have to somehow make sure to keep them fresh as well. With back-to-back games this is the scenario we wanted. I think at the same time Alex [Auld] after his last performance he certainly deserves another go at it."

On how he sees Carolina changing now that they have two new players…
"I think that this is a question that they should answer. I think right now its basically our team playing its game… I think that’s really something they would be better suited to answer than I would."

On looking back at the last time Boston played Carolina …
"I think every time you play a team you look back on the games you played against them and you look at ways to improve, to get through their neutral zone, and to get pucks in deep and then be successful. I think that is something we do all the time. Doing it in pre-scouting is one thing, having the guys do it during the game is sometimes a challenge but hopefully we’ll push the right buttons tonight."

On Glen Murray’s first two games back…
"He has definitely been a great addition as far as when you look at the opportunities that he has had, scoring goals, and last game he had a goal and an assist. We need that kind of output from guys like Muzz [Glen Murray] and he is an added threat to our line up and a threat that most certainly other teams pay attention to. That’s what comes naturally to Muzz, the other part, that is impressive to everybody, is the way he is working in all areas of the game this year whether it is been physical back checking or taking care of his own end. He really is putting in a solid effort all through three zones and certainly leading by example."

6:29 p.m.
Alex Auld led the club out. He will start. Zdeno Chara is on the ice. So is Bobby Allen.

Here is my guess. Z looks fine:
Sturm-Savard-Kessel
Lucic-Metropolit-Kobasew
Axelsson-Krejci-Murray
Nokelainen-Sobotka-Thornton
Chara-Wideman (sg)Auld
Ward-Ference (bg)Thomas
Stuart-Hnidy Go Bruins!


I'm heading over to the Running Recap. Go Bruins! JB

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