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Game Day: Hurricanes vs. Bruins

Carolina revisits Boston in a rematch of last season's playoffs.

Saturday, 10.03.2009 / 4:04 PM / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop  - BostonBruins.com
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Game Day: Hurricanes vs. Bruins
6:43 p.m.
Time to live blog. Join me over there.

6:38 p.m.
The Boston Bruins lines are:
Lucic-Savard-Sturm
Wheeler-Krejci-Ryder
Recchi-Bergeron-Kobasew
Thornton-Begin-Bitz
Chara-Morris
Ference-Wideman
Stuart-Hunwick
Thomas
Rask

Scratch:
Boychuk

This morning, CarolinaHurricanes.com showed the Canes lines, thusly:
Whitney-Staal-Cole
Jokinen-Cullen-Ruutu
Samsonov-Brind'Amour-Larose
Kostopoulos-Yelle-Walker
Gleason-Corvo
Alberts-Ward
Wallin-Harrison
Ward
Leighton

Scratch:
Pitkanen

6:30 p.m.
It's Tim Thomas vs. Cam Ward in the pipes.

5:58 p.m.
Pressbox Notes

Storylines: Both the Bruins and Hurricanes are coming off losses in their season/home openers, with Boston falling 4-1 to the Capitals at the TD Garden on Thursday and Carolina dropping a 2-0 decision to the Flyers at the RBC Center last night.

The Bruins swept the regular season series last year, four games to zero.

“SCORE!”: The Bruins will honor the late Fred Cusick during their game against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight. During the first media timeout of the second period, the club will dedicate the Bruins home TV broadcast booth to Cusick by renaming it the “Fred Cusick Broadcast Booth.” The club will also install a silver microphone encased in a black and gold frame on the TD Garden’s level 9 façade beneath the home TV broadcast booth, which will be permanently displayed, similar to the microphone that already exists for Celtics legendary broadcaster, Johnny Most.

Home Sweet Home: The Bruins open the 2009-10 season with a five game homestand. This is the longest homestand to begin a season in club history. During the 1927-28 season, the Black & Gold played four straight at home to start the year. They also had two three-game homestands to begin a season in 2001-02 and 1992-93.

‘Cane Connections: The Hurricanes have four players on their roster with ties to the Bruins, as current ‘Canes Andrew Alberts, Sergei Samsonov, Aaron Ward, and Stephane Yelle all played for the Black & Gold during their careers.

Half Century: Carolina forward Erik Cole is expected to play in his 500th career game tonight.

4:35 p.m.
NewsObserver.com reports that the Hurricane's Joni Pitkanen will miss tonight's game.

4:11 p.m.
Speaking of rivals, the Montreal Canadiens have a couple of interesting situations on their hands right now -- a major injury to all-star defenseman Andrei Markov and player demanding to be traded.

Over at Yahoo Sport's Dmitry Chesnokov spoke with Sergei Kostitsyn, who has asked to be moved following his demotion to the AHL.

Chesnokov asked Kostitsyn about the assignment.

"It looked like I played alright during the pre-season," said Kostitsyn to Chesnokov. "Initially I couldn't practice fully because my shoulder was still bothering me and I couldn't have full contact. And then I played in the last two games, I scored a goal. And then I wasn't dressed for the very last game [of the pre-season] and right after that game I was told that I should go to the AHL. I just couldn't understand at all why."

It's an interesting contrast to Mark Divver's interview with Vladimir Sobotka on Projo.com.

"I have to start here, and we'll see,'' said Sobotka to Divver. "It's just business, not hockey. They tell me I play good. When I started (the exhibition games), it wasn't that good, but I finished really well. That's what they said. It's not about hockey, it's about business...I always want to play in NHL, you know, so I'm not gonna stop now. I'm always going to play 100 percent."

Interesting stuff, all around. Huh?

And, as always, if you are looking to keep tabs on the Habs, go to Habsinsideout.com.

3:58 p.m.
Coming from a slightly different angle, this morning Claude Julien said he didn't care how his club got ready for tonight's game -- as long as they do.

"You can put it whichever way you want," he said. "Is it revenge? Is it about this year, about winning a hockey game?

"It can be about a lot of different things. I don’t care how the guys think about it. I just really care about us going out there, and probably more about how we’re going to perform tonight than anything else.

"Whichever way they want to motivate themselves, that’s okay with me. We just have to obviously bounce back from a tough outing," he said.

Queried as to his own feelings about last season's playoff loss to Carolina, Julien was philosophical.

"You have to give them credit," he said. "They played hard. They played us well.

"Maybe we weren’t at our best," said JUlien in obvious reference to Boston's injury situation during the playoffs. "But that’s not a reason to take any credit away from a team that deserved to go to the next round.

"It came down to an overtime goal that could have gone either way.  That’s the way the chips were dealt and you move on. It doesn’t mean you don’t feel the sting and that you don’t want to do something about it, but again I’m not so preoccupied about last year than I am about what are we going to do this year.

"Every year [is about] starting all over. 29 teams didn’t win the Stanley Cup and there’s 29 teams wanting to redeem themselves this year," he said.

As far as rivalry goes, it's very, very clear that the Boston Bruins are as aware of what tonight's game means as they could be -- but it may have less to do with pent up hostility than you might think.

"I think tonight you’re going to see two teams that have lost their home openers wanting to redeem themselves," said Julien. "It’s going to be a good game.

"Now, whether we want to associate that with last year’s playoffs or whether we want to associate it with both teams’ starts, who knows. But all I can tell you is that there’s two teams that should be desperate tonight to look for their first win."

1:00 p.m.
Congratulations to NESN's Boston Bruins super producer Brian Zechello and his wife Missy.

Their daughter Brooke Sophia was born this morning, just in time to watch NESN's coverage of the 2009-10 season! Baby (8lb, 8oz) and mom are "doing fine. Dad is a wreck."

A big round of applause for Z and family!

12:35 p.m.
John Boychuk and Tuukka Rask were the last guys off the ice after pregame skate. That probably gives a clue as to the B's scratch tonight.

12:26 p.m.
Wheels ready to roll...
After practice when I talked to Blake Wheeler, now into his second season as a pro, I asked the big forward if it were hard to get into a routine at the beginning of the season.

"Well, not that hard," he said. "Last year was my first year playing 82 games and you kind of get accustomed to it, you get into a routine, so I think last year at this time it was a little bit more of a whirlwind for me.

"I feel a lot more comfortable this year."

How about the team, Blake? Does it take a bit for the team to get into a groove?

"As a team, I think just having some new faces and kind of just molding all the chemistry together is just going to take a little time," he said in sure reference to Thursday's season opening loss. "But I think we have a great group of guys, as we did last year as well, so it will just be about getting into a rhythm and a routine [to start].

"Then, once you’re there, it’s just all about staying there."

Questioned as to what had been said in and around the locker room in the 36-hours since the B's first loss, Wheeler implied that the right things have been said by himself and others. Buuuuut...

"Talk is cheap I guess," said Blake. "I think that’s kind of our mindset; that you can say all the right things that you want to say, you can have all the great quotes, but [it means little] until you go out and do it, and you go out and show that you mean what you say.

"As I team I think we’re all pretty excited about not having to talk about [the beginning of the season and the first loss] anymore -- just being able to go out and hopefully show it and put it all on the line like we have been pretty good at doing.

"So I think that’s our biggest challenge and it will be exciting to see how we respond to that," he said.

10:54 a.m.
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice.

10:33 a.m.
It's an optional morning skate: Stuart, Bitz, Hunwick, Bergeron, Thornton, Krejci, Lucic, Begin, Wheeler, Boychuk, Morris, Rask and Thomas are on the ice.

10:25 a.m.
Mark Stuart and Tuukka Rask are the first guys on the ice for the skate. There's been some debate as to who will be in the net today. Tuukka's early showing makes me think it is Timmy.

10:04 a.m.
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien looked a little calmer, but no less intense when he spoke to the media on Friday afternoon.

“We have a lot of guys that are maybe not in sync right now and as a whole that certainly makes it challenging for a team,” said Julien. “But we just have to maybe take a step back and concentrate on our work ethic.

“If you do that, at least you’re giving yourself a chance and the rest should follow.”

The B’s worked through a lengthy detail-oriented practice on Friday, but by the end of the session smiles had returned to a bunch of faces.

Perhaps the Black & Gold have figured out what had gummed up the works on Thursday night. Their coach certainly thinks he has a pretty good idea.

“Your best players have to be your best players and your best players also have to be your hardest workers and [Thursday] on the power play we were losing battles, we were losing races,” he said.

Julien said that the clubs sub-par performance was motivation enough for his club. He doesn’t need to remind the Bruins that the club on the other bench truncated the 2008-09 season.

“There’s always that sense that ‘Yeah, this is the team that pushed us out,’ [but] at the same time we may have to look a little further and look at ourselves, see where we need to do better to win hockey games more than the revenge,” he said. “It’s got to be a little bit of both but the focus should always be on your team.”

The other bench now boasts familiar faces like Andrew Alberts, Aaron Ward and Stephane Yelle, never mind a cache of all-stars – including their goalie.

“They’re going to be a tough team to play against,” said Julien. “They’ve got a great goaltender, Cam Ward.

“He’s been very good for them for a long time. He’s an established goaltender, a real good goaltender in this league, so that’s going to be a real good challenge for us."

9:38 a.m.

Game On!
The Bruins return to action on Saturday when they host the Carolina Hurricanes at 7:00 p.m. at the TD Garden (TV: NESN, RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub). The club is 0-1 on the year following their 4-1 loss to the Capitals on opening night Thursday. Last season, the club was 9-5-5 in games following a regulation loss.

The Anaheim Ducks come to town on Thursday the 8th for a 7 p.m. tilt with the Black & Gold (TV: NESN, RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub).

Thank you Fred.
The Bruins will honor the late Fred Cusick on Saturday during their game against the Carolina Hurricanes. During the first media timeout of the second period, the club will dedicate the Bruins home TV broadcast booth to Cusick by renaming it the “Fred Cusick Broadcast Booth.” The club will also install a silver microphone encased in a black and gold frame on the TD Garden’s level 9 façade beneath the home TV broadcast booth, which will be permanently displayed, similar to the microphone that already exists for Celtics legendary broadcaster, Johnny Most.

B's move around
Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced Friday that the club has assigned goaltender Adam Courchaine to the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League, signed Lane MacDermid to a Standard Player Contract (SPC) and signed defenseman Alain Goulet to an American Hockey League Contract.

Courchaine appeared in 30 games for the Ottawa 67’s of the OHL last year and posted a 13-11-2 record. In four career games with the Providence Bruins during the last two seasons, Courchaine registered a 2-1-0 record.

MacDermid was drafted by the Bruins in the third round (112th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and tallied 7-14-21 totals and 112 penalty minutes in 38 games played last year for the 2009 Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires.

Goulet was drafted by the Bruins in the seventh round (255th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and registered 18-22-40 totals in 49 games played split between Gatineau of the QMJHL and the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavs last season.

You can read more about the B's stats and stories in this week's Week Ahead.

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