Chara, Bergeron, Kelly at Bruins skate

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Chara, Bergeron, Kelly at Bruins skate

BOSTON -- There were a few new faces for the Bruins at Wednesdays informal skate as Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly were all at Agganis Arena this morning. All three had played previously in Europe over the last four months with Bergeron wrapping up around Jan. 1 at the end of the Spengler Cup and Chara flying into Boston on Tuesday to join his teammates for a week of workouts.

Kelly was back from his stint in Switzerland weeks ago, and drove from Ottawa to his residence in Boston within the last couple of days. All expressed happiness at getting back on the ice and being reunited for a 2013 NHL season thats expected to get moving with training camp this weekend.

Its good to see the guys and Im very excited to get started, said Bergeron. Im happy to be back and be able to step on the ice at the Garden pretty soon. Im excited.

In all 11 Bruins players were on the ice as the player roster begins to fill out with the familiar faces. Bergeron, Chara and Kelly were joined by Tyler Seguin who returned after a quick trip to Toronto Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference, Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Tuukka Rask, Adam McQuaid, Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic as well as NHL veteran Jay Pandolfo. The Bruins teammates were passing around Seguin's EHC Biel jersey to wear and cracking jokes throughout the skate at BU. Kelly lamented he wasn't able to don the special Biel helmet with the flames shooting out of the side that notates the team's leading scorer -- a piece of equipment Seguin wore early and often in Switzerland.

Johnny Boychuk skated on Tuesday at BU, but was missing from the Black and Gold contingent on Wednesday.  

For the second straight day the high-tempo practice organized by former NHL forward Mike Grier was full of high-energy skating drills and battle drills around the net. This time, however, the practice ended with a group of penalty shots from the Bruins players on Rask and former Northeastern goaltender Adam Geragosian, who has been helping Bruins players at practice. Its expected that the Bruins players could move their informal skates over to the team practice facility at Ristuccia Arena as soon as Thursday morning.

Friday, Jan. 20: Canes’ Bickell tries to carry on after MS diagnosis

Friday, Jan. 20: Canes’ Bickell tries to carry on after MS diagnosis

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while simply skating my lane today.

*A terrific piece on Carolina Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell getting on with his life after an MS diagnosis, and pushing to see if he can return to the ice.

*If the New York Islanders botch the hirings for people guiding the franchise, then John Tavares could be one of the next figures gone from Brooklyn.

*It’s been a rough go of it for St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen over the past few weeks and that continued on Thursday night.

*Top NHL Draft prospect Nolan Patrick’s value comes from his two-way play, and that’s what teams are focused on rather than the injury issues.

*Mike Babcock talks a wide range of subjects with James Duthie during a 1-on-1 with the Toronto Maple Leafs head coach.

*In his never-ending odyssey on the fringes of the NHL, Seth Griffith has been claimed by the Maple Leafs on waivers for the second time.

*Veteran forward Clarke MacArthur won’t be playing this season for the Ottawa Senators amid his concussion issues.

*For something completely different: Bill Belichick just being Bill Belichick at his press conference on Friday and that’s something we can all be reassured about.

 

Patriots have perfect attendance at final practice of AFC Championship week

Patriots have perfect attendance at final practice of AFC Championship week

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had perfect attendance at Friday's practice, meaning they had all 53 players on their active roster present and accounted for at all three practices this week. 

Contrast that with how things have gone for the Steelers this week, and there is a stark difference. Star running back Le'Veon Bell missed each of his team's first two on-the-field workouts this week, and several Steelers players are dealing with a bug that seems to have circulated the locker room. 

The Patriots could have an interesting game-day roster decision to make should Chris Hogan (thigh), Malcolm Mitchell (knee) and Danny Amendola (ankle) both be healthy enough to play on Sunday. They have not entered a game with five receivers in uniform this season but could potentially dress Mitchell, Amendola, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Michael Floyd.

Other players listed as limited participants in practice this week are Brandon Bolden (knee), Martellus Bennett (knee), Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) and Jabaal Sheard (knee).