Woodhead, Jones present at Wednesday practice

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Woodhead, Jones present at Wednesday practice

FOXBORO -- It was well-known that tight end Rob Gronkowski, who last weekend sustained his second arm fracture of the season and is out for the remainder of the playoffs, would miss Wednesday's practice. Alfonzo Dennard's absence is not as easily explained, however. 
The Patriots cornerback was on previous injury reports with hamstring and knee issues. He was inactive for New England's final two games of the regular season, but did play nearly every snap in last Sunday's Divisional Playoff game. 
Wednesday's participation report will clarify whether Dennard suffered a setback with previous injuries or if he is dealing with a new health issue. 
Otherwise, the Patriots had full attendance at the mid-week workout. The pair of players injured against Houston, running back Danny Woodhead (thumb) and defensive end Chandler Jones (ankle), were present and accounted for. 
Head coach Bill Belichick said yesterday that both players will be put through the paces this week. 
"We'll take a look at them Tuesday, take a look at them Wednesday and make a decision as to whether or not we think they can practice," he said. "If we do, we'll put them out there, let them go through the early part of practice -- the warmup stages, some individual work -- see how that progresses and make a decision as to whether or not to put them in the group and team drills that come later on in practice. 
"We do the same thing with every player in different categories. If they're not ready, they don't practice or they practice on a limited basis. If they're able to continue with what all the things all the other players are doing."

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.