Bruins practice with makeshift lines after flu strikes


Bruins practice with makeshift lines after flu strikes

WILMINGTON -- Even the team plane has been disinfected after this one.

The Bruins were missing seven players for Tuesday's practice at Ristuccia Arena, thanks to an episode of the flu that has unexpectedly swept through the dressing room.

Patrice Bergeron, Nathan Horton, Greg Campbell, Dan Paille, Andrew Ference, Adam McQuaid, and goaltender Anton Khudobin were all suffering from flu-like symptoms on Tuesday, forcing Claude Julien to run practice with a shortened roster in preparation for Thursday night's game in Tampa Bay.

"Well, you have to ad-lib, I guess," said the Bruins' coach after Tuesday's practice. "There's still some stuff we could do with our healthy group that would benefit our team. So, we kind of put those drills together and made the best of it.

"We made the most of what we needed to do with this group that we had," added Julien. "It was still a good practice day, but if you want to look at the bright side, we'd rather now than have it happening on Thursday morning. So we'll hopefully have it all taken care of by then."

Julien said he first learned of players being sick on Monday night. But after showing up to the rink on Tuesday, he saw just how bad it was.

"Some last night, some this morning," said Julien. "As you know, they kind of sneak in there, so I think we had about three or four last night, and then we added more this morning, including a coach. It's one of those things that we go through every year. But I don't think we've ever had this amount all at once."

The Bruins have yet to make any call-ups because of the flu-like symptoms as of Tuesday afternoon, but if some players are still sick on Wednesday, they'll have no choice but to do something.

"We're hoping it's a short-term thing, which it seems to be," said Julien. "But if that's the case, then we'll have to deal with that probably tomorrow."

As for the players who are currently healthy, they have only one thought on their mind.

"I thought, 'What can I do to not get sick?' That's probably all the guys' thoughts right now, to just stay healthy," said forward Rich Peverley after Tuesday's practice. "It's too bad something like that happens."

"I had no clue until I got here today and guys were going down with the flu," said forward Milan Lucic. "Hopefully it's just a 24-hour thing where guys can make a speedy recovery. I'm sure they're drinking a lot of fluids and getting a lot of that type of stuff in them throughout the course of the day."

Saturday, Oct. 22: Coyotes' growing pains


Saturday, Oct. 22: Coyotes' growing pains

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while suffering from the same “general soreness” as Tuukka Rask.

*The Arizona Coyotes are suffering from growing pains that were extremely evident during a winless road trip.

*Steve Dangle is obviously jacked and pumped about his Maple Leafs, but wondering about the future of Roman Polak. But aren’t we all at this point?

*Old friends Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg both scored the victorious Islanders in a Friday night win.

*Clarke MacArthur isn’t ready to retire even as concussion issues are really starting to impact his ability to stay on the ice.

*Teemu Selanne gives fellow Finn Patrick Laine a thumbs up as he was in town for events with his former Winnipeg Jets.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details on noted Bruins killer Dale Weise getting suspended for three games after some dirty activity with the Philadelphia Flyers.

*For something completely different: Geoff Edgers has been trying to reach Bill Murray for weeks, and here’s what happened when he finally called back.


Bruins looking for a lift from stagnant power play


Bruins looking for a lift from stagnant power play

BRIGHTON, Mass. – One area where the Bruins are looking for more after a mostly positive first four regular-season games: the power play.

The B’s are a downright gross 1-for-14 on the man-advantage to start the season and were 0-for-4 on Thursday night while squeaking out a last-minute win over the New Jersey Devils. The early-season 7.1 percent success rate doesn’t have them last in the NHL, but only the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames have performed at a lower PP clip.

It’s a subject that Claude Julien knew was coming from the B’s media, and so he was ready to answer for it ahead of Saturday night’s rivalry renewal with the Montreal Canadiens.

“I knew it was just a matter of time before that question came. It is what it is. I think we had some opportunities, but we haven’t finished,” said Julien. “At the end of the day our power play is judged by whether you score or not, and I thought our second period [vs. the Devils] wasn’t great. But our third period had some really good power plays, but we didn’t manage to score.

“Where we need to get to right now [on the power play], is to find a way to finish. There’s no doubt the absence of Patrice Bergeron there brings somebody else in, and maybe there’s not as much chemistry as we’re used to. But I think with him back now we can even be better, and get a little more movement…not be so stagnant. When we struggle a bit it’s because we’re a little stagnant, and we need to get a little better there.”

Quite a bit of the struggles go back to Bergeron missing the first three games of the season and the top power-play unit missing No. 37 from his trademark bumper role at the center of the PP action. The power play remained scoreless as the unit adjusted to Bergeron's return on Thursday night, but it seemed that things started to click a little bit as that game went on.

“It’s not moving right now. We’ll just work through it. There were times last year where it let us down, and there were times last year where it helped us through some tough moments,” said Torey Krug of the PP. “Right now we’re able to play through it, but at some point this team is going to need this PP to step up and score some goals. We rely on that, and the guys on the power play take a lot of pride in it.

“[Bergeron] does a lot of things for us. Instead of me having to go all the way to the other end to break the puck out where I’m losing 20 seconds and frankly it’s tiring to break the puck out, now we have him winning face-offs and we’re starting with the puck in the zone. That’s a big thing, and he collects puck like nobody else in the league. With him back on the power play it brings another important player to the forefront, but it’s a five man unit and when everything’s working out there [on the PP] we have a good unit.”

Now with Ryan Spooner expected to rejoin the B’s lineup, after being healthy scratch vs. New Jersey, that adds another dangerous power-play weapon that practiced with that unit on Saturday morning ahead of the traditional morning skate. The hope is that installing Bergeron and Spooner will help kick-start a special teams unit that’s been less than explosive, and not quite cohesive, in the first four games of the season.