By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comRALEIGH, N.C. The Bruins were all present and accounted for at the RBC Center two days after the NHL All-Star game blew out of town after a highly successful weekend even Tyler Seguin after he was on a 6:45 am flight to Boston Sunday morning for Monday practice and a flight right back to North Carolina.With 32 games remaining and holding firmly at first place in the Northeast Division, the Bruins are in a good spot for their playoff push with the intensity about to kick up a notch around the NHL.Were all striving for consistency, but at the same time were also in third place and weve been consistent than a lot of other teams are, said Julien. Im not that saying that its not something were driving for because we want to be more successful, but this second half is more about being ready to play every night.There are teams that are pushing to get into the playoffs, and battling to get into playoff position. Were no different. To get where we want to be, were going to have to start pushing as well.It appeared that the lines were exactly as they were prior to the All-Star break, and once again Mark Stuart will be the healthy scratch for a Bruins team that found a cohesive six-man defensemen unit while he was out with a broken right hand. If Stuart sits and he was the last player off the RBC Center ice for morning skate its the fourth straight game hes a healthy scratch for the Bruins. Hockey sources indicated to CSNNE.com over the weekend that Stuart is being sought after on the trade front, and it could be only a matter of time before hes dealt in a pure salary cap clearing move in anticipation of another deal on the way.Bs coach Claude Julien said it was all about the six defensemen playing at a high level currently, and that includes Adam McQuaid supplanting Stuart as a tough, physical presence around the Boston net in a bottom D pairing.I dont think its a reflection of his play any more than its what the other six guys have given us, said Julien. Anybody thats watched us knows that the tandem has played well and been pretty steady. For the most part the pairs have been reliable, and for the most part its a numbers game and hes been a victim of that.When youre in a numbers game you just bite the bullet a little bit and eventually things will work out. I know its not easy for him. To his credit hes always been a team first guy, and as much as he wants to be in there and wants to play, he also doesnt want to disrupt whats going in the room. Hes not thinking about No. 1. Hes thinking about team and whats best for it, and thats a credit to him. Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice, and it appears hell be right back into the starting shoot against the Hurricanes after playing both ends of the home-and-home against Carolina prior to the All-Star break.Mark celebrated his 43rd birthday on Tuesday prior to tonights game against the Carolina Hurricanes, and celebrated by dining with teammates on Monday night including Tyler Seguin, who turned 19 on Sunday.Rex marveled at the fact he can still play the game he loves and the highest level as he turns 43, and was more than happy to celebrate it with the youngest guy on the team.
Its amazing to still be playing. I never ever imagined would last this long, said Recchi. And I love to help young guys. I had some great guys help me when I was youngster.
By Joe Haggerty