WILMINGTON, Mass. There were indications the Bruins werent going to spend the two off days in Montreal between Games Three and Four against the Canadiens during the first round of the playoffs, and that became official on Tuesday.
Rather than travel all the way back to Boston for a couple of days of practice, however, the Bs are going to head to the setting of the 1980 Miracle on Ice for several days away from the Montreal circus.
Following Game Three on Monday, the Bruins will travel to Lake Placid - home of the United States' stunning Olympic victory over the Soviet Union in 1980 - where they will practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. The team will then head back to Montreal on Wednesday evening to get ready for Thursdays game at the Bell Centre.
The Bruins dont have many American players on the roster, but going to Lake Placid will be incredibly meaningful for goaltender Tim Thomas.
Thomas grew up a youngster in Flint, Michigan inspired by the 1980 Team USA goaltender, Jim Craig, and has always spoken glowingly about the Miracle on Ice squad. Now hell be able to practice on the same surface where they pulled off one of hockey's - and, in fact, one of sports' - greatest upsets.
It's an inspired move by Bs president Cam Neely and general manager Peter Chiarelli to get the team into a friendlier environment outside of Quebec.
Count Milan Lucic among the Bruin players looking forward to the hostility getting kicked up between the Bs and Canadiens once the first puck gets dropped in anger on Thursday night.
Lucic aptly described the mindsets of both fan bases while getting ready for the 33rd postseason matchup between the two squads.
Its definitely going to be there. Our fans are going to want to see us beat the hell out of them and their fans are going to want to see them beat the hell out of us, said Lucic. We know the energy is going to be high in both buildings, and thats what makes the rivalry so great. The fans are so pumped up about it.
Mark Recchi refused all questions about the Max Pacioretty statements he made the last time Montreal was coming to town - he said the Montreal medical staff publicly embellished Pacioretty's injuries in an attempt to force the NHL to punish Zdeno Chara - and said he didnt care about what reception was waiting for him when he get to the Bell Centre.
There was also a report that Recchi, a former Canadien, had never reached out to apologize to the Montreal medical staff, but he wasnt really willing to go there at all.
Im not talking about it, said Recchi. I dont care. I have a job to do. I dont really care. I said it was the last time I was speaking about it the last time. Ive got a job to do. I spent five wonderful years there, and thats about it.
Steve Kampfer was present at the Bs practice facility at Ristuccia Arena, but was rehabbing his knee injury rather than taking part on any of the practice drills on the ice.
Claude Julien was barking out orders at the beginning of practice as he put his players through the paces, but said the emotion wasnt anything out of the ordinary.
It was about clarifying the message of what we were trying to accomplish. My voice might have been raised, but I wasnt barking, said Julien.