By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON A rare off-day practice at TD Garden for the Bruins Friday afternoon got a little moreinteresting whenbigright wingerNathan Horton decided to wake up the sleepy affair with a little nastiness.Horton started throwing bodies around during 5-on-5 battle drills at the end of the hour-long sessionwith his line facing off against Patrice Bergerons line at practice. Its pretty clear both lines are making their claims about where the bulk of ice time should go once the postseason dance begins. Horton drilled Bergeron in the corner with a punishing hit that was a little above and beyond the intensitynorm at practice, and it caused both Bergeron and Mark Recchi to both hit the ice as a result of the body check'safter-shock.Both Bergeron and Recchi appeareda little stunned at Hortons surprise helping of mean, but it plays right into the snarl the B'sright winger has been playing with over the last month of the regular season. Different players get ready for the postseason in different ways, and this is just another piece of evidence that there wont be too many smiles on the ice from Horton once hisfirst Stanley Cup playoff experiencegets going.Horton later smacked into Dennis Seidenberg in the corner to perhaps show that the first car crash wasnt by accident, and it immediately sparked up the tempo and intensity of a practice sessionbetween games against the Leafs and Thrashers.
David Krejci laughed when asked about the incident, but indicated there was a purpose to it. It is what it is, said Krejci. Just change it up a little bit, I guess. It was nothing personal or anything. The practice was a little sleepy, I guess, and the physical game woke us up a bit and the practice was way better.Lots of people are going through different emotions. As long as when the playoffs come everybody is on the same page and theyre feeling comfortable with themselves thats what everybody wants.Interestingly enough, Horton also approached Bergeron in the dressing room following practice to make sure there were no hard feelings stemming from their collision, and the Bs center certainly doesnt have any issues with a competitive practice ramping up toward the postseason.Its a part of the game, right, said Bergeron. Thats the way its going to be in games. If you bring the intensity and emotion that you had in practice then everything will be fine. It was intense and I was the one on the receiving end, I guess. You need to get the puck out, and thats how you get the puck back, I guess. I was a little surprised. I wasnt expecting it necessarily, but its all good. Zdeno Chara was again missing from the on-ice portion of Bruins practice after the team gathered for the team picture, but Julien said his captain would be in the lineup against the Thrashers on Saturday afternoon. No decision has been made on Shane Hnidy for Saturdays game against the Thrashers, but Hnidy did say hed like to play more than one or two games if possible to get ready for the playoffs.