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Good morning from the Garden

3/22/2011

BOSTON – The slumping Boston Bruins held an optional skate this morning in preparation for their game against the surging New Jersey Devils tonight at TD Garden.

The only Bruins players to skate were forward Daniel Paille and goaltender Tuukka Rask.

Boston is 1-3-3 in its last six games, and with only 11 games remaining in the regular season, the Bruins need to sprint into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“We haven’t played as well as we know we can,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “There’s a better team in that dressing room than we’ve shown within the last little while. We’ve got to straighten that out as soon as we can. Hopefully it starts tonight.”

Julien’s morning scrum with the media was brief. He also talked about defenseman Shane Hnidy coming off long-term injury reserve and Brad Marchand returning to the lineup after serving his two-game suspension, and Julien also commented on the season-ending suspension for the Penguins’ Matt Cooke.

On Hnidy: “We’ll see him at some point in our lineup. We brought him here to give us some depth and if we’re going to use him as a depth player, at some point he’ll see some action.”

On Marchand’s return to the lineup: “We have some different options and those decisions on those options will be finalized tonight before the game.”

Since Paille was the lone skater this morning, it’s likely he could be the healthy scratch.

On Cooke: “I’m not sitting here and commenting on other suspensions. I respect what the league is doing and that’s my answer to that. You kind of take care of your backyard and let the media handle those things."