Bruins: Andrew Ference

Ference gives Rangers jacket to Brown

July, 11, 2013
7/11/13
4:39
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The Army Rangers jacket that was awarded to a different Bruins player after each victory in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs has found a permanent home.

Former Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference, who signed with the Oilers recently after seven seasons in Boston, gave the jacket to Matt Brown, the Norwood High School hockey player who was paralyzed from the neck down in 2010 after suffering a spinal cord injury during a game.

On Thursday, Ference tweeted a photo of Brown wearing the jacket:



The jacket had originally been given to Ference by Army Sgt. Lucas Carr, who also has a connection to Brown: Carr pushed Brown in last year’s Boston Marathon.

Video: Ference leaves B's for Oilers

July, 6, 2013
7/06/13
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Scott Burnside breaks down the Oilers' signing of defenseman Andrew Ference.

"I talked to Andrew Ference earlier today after he'd signed the deal in Edmonton, and he'd seen the writing on the wall," Burnside says. "The Bruins have three or four terrific young defensemen coming up. We saw Torey Krug, we know Dougie Hamilton, [Matt] Bartkowski. Those are guys that the Bruins are going to want to ease into their lineup next season.

"And Andrew Ference was a guy that the Bruins felt they could get along without. He was an important part of that Bruin team the last four or five years, part of that Cup-winning team."

Horton, Ference off the board

July, 5, 2013
7/05/13
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A couple of key players from the Bruins' team that reached the Stanley Cup finals in two of the past three seasons signed elsewhere on Friday:

* The Edmonton Oilers signed defenseman Andrew Ference to a four-year deal on Friday. Ference's deal is worth $3.25 million a year, a source told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun.

The 34-year-old Edmonton native was a key part of the Bruins' run to the Stanley Cup final, although there was no room for him to return to Boston because of salary-cap issues and plenty of young defensemen coming up through the ranks.

In 760 career NHL games, Ference has 37 goals and 156 assists. He was a part of the Bruins' Stanley Cup championship team in 2011.

* The Columbus Blue Jackets made a major move Friday to shore up their lagging offense by signing free-agent right wing Nathan Horton.

The 28-year-old forward, who visited Columbus earlier this week, signed a seven-year deal. A source told ESPN The Magazine's Craig Custance that Horton's deal has a total value of $37.1 million, with $30 million paid in the first five years of the deal.

Horton, who still needs offseason shoulder surgery which will delay the start of his season, had already informed the Bruins he was not interested in re-signing in Boston.

Ference, Jagr, Pandolfo won't be back

June, 26, 2013
6/26/13
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BOSTON -- Less than 48 hours after losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals, Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli already has informed defenseman Andrew Ference and forward Jaromir Jagr and Jay Pandolfo, all veteran free agents, that the team doesn’t intend to re-sign them.

Chiarelli also told free agents Tuukka Rask and top-line forward Nathan Horton that the team is interested in bringing them back. With the salary cap decreasing, Chiarelli needs to make salary cap space to bring Rask and Horton back on long-term deals.

The GM also said the team would not buy out any contracts.

The Bruins would like to have a new deal with Rask, who is a restricted free agent, by July 5, when the free-agency period begins and other teams are eligible to make him an offer. The Bruins would have to match another team’s offer in order to retain his services.

Horton, an unrestricted free agent, said he wants to remain in Boston, which would be just fine with Chiarelli.

“I’ve told him that I’d like him to come back,” Chiarelli said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Horton will have surgery this offseason to repair a separated shoulder. His performance was inconsistent during the regular season, but he was a force in the playoffs, along with linemates Milan Lucic and David Krejci. Chiarelli called that trio “the best line in hockey” and wants to keep it together.

“When you make a decision to try and bring back guys that are on the eve of free agency, you’d like to think that you can make the right decision before the last possible moment,” Chiarelli said. “Usually, that’s what I try and do. There are so many balls in the air this year, and then with the cap going down. I try to be proactive on stuff and I try to get ahead of stuff, and this year it was too hard. It’s not the ideal way, but I’m going to try to push through it now.”

Horton said he would rather not discuss his contract status, but would like to return to Boston.

“I have enjoyed my time here,” he said. “Two out of the three years I’ve been here we’ve been in the Stanley Cup and we won one time. I’ve said a million times the guys in the room are amazing and it’s been a lot of fun. I really enjoy every player on the team.”

Ference spent seven seasons with the Bruins and was a leader on and off the ice. He became very involved in the community, but he realizes the business side of the game and knows the Bruins can’t afford his services.

“With the current cap, Peter’s not going to be able to keep me,” Ference said. “I wish it wasn’t so, but that’s the way it is.

“Even working through the [lockout negotiations] in New York, we’re lucky we got the cap to where we did,” Ference said. “[Chiarelli] would have had even more of a nightmare on his hands with trying to keep this team together. Obviously, throughout the year you prepare yourself for not being here. You hope things can work out, but myself and my family, we were prepared for it, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

“With the team we’ve had the last few years, I’ve been around this sport long enough to know that six straight years of playoffs, and to do with a bunch of guys that get along, with a coach we’ve been able to work with for as long as we’ve had it, it’s been an absolute blessing. So the hockey side of it is as good as you can get.”

Chiarelli said his conversation with Ference was a tough one.

“I spoke with him and told him that we wouldn’t be re-signing him and we kind of rehashed our history with the Bruins,” the GM said. “If you can recall, we brought him in my first year. He’s been part of this, what we’ve built here. The warrior-type of attitude and playing style for his size; as Claude talked about, the leadership. He’s been through seven years, basically, and you can’t say enough about his leadership and what he’s brought to our organization.”

Landing spots for Ference could include Pittsburgh, Toronto and the New York Rangers.

Jagr, 41 and a future Hall of Famer, would like to continue playing in the NHL but it won’t be in Boston. While he admitted Wednesday that he did not play up to his expectations, the Bruins were pleased with his contributions after acquiring him from the Dallas Stars at the trade deadline.

“I thought it was really good. I don’t think Jaromir would say that because, you guys have talked to him, he always felt that he could have given us more,” Chiarelli said. “I told him today, I said, ‘Jaromir, what you did to wear the D down was very impressive.’ I said, ‘I know you didn’t score, but the plays that you made, the timely plays that you made, I thought were terrific.’ I thought he spread out our power play, which helped our power play. I was real happy with Jaromir. I thought he really helped that cause.”

On Wednesday, Jagr said he was still sad the team lost Game 6 and admitted he suffered a back injury in that game that forced him to miss the second period. But he says he has more hockey in him.

“I want do it, for sure,” he said. “I love this game so much and I don’t want to go back to Czech yet. I’ll tell you now, I don’t know where but I’ll have to wait and see. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Ference: 'Cruel way to finish a game'

June, 25, 2013
6/25/13
1:49
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BOSTON -- Andrew Ference stood in front of his stall, a "Boston Strong" T-shirt clinging to him. His skates, hanging from pegs overhead, leaked perspiration like the drip of a coffee machine.

"What can you say?"

The Bruins' one-goal, third-period lead in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals expired in a span of 17 seconds. Bryan Bickell's one-timer on the doorstep with an extra attacker tied the game at 2-2 with 1:16 left, and then Dave Bolland delivered the winner as a Bruins team that prided itself on playing defense-first hockey suffered another postseason breakdown for the ages.

"It's just a cruel way to finish a game, that's for sure," said Ference, who was on the ice for Bolland's Cup clincher with 58.3 seconds remaining in regulation.

On both late goals, the Bruins were either outmuscled or outworked below the faceoff dots.

With about 1:20 remaining, Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford vacated his net for the extra attacker. Then, with four forwards in the zone, eventual Conn Smythe Trophy winner Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews worked in tandem to win a loose puck. With the puck freed, Duncan Keith, pinching in along the left-wing wall, stepped up and hit Toews, who was wheeling off the boards below the goal line.

"It was Toews, he had the puck and I had to respect him if he was going to stuff it," Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask explained.

Holding onto his blocker-side post, Rask pushed off, but did so with pads separated, leaving the 5-hole open for Bickell's one-timer.

"They got their best players out there on the ice and then [Toews] made a great pass," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. "We got caught a little on the wall with their D's pre-pinching."

On Bolland's series-clinching score, the Bruins defense was again slow to react.

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After Johnny Oduya's slapshot from the point was deflected in front of Rask, Bolland was able to establish inside position on Johnny Boychuk, hanging out to the right of Rask. With no leverage, Boychuk attempted to slash the stick out of Bolland's hands.

"We were trying to figure out what it hit in the high slot," Boychuk said. "It hit something and went straight to the tape."

But with the puck on the doorstep, Bolland had an empty net ahead of him, with Rask out of position in an effort to play the initial shot.

The puck went in after the force of Boychuk's downward thrust undid Bolland's stick and gloves from his hands.

Bolland threw his bare knuckles into the air in celebration.

"It makes you want to throw up at the end because it's not for a lack of effort that guys put into it," Ference said.

He added, "They got themselves into the right positions and got the win."

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Perhaps most frustrating for the Bruins' defensive corps was their inability to refocus. For a team that came back to win the Cup in 2011 after trailing three games to two and exhibited uncanny resolve in a Game 7 comeback against Toronto earlier in this postseason, Monday was an aberration.

"You're not happy to give up that tying goal for sure, but this team is as good as any in turning the page and getting on with it," Ference said.

And then, the bottom fell out.

"It's shocking," Rask said. "You think you have things under control. We killed a big penalty there. We're thinking, 'Oh, we're just going to keep it tight and score maybe an empty-netter.' And then, all of a sudden, they score a goal."

And then, there was another.

Defensive effort lifting Bruins

June, 4, 2013
6/04/13
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BEDFORD, Mass. -- At times, it hasn’t the most breathtaking method of play to watch unfold. But then again, nobody’s awarding style points this time of year.

This morning, the Bruins touched down at Hanscom Air Force Base having swept the Penguins on their ice in the first two games, by a 9-1 margin that nobody could have possibly seen coming. The Bruins have jumped out to a 2-0 lead in large part because of their commitment to coach Claude Julien’s defensive system.

“I’m not going to start talking about my whole game plan here, but I think it’s pretty obvious that we have layers,” Julien said. “We have guys that are committed to coming back, and just making sure that there’s layer after layer and making it hard to get to our net.”

In last night’s 6-1 throttling of Pittsburgh, the Bruins were outhit 37-19, but dominated puck possession at both ends. Trying to thread the needle through a jungle of bodies and stick blades, the Penguins saw 15 shot attempts miss the net, and another 16 get blocked by Bruins players -- including a game-high four from Zdeno Chara.

When they weren’t blocking shots, the Bruins were successful in suffocating the Penguins’ puck movement, rotating around the crease and keeping their sticks active in the slot and at the goal line, cutting off passing lanes.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Ference
Gregory Shamus/NHLI/Getty ImagesAndrew Ference missed the entire series against the Rangers before returning in Game 1 against the Penguins.
“It’s just responsibility, it’s little details of the game,” said defenseman Andrew Ference, who has been a plus-4 with one point in the series since returning from an injury that caused him to miss eight games. “For some of us, it’s just the way that we play, and then there are some guys who have had to adjust their game and really learn how to make that a priority. It’s nothing fancy, it’s just paying attention to the little details.”

Superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin finished a combined minus-3 with no points Monday night, with the typically other-worldly Crosby recording one of the worst playoff performances of his career – four giveaways, two shots and no points in 23:01 of ice time. So far in this series, the two are a combined minus-6, with no points.

One key for the Bruins in this series has been the return of Ference.

In the previous series against the New York Rangers, an injury-depleted defensive core got a spark from a trio of rookies, most notably Torey Krug, who scored four goals in his first five playoff games. Offensive-minded youngsters Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton gave the Bruins some much-needed jump -- but that also meant a shuffling of the defensive pairings.

But with Dennis Seidenberg healthier and Ference back (though still wearing a walking boot -- “I’ve gotta see the doctors this week … it’d be nice to get matching shoes again,” Ference cracked), Julien has been able to go back to his bread-and-butter playoff pairings, with Chara and Seidenberg on the top pairing. Those two have spent the bulk of the series matched up with Pittsburgh’s top line of Crosby, Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz.

“He’s been really good, great player,” Julien said of Ference. “Obviously you saw it in the first game, he carried the puck up the ice and made a good rush, and we were able to score on that. He defends well, he’s a good battler.

“There’s a lot of things that he brings -- experience, leadership -- and he just stepped in there for a guy that’s been out a while, and he’s come back and he hasn’t missed a beat.”

Not much is likely to change between now and Wednesday night’s Game 3 puck drop at TD Garden. But it’s good to know there is plenty of firepower in the cannon, too.

“We’re extremely pleased, too, with the job the young guys have done – Bartkowski, Hamilton, and obviously Krug is still in our lineup,” Julien said. “But it just means we have a lot of depth. No matter what happens, we’re confident with our group.”

Ference shows no ill effects in return

June, 2, 2013
6/02/13
2:04
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PITTSBURGH -- In his first game action since he suffered a lower-body injury in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference showed no ill effects from his hiatus, registering an assist on David Krejci’s first goal.

“Obviously it’s nice and it was very difficult to watch,” Ference said. “It’s a lot easier when you win and watch but you want to contribute, you want to be a part of it.

“Every guy that had to play, [Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton], have done a tremendous job, so it’s not the most comfortable situation, especially Bart’s here with family.”

Bartkowski is from the Pittsburgh area.

“It’s tough. I know it’s tough and I’ve been in that situation and it’s a hard call for the coach,” Ference said. “It’s a hard thing for players because we do have a tight group. At the end of the day it’s hockey and that’s what happens. Everybody’s been mature about it and whether you’re in or out, guys have contributed to this team.”

With the assist, Boston’s defensemen have contributed 31 of the team’s 110 points in the Stanley Cup playoffs so far.

Game 1 Reaction: Bruins 3, Penguins 0

June, 1, 2013
6/01/13
11:00
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PITTSBURGH -- Forward David Krejci scored a pair of goals to lead the Boston Bruins to a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night at CONSOL Energy Center.

Krejci is the top scorer in the Stanley Cup playoffs and now has seven goals and 12 assists in 13 postseason games. Teammate Nathan Horton also scored for Boston. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask earned his first career playoff shutout with a 29-save performance against the top offensive team in the NHL.

The Penguins came out fast and furious and sustained pressure on the opening shift. Pittsburgh had plenty of chances, but Rask made the timely saves. The Bruins took the early lead when Krejci’s one-timer from the high slot beat Tomas Vokoun to the five-hole at 8:23 of the first period.

With the Bruins holding a 1-0 lead, the Penguins nearly scored in the closing seconds of the opening period when Evgeni Malkin’s bid slid across the goal line but did not sneak in. Rask finished the period with 12 saves.

After a scoreless second period, the Bruins scored twice in the third period. After Krejci’s second of the game at 4:04, Horton netted his sixth of the playoffs at 7:51 to give Boston a 3-0 lead. With a three-goal cushion, Rask did the rest and the Bruins took the early series lead.

FERENCE RETURNS: In his first game action since he suffered a lower-body injury in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference showed no ill effects from his hiatus, registering an assist on Krejci’s goal. With the assist, Boston’s defensemen have contributed 31 of the team’s 110 points in the Stanley Cup playoffs so far.

COOKE INJURES McQUAID: The Penguins’ Matt Cooke received a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct for his check from behind on the Bruins’ Adam McQuaid at 1:32 of the second period. McQuaid went behind Boston’s net to play the puck and was facing the glass when Cooke hit him from behind. McQuaid was clearly shaken up on the play and remained on the ice for a moment and was tended to by the team trainer. McQuaid went to the locker room and missed approximately nine minutes before he returned to the ice.

DROP ‘EM: After it appeared both teams were skating off the rust in the first period after a week off between games, the physical aspect picked up in the second period. In fact, when the buzzer sounded to end the period, Patrice Bergeron and Malkin, neither known for their fisticuffs, dropped the gloves. After Bergeron hit the ice, Malkin kept throwing punches. During the scrum, Zdeno Chara and Sidney Crosby were chirping at each other. When the ice was finally cleared, Ference and Crosby, along with the refs, had a discussion near the Pittsburgh bench.

SPECIAL TEAMS: In typical Bruins fashion, their penalty kill was strong and the power play struggled. Overall, Boston went 0-for-4 on the man advantage and are now 7-for-36 in the playoffs. After Cooke’s hit on McQuaid, the Bruins only had a three-minute power play since Chris Kelly was called for roughing. Even with a man advantage for that amount of time, the Bruins couldn’t capitalize. With Horton in the box for slashing at 11:04 of the second period, Bergeron had a golden shorthanded opportunity on a breakaway but he couldn’t control his deke and lost the puck. The Penguins went 0-for-5 on the power play.

UP NEXT: Game 2 will be played Monday night at 8 at CONSOL Energy Center.

Ference returns; Bartkowski scratched

June, 1, 2013
6/01/13
8:26
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PITTSBURGH -- In a bit of a surprise, Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference returns to the lineup for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Rookie defenseman Matt Bartkowski, who has played well in the playoffs, is a healthy scratch.

Ference suffered a lower-body injury in Game 5 of the quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs and has not played since.

Ference has been skating all week and participated in the pregame warmups, showing no ill effects, so Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to go with the veteran presence.

It appeared that would allow Julien to use his preferred defensive pairing of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. Ference will play with Johnny Boychuk, while Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid will be a pair.

Ference recalls fight with Crosby

June, 1, 2013
6/01/13
2:30
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PITTSBURGH -- There are many storylines to examine in the Bruins-Penguins series, so it was no surprise when a reporter asked Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference about his fight with Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby.

On Dec. 20, 2007, the two dropped the gloves at TD Garden and it was a spirited exchange. In fact, it was Crosby’s first NHL fight.

“It was a nice, good, short fight and probably ended up good for me that nothing [happened]. He’s a competitive player and most competitive players in the league end up in a couple of dust-ups,” Ference said Saturday after the team’s morning skate at Consol Energy Center.

Crosby registered a Gordie Howe hat trick that game, posting a fight, a goal and two assists.

“Trivial Pursuit question, that’s about it for me. I’m still waiting for a signed picture,” Ference said.

Ference uncertain on Game 1 status

June, 1, 2013
6/01/13
1:54
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PITTSBURGH -- Based on the way he’s skating and practicing, it appears Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference is ready to return to the lineup, but coach Claude Julien will make the final decision whether he plays Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Julien isn't tipping his hand.

“I have no idea,” Ference said at Saturday's morning skate when asked if he’s playing. “That’s not my call.”

Ference suffered a lower-body injury in Game 5 of the quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs and has not played since. When asked if the decision was his, Ference said it's not that simple.

“He [Julien] knows me really well, the trainers know what to do, and let’s be honest the only player that gets to make that choice was Mario [Lemieux] back when he was playing, so it really has nothing to do with us,” he said. “Our job is to be honest and be ready.”

Since Ference's absence, young defensemen Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski have played well and are making significant contributions, which could make Julien’s decision a tough one. Either way, Ference is taking the team-first approach.

“Everybody wants to be part of the mix,” Ference said. “Even just feeling like you can contribute in any way, and you can do that in many ways by being positive and supportive. There’s more than what just happens on the ice. There’s a lot of support and roles that go into it and everybody needs to be on their game no matter what the situation is.”

During the morning skate, Ference was paired with a mix of defensemen. If he’s not playing in Game 1, he understands the importance of handling the situation as a professional.

“Everybody knows that. You don’t even make the playoffs without that mentality,” Ference said. “It’s a room that gets it and that’s why there’s been some pretty good consistent success. You look at every other team that’s here, the teams that have made the playoffs, and it’s more than what you do on the ice.

“It’s a long year, a hard battle and most overused word is ‘parity’ but it’s true. There are very little things that separate every team. Having the right attitude and the right environment can push you above other people. It’s no different if a guy was out months ago compared to now. You need to do your part no matter what your role is on the team.”

Ference skates, but still no timetable

May, 27, 2013
5/27/13
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BOSTON -- Injured Bruins defensemen Andrew Ference and Wade Redden skated with Jaromir Jagr at TD Garden on Monday morning as the remainder of the team rested. Coach Claude Julien said it was the second straight day in which Ference (lower body) skated but stopped short of saying he’ll be ready to play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Penguins.

“He’s skated a few days here, so he’s obviously on the mend,” Julien said of Ference, who hasn’t played since Game 5 of the conference quarterfinals series against Toronto. “But not ready to say he’s ready to go here.”

What happens, though, when Ference and/or Redden are healthy enough to play? With rookie sensation Torey Krug -- who has four goals and an assist in his first five playoff games -- and fellow rookie defenseman Matt Bartkowski playing so well, how will Julien balance chemistry versus getting more experience back in the lineup?

“A lot goes into it. At one point you make a decision, and that doesn’t mean that it’s an easy one, because it’s not,” Julien said. “But we’ll deal with it when the time comes, we did it with [Dennis] Seidenberg. If Ference becomes available, we’ll have to deal with that, too.”

With the Western Conference finals matchup yet to be finalized, both the Bruins and Penguins are taking a breather as they wait to learn when their series will begin.

“The rest is obviously important. We’ve been through a grueling schedule there for quite a while. To have that opportunity is good,” Julien said. “We’ll still have lots of time to practice, but this time of year rest is extremely important. Everybody needs the rest, I guess. It’s good for the whole team.”
NEW YORK -- While injured Boston Bruins defensemen Dennis Seidenberg (lower body) and Wade Redden (undisclosed) have been skating with the team in hopes of returning to the lineup in the near future, fellow blueliner Andrew Ference hasn't been able to skate.

"He's doing OK. He's improving," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "Although you haven't seen him on the ice, he's better. I haven't talked to our trainers about a return date to the ice but I think it's getting closer all the time."

The veteran defenseman suffered a lower-body injury in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
BOSTON -- It's looking increasingly likely the Bruins will be without one or more of their injured trio of defensemen when they begin the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers on Thursday night at TD Garden. Dennis Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Wade Redden were all missing from practice Wednesday, and there were no updates on any of the blueliners from coach Claude Julien after practice.

"Not really. Again, you saw none of them on the ice today. That's the situation," Julien said. "I'm in the training room every day talking to my trainers. A lot of that stuff is day-to-day until we get them through. There's injuries; there's no hiding that fact, except that sometimes you can get players through those and sometimes you can't. Sometimes it's better not to practice and just to play. We're going to look at that situation. At the end of the day, my final roster will be decided before the game."

[+] EnlargeClaude Julien, Tyler Seguin
John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesBruins coach Claude Julien gives some pointers to forward Tyler Seguin at practice Wednesday.
For now, Julien is hoping Matt Bartkowski -- who scored the first goal of his NHL career in the Bruins' 5-4 Game 7 win over Toronto Monday -- and Dougie Hamilton can build off the minutes they saw in Monday's win and their playoff experience thus far.

"I think, again, we went down to five D's [defensemen] in the first couple of minutes of the game," Julien said. "When you look at the ice time they got, they got quite a bit and they did a great job. For them, it's important that they build on that and take the confidence that they had in that game and carry it into the next series."

On Tuesday, the Bruins recalled Torey Krug from Providence to boost their blue-line depth. The rookie defenseman has never played a Stanley Cup playoff game in his life, but he knows that he must follow in Bartkowski's and Hamilton's footsteps and just be himself on the ice, if he ends up playing Thursday.

"One thing that Bart has told me, and that the coaches have reinforced in me, is to play the same game I was playing in Providence," said Krug. "Bart came up and played the same way he was playing in Providence. It's important for me to stick to my roots."

Julien said that's exactly what he and his staff want from Krug, Bartkowski and Hamilton.

"That's what I encouraged our guys to do -- 'You guys go out there and play your game.' I don't want them to feel the pressure," Julien said. "I don't want them to not be comfortable or have the ability to play as well as they can. It's about encouraging them to do those kinds of things. We know our players well enough that we know what they're capable of bringing. It's about putting them in those positions to be able to play that way and bring that part of their game to the team."

Julien also said that positive reinforcement is key for this young trio to succeed in the pressure environment that is the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"I think it's more about showing confidence in the guys that are going to be playing if that's the case," Julien said. "Right now, the guys that played last game, you look at Hamilton and Bartkowski, I thought they handled themselves really well, especially with five D's. The confidence in those guys seems to be getting better all the time. It's a matter of stabilizing, I guess, your team the best you can and move forward. When you look back at situations that we see in the past, there's guys that have walked into a team and done extremely well because they just go out there and play."

B's may be without key defensemen

May, 14, 2013
5/14/13
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BOSTON -- It appears that the Bruins could be without some key veteran defensemen when they begin their Eastern Conference semifinals series with the New York Rangers on Thursday at TD Garden.

Andrew Ference (lower body) and Wade Redden (lower body) missed the Bruins' epic 5-4 overtime win over the Maple Leafs in Game 7, and Dennis Seidenberg (undisclosed injury) was only able to play 37 seconds.

On Tuesday, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli indicated to the media that the Bruins may be without Ference, Seidenberg and Redden and could have a “different look” for Thursday's game. Later in the day, the team recalled defenseman Torey Krug from Providence.

“Maybe we have a different look than we’re used to, as far as puck transporting,” Chiarelli said. “Maybe that’s a good thing, but that’s what we’re going to be. We’re calling up Torey Krug today to come along for the ride, so you may see him at a point. Those three D, if they’re in the lineup, give us a little different complexion back there.”

Chiarelli had no updates on the injured defensemen but he seemed very impressed with the progression that rookies Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton made in the Toronto series. Chiarelli also praised head coach Claude Julien for how he handled Bartkowski, who played 24:51, and Hamilton, who logged 21:08 on ice.

“I don’t have any updates. ‘Seides’ [Seidenberg], as you know, played 37 seconds last night and, obviously, is injured,” Chiarelli said. “He’s been a playoff warrior for us, so if he’s not in we’ll miss him. But I saw two really good performances in those young players, the two rookie players; that’s another testament to coaching, that they were able to integrate these two guys amongst the five D core, in ‘Bart’ [Bartkowski] and Dougie [Hamilton].”

But while Bartkowski, Hamilton and possibly Krug can bring some offense and more puck-moving skills to the Bruins' blue line, the veteran presence of Redden, Seidenberg and Ference will be sorely missed, as will the physicality that Ference and Seidenberg bring. Seidenberg has repeatedly upped the intensity in his game come playoff time and become one of the premiere shutdown defensemen in the league at this time of year. Ference, who has missed three games in the playoffs now, also becomes more physical in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Redden has proven to be a calming influence on the younger rearguards like Hamilton and Bartkowski. But now the young core of this Bruins defense will need to step up. Captain Zdeno Chara can be counted on to eat minutes and will surely step up as he did in Game 7, but these youngsters are about to be baptized by fire against a very physical Rangers forward group.

“They play like us, these guys,” Chiarelli said of the Rangers. “Maybe a little different now that they don’t have [Marian] Gaborik. They might be a little bit deeper, but not as dynamic. They play a heavy game like us.”

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