BOSTON -- The Bruins held their final practice at TD Garden today before they begin the Eastern Conference finals tomorrow with Game 1 at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning. There was no real news except that finally the team has a game to look forward to the next day.
Patrice Bergeron is steadily progressing as he recovers from a mild concussion suffered a week ago against the Flyers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, and the forward lines and defensive pairings (below) that coach Claude Julien began the week with remained the same.
Julien seemed a bit frustrated at updating the media on Bergeron’s status but still did so, saying that all signs remain positive.
“I don’t know if you guys share a conference before I get here and say who’s asking the question today, but I am getting that question asked every day,” Julien poked at the assembled media. “I think he’s improving, he really is improving. We’re optimistic about him. As Peter [Chiarelli] said, we knew he was going to miss the start of the series and how much he is going to miss I can’t tell you right now.
"But he is on the right track and we’re staying positive. Again, I say that every day. I’m not going to say much more because when it comes to concussions you have good news and you have setbacks and you have all kinds of things that can happen. I’m not going to stand here and change my tune every day except to tell you that right now that’s going in the right direction.”
Julien is more focused on keeping his players ready for Game 1 after what will be an eight-day layoff.
“We’ve been trying to keep our guys as sharp as we can and part of that is us making sure we prepare the practices accordingly and the other share belongs to them,” Julien said. “They've got to be mentally ready to do those kinds of things and to execute well. And I think the guys have really been good about that."
Here’s what the team looked like for practice Friday:
Shane Hnidy-Steven Kampfer