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Spirited practice

Posted by Barbara Matson  November 7, 2008 03:42 PM

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The good humor that followed last night's win over the Maple Leafs spilled onto the ice today at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. The Bruins had a short but spirited practice with all but Patrice Bergeron and Shane Hnidy (lower body injury) participating.

"There's nothing wrong with [Bergeron], I just gave him a day off,'' said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "The one thing is, he's recovering, obviously, from his injury last year and he's been pushing hard since the beginning of the summer, so I think at some point there we've got to make sure we give him a little bit of rest because he's had to work harder than anybody else on our team.''

Chuck Kobasew practiced and is a little closer to returning to game action from a fractured ankle, but Julien said he won't make a final decision on playing Kobasew against Buffalo until today.

"Am I leaning towards putting him in? Yeah, I can tell you that much.''

In practice, Kobasew skated on a line with Shawn Thornton and Stephane Yelle. Other practice combos: P.J. Axelsson, Petteri Nokelaininen, and Michael Ryder; Milan Lucic, Phil Kessel, and Marc Savard; and Blake Wheeler, David Krejci and Marco Sturm.

The team spent a lot of time working on 4-on-4 play and gave goalies Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez plenty of work, particularly with tip-ins.

"We worked hard but we also have fun out there,'' said Zdeno Chara, the B's 6-foot-9-inch captain, who helped set the tone by wearing a big grin through most of the session. "It was short, but good intensity. It's a long season: You can't be always serious and you can't be always having fun. It's easier to have fun when you're winning.''

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