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Wideman feeling fit

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff  December 6, 2008 01:13 PM

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Dennis Wideman made it through the morning optional skate, and it sounds as if he'll pull on his No. 6 this evening, but that decision won't be made final until after the pre-game warmup.

''I feel good,'' said Wideman. ''I feel a lot better.''

Wideman emphasised again that his injury is not related to the groin problem he had much of last season.

Coach Claude Julien, noting that he'll wait to make a final decision until much closer to the 7:05 faceoff, said that Wideman is feeling much better and it's a good chance that he will play.

If Wideman suits up, look for either Matt Lashoff or Johnny Boychuk to get the night off. Boychuk would be the more likely candidate to play.

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Marco Sturm, as expected, won't be in uniform vs. the Panthers. Julien said on Friday that unless one ''believed in miracles'' Sturm would have to sit out.

Hindered with ''pressure'' in his neck since taking a hit in the Nov. 12 game at Chicago, the veteran left winger has been on and off skates in recent days. He skated Wednesday in Wilmington, felt encouraged after the workout, but has now been unable to get back on skates for three straight days.

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No telling for sure, but based on the workout, Manny Fernandez will be back between the red pipes tonight for the Bruins. Fernandez was the first of the goalies to leave the workout, typically an indication that he'll be the one to start.

Workhorse Tim Thomas, the winner in Tampa on Thursday, was among the very last Bruins to leave the ice.

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The Bruins are scheduled to fly back to Hanscom Field, Bedford, this evening, and have a practice scheduled for Sunday in Wilmington. But with the Bolts in town on Monday eve, look for Julien to scrub the workout.

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