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Lucic aiming for Jan. 1 return

Posted by Brendan Hall, Globe Correspondent  December 22, 2009 11:48 AM

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Good afternoon from Ristuccia Arena, where the Bruins took the ice for a noon practice on the heels of their 2-0 win in Ottawa last night.

Lot of eager action here today, but the most encouraging steps might have been taken before the team took the ice for its noon practice.

Milan Lucic was seen out here before practice passing the puck back and forth along the blue line with assistant coach John Whitesides, working on his puckhandling, before leaving the ice. Lucic, who sprained his ankle on Nov. 25 at Minnesota, was placed on Injured Reserve a week ago today.

Lucic spoke to the media following practice and said he's holding out hope for a return in the Winter Classic at Fenway Park on Jan. 1.

"It is in question, for sure," Lucic said. "But like I said, it's something we need to take day by day. We'll see where it goes, hopefully it progresses and gets better every day.

"Yeah, right around that time, I should be scheduled to be back in the lineup. But again, until I'm 100 percent and pain-free, that's when I'll be back in the lineup."

We'll have more on Lucic's status and rehabilitation in tomorrow's Globe.

No sighting of Derek Morris (who has missed the last two games), Michael Ryder or Vladimir Sobotka. With the latter two out, the Bruins went with three forward lines, with David Krejci centering a four-man second line with Blake Wheeler, Shawn Thornton and Byron Bitz. Marco Sturm is on the first line with Steve Begin and Marc Savard, while Daniel Paille is once again on the third line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.

Head coach Claude Julien said Morris is "day to day" and will not suit up tomorrow night against Atlanta. Sobotka and Ryder were both given "maintenance" days, and are expected to play against the Thrashers.

Also worth noting that players donned the brown hockey pants that they'll wear in the Winter Classic. The spoked "B" logo on their helmets -- also brown -- was also that of the retro version they'll be using for the Classic.
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