While Olympic hockey continues tonight in Vancouver, the Bruins returned to action yesterday at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, MA for the teams first group practice in nearly two weeks. The B's first post-Olympic game is scheduled for Tuesday next week at the TD Garden against the Montreal Canadiens.
However not in attendance were Olympians Patrice Bergeron (Canada), Tim Thomas (US), Zdeno Chara (Slovakia) and Miroslav Satan (Slovakia) who are all still in the running for gold at the Games. While, Marco Sturm (Germany) and David Krejci (Czech), both of whom have been eliminated from the Olympic tourney, were given time off until Monday.
The rest of the Black & Gold squad though were glad to be back, including defenseman Mark Stuart who had missed the last seven games before the break with a broken finger and Johnny Boychuk who missed four games after blocking a shot with his face against the Canucks back on February 6th. Another, more unfamiliar, happy face in the crowd yesterday was goaltender Matt Dalton from the ECHL's Reading Royals who was recalled on an emergency basis Wednesday. Dalton was recalled since Thomas will be unavailable due to his Team USA obligations so don't think too much into it.
Coach Claude Julien is expecting his full roster to be available, well rested and healthy against Montreal next week. The Bruins won four games straight going into the Olympic break and moved themselves into 7th place in the Eastern Conference after hitting a season low 12th place.
(In other news, the "Caption This! winner will be announced Sunday and hopefully the new Hub Hockey website design will be unveiled. As for Bruins news, I am taking March 3rd off of work in order to bring full trade deadline day coverage from morning to night so stay tuned for more details.)