BELMONT, Mass. -- In the minds of Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien, it was time to shake things up a bit without altering the makeup of the team.
So instead of reporting to Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass., the Bruins hit the Olympic-sized sheet at the Jordan Athletic Center at Belmont Hill Academy on Wednesday morning. The players actually boarded a chartered bus and headed over as a team to the school Chiarelli's son attends.
Then the team went through its usual practice routine in front of close to 100 members of the student body.
"We're hoping it can [help]. It's just a change of scenery and something a little different and something Peter thought might be good for our team," said Julien, whose team lost its eighth in a row Tuesday night.
The players were all for a change in scenery.
"Maybe that was the plan behind today, just try something different, have some fun," said center Marc Savard. "We're keeping our spirits up, and like we said in the past, we just have to stick with it."
The question came up whether the Bruins have to adopt Belmont Hill as its new practice rink if they beat Montreal Thursday night. That won't happen, but goaltender Tim Thomas is hoping the change of venue will pay off.
"After we win [Thursday] night, we can say it was all because of this," he said.
* Defenseman Matt Hunwick and forward Steve Begin were excused from practice for "maintenance days," according to Julien. Hunwick was leveled by a Tom Poti hit Tuesday night. The Bruins backliner returned to the game after heading to the locker room to check out an undisclosed injury.
* Andrew Ference practiced again Wednesday but said he didn't add anything more strenuous to his workout. The defenseman said that Friday he might be able to add some hard stops and starts, and some contact as he attempts to return from a groin injury.