Julien sends a bit of a message

Players broke up into two groups

September 23, 2009, 4:02 PM

By: Matt Kalman

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien was sending a bit of a message to his veteran players Wednesday by separating them from the rookies and AHL guys and putting them through more than 90 minutes of drills.

"I found that our team because of the fact that we haven't had a chance to practice together much, we got a little complacent -- some guys," Julien said after running his split squad through two practice sessions at Ristuccia Arena. "And it doesn't seem to be as important, the details, so we had to get back to doing those things well.

"And that's why I said after the game (Tuesday), we have some work to do before the season starts and we have to get ourselves back on track here and start doing those little things that allowed ourselves to win some big games last year."

The practice featured some familiar lines, including David Krejci centering Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, and Patrice Bergeron skating between Mark Recchi and Chuck Kobasew.

Julien, however, was quick to point out that players in the rookies/AHL group were still in contention for jobs with the big club and some would get a chance to play during the Bruins' upcoming three-games-in-three-nights stretch, which starts Thursday in Montreal. Among those in the first group with a shot at an NHL job were Zach Hamill, Brad Marchand and Jeff LoVecchio. Forward Vladimir Sobotka and defenseman Johnny Boychuk both would have been in the rookies/AHL group had Zdeno Chara and Steve Begin been available to practice, according to the coach.

"Those guys still have to fight for a spot," Julien said.

Minor injury issues
Both Begin and Chara were held out of practice to avoid making their slight injuries any worse. Both are expected to be able to play this weekend. ... Marco Sturm left practice a little early because of a slight groin issue.

Eye issue
Wheeler took a puck just below his right eye and required stitches. After practice he was deciding which type of shield to wear with assistant equipment manager Keith Robinson. Wheeler will probably try it out during tomorrow's practice.

Thomas gets the nod
Julien said he plans to start Tim Thomas in net tomorrow against the Canadiens but he hasn't planned the rest of the weekend for goaltenders yet. Julien said his goal is to play Thomas in two of the three games.

Julien also hopes to have mostly his opening-night squad together for Saturday night's preseason finale at TD Garden against Columbus.

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