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Bruins notebook

Satan out with cut on hand

Olympic status undetermined

MIROSLAV SATAN Won’t play against Panthers MIROSLAV SATAN
Won’t play against Panthers
By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / February 13, 2010

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SUNRISE, Fla. - At 4:24 of the first period Thursday, Miroslav Satan, the latest right wing to ride shotgun with Marc Savard, made sure that the ace playmaker’s wraparound tape-to-tape feed wouldn’t be wasted. Just more than 12 minutes later, Satan suffered a hand injury that will sideline him for tonight’s game against Florida, the Bruins’ final game before the Olympic break.

While lugging the puck around the end boards, Satan was blasted into the wall by Tampa Bay’s Steve Downie. From what the Bruins concluded on video review, Satan’s right hand got caught between the boards and the butt end of his stick. The force of the blow opened a V-shaped cut in Satan’s palm that required stitches. Satan flew to Boston yesterday morning to be examined by team doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“No tendon damage, but kind of a blowout when he got hit into the boards,’’ said coach Claude Julien, who termed Satan day to day. “The knob of his stick, on the impact, opened up his hand. So there’s a laceration there.’’

Earlier in the period, Satan finished off a skilled play that management and coaching staff had figured he might bring to a top-line role. Savard whirled around the net and spotted Satan sneaking backdoor. After selling the Lightning defensemen on a puck to the point, Savard instead threw a cross-crease dish to the far post. Satan caught the puck on his forehand, and with a quick twist of his blade, he tapped a backhander past Antero Niittymaki for his third goal of the season.

But the Downie hit will cause Satan to miss his first game of the year after dressing in 18 straight. Julien wasn’t sure whether the injury would affect Satan’s Olympic availability. Satan and Zdeno Chara were scheduled to travel to Vancouver tomorrow and suit up for Team Slovakia.

Unbeaten return
After Andrew Ference suffered a groin tear Jan. 5 against Ottawa, the Bruins went into the tank, going 1-9-4 while the defenseman was unavailable. Since Ference returned last Sunday against Montreal, the Bruins have ticked off three straight wins. He laughed off any connection to the streaks.

“One of the big things is trying to eat up minutes for the big men, so that they’re not going back-to-back-to-back with 30 minutes, 29 minutes, 28 minutes,’’ said Ference. “I know for our back end to be as good as it can be, we need to spread our minutes around. I think we’ve been able to do that a little bit more.’’

Ference, who’s been skating with rookie Adam McQuaid on the third pairing, recorded one assist and logged 19:09 of ice time, the most since his injury, in the 5-4 win over the Lightning Thursday. Ference played 3:53 on the penalty kill, second behind Derek Morris (4:09). While paired with McQuaid, Ference has played a simple game, focusing on getting pucks out and being efficient with his positioning.

“I think he brings a calming effect,’’ McQuaid said. “He’s experienced. He makes a lot of plays look easy. He keeps things simple. I think the two of us complement one another.’’

Ference acknowledged that the schedule - four games in seven days, followed by the Olympic break - made it easier for him to return to the lineup. Ference said had there been back-to-back games, it might have been difficult for him to dress on consecutive nights and place more stress on the groin, which continues to heal.

“The good thing is there’s four games and they’re all spread out by a day, and I know I have a big break here,’’ said Ference, who will return to his offseason home in British Columbia. “That’s a huge difference compared to just jumping back in to the normal schedule of things. That’s been a huge help. Probably the only reason why I could be somewhat effective.’’

Sick call
Milan Lucic and Shawn Thornton didn’t practice yesterday because of food poisoning, according to Julien. Both players stayed at the hotel instead of reporting to the BankAtlantic Center for afternoon practice . . . Steve Begin was given a maintenance day. Begin appeared to injure his left knee in the second period, breaking his stick in frustration when he returned to the bench. Begin didn’t miss any shifts and should be in the lineup tonight . . . If Lucic is available tonight, he would most likely replace Satan alongside Savard and Daniel Paille. Either Byron Bitz or Vladimir Sobotka, who have been healthy scratches the last three games, would skate on the fourth line . . . The Panthers traded Harvard grad Dominic Moore to Montreal Thursday for a 2011 second-round pick. More changes appear to be coming for the Panthers. Yesterday, managing partners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel posted a letter to Panthers fans on the team’s website. “Clearly, we are not satisfied with some of the players on this team that do not possess the characteristics we need to be successful,’’ wrote the managing partners. “We must be accountable for that. Our task moving forward is to acquire players with the attributes, skills, and qualities we want in a Panthers player. We must admit the significant shortcomings we have as an organization, and we must move quickly and efficiently to overcome these shortcomings and reshape this franchise on a much more solid foundation.’’

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com.

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