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Wishes include consistent effort

By Barbara Matson
Globe Correspondent / February 1, 2011

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WILMINGTON — It was Tyler Seguin’s 19th birthday yesterday, and the Bruins rookie spent a good chunk of time on the ice at Ristuccia Arena as the team went through a rigorous welcome-back practice following the four-day All-Star break.

It’s Mark Recchi’s 43d birthday today, and he, too, will spend a good portion of it at a rink, the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C., where the 28-15-7 Bruins return to action against the Hurricanes.

Another birthday, another sheet of ice. No Bruin knows better than Recchi, the oldest active player in the NHL, that every game in the 82-game season requires full energy, and every practice requires focus. Even the All-Star break demands a player’s attention.

“It matters, absolutely,’’ said Recchi. “It’s more mental, just to get away for a few days. Physically, when guys think they’re tired, it’s more mental than it is anything else.’’

Only two weeks ago, the Bruins took a home-and-home series against the ’Canes, and Recchi knows a team chasing a playoff position, as Carolina (25-19-6) is, will be a dangerous opponent.

“You need a good team game right away,’’ said Recchi. “Short shifts, especially after four days off. Make sure you don’t overextend your shifts, you don’t get caught out tired.’’

Coach Claude Julien said the Bruins need to build the consistency of their effort.

“Every coach is going to talk about consistency throughout the year,’’ Julien said. “I think we need to get better at that. We want to make sure our power play continues to improve — it’s got to get a little better. There are a lot of parts of our game that we want to make sure we maintain but the biggest thing is you want to be a team that every night you step on the ice, you’re giving yourself a chance.

“When you build that consistency, it becomes second nature and you’re a team that is ready to compete in the playoffs.’’

Savard still recovering Center Marc Savard remains at home in Peterborough, Ontario, where he has gone to recuperate after suffering a moderate concussion Jan. 22. Savard missed the first 23 games of the season with post-concussion symptoms from a head injury suffered last March.

“When he gets back, tomorrow or the day after, he’s going to be reevaluated,’’ said Julien. “He still has symptoms; it hasn’t totally disappeared. We’ll let the medical people deal with him when he gets back. Hopefully — for his sake, not the team’s sake but for his sake — he gets better.’’

Bergeron shines bright Patrice Bergeron has become the pivotal pivot for the Bruins, and not just because Savard has seen such limited playing time. The 25-year-old Bergeron, who leads the Bruins with 40 points (16 goals, 24 assists), has been one of the league’s best players this season.

With 8 goals and 9 assists in January, including his first career hat trick, and a plus-13 rating in 14 games, Bergeron led all NHL scorers. Yesterday, he was named the NHL’s First Star of the Month.

“It was well deserved,’’ said Julien. “He’s a guy that often flies under the radar, because he’s one of those great two-way players that doesn’t get the acknowledgement that maybe a lot of the highly skilled one-dimensional players will get.’’

Stay at home defenseman Veteran defenseman Aaron Ward, who often paired effectively with Zdeno Chara during his tenure with the Bruins, doesn’t sound as if he’s ready to pull on a uniform again.

Reached at his home near Raleigh, he discounted a report in yesterday’s Boston Herald that said his return could be imminent.

“Right now, and I can’t make this point emphatically enough, it’s just not a realistic option, nor is it one I am really considering,’’ said Ward, the former Michigan standout.

Ward, 38, has built a hefty broadcasting portfolio this season, working for Versus, TSN, and the Big Ten Network.

Shorthanded situation Missing from practice were the Bruins’ All-Stars: defenseman Chara (who won the hardest shot contest) and goalie Tim Thomas (who claimed the win in Team Lidstrom’s 11-10 victory over Team Staal). They remained in Carolina for a day of rest . . . Nathan Horton left the ice late in the session after dinging his knee but said it was nothing big, revealing a bruise above his right knee . . . Defenseman Steve Kampfer, who suffered a broken nose Jan. 15 when Chara inadvertently clipped him with his stick, played without the full face shield for the first time, donning a visor instead . . . Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was happy to get a break from hockey. “I just hung out at home,’’ he said. As for the All-Star festivities, Seidenberg was honest: “We watched a little, but it was kind of annoying.’’

Kevin Paul Dupont of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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