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The Fernandez 'issue'

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff  January 12, 2009 12:29 PM

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It's a wrap another day here at the Ice Box.

Netminder Manny Fernandez remained out of uniform with what head coach Claude Julien referrred to as a ''minor issue.''

''We thought it could be resolved by today, but it wasn't,'' said Julien, who had Tuukka Rask filling Fernandez' backup role on Saturday.

When asked if that meant the goalie was injured, Julien answered in the affirmative.

As the coach's media session broke up, and reporters lightheartedly talked about clarifying the ''minor thing'', Julien said, ''I'm trying to stickhandle here, guys, and I am not good at it.''

Who knows what any of it means? Julien said that Fernandez cannot yet be considered a scratch for tomorrow's game at the Garden vs. the Habs.

Kevin Regan filled Fernandez' locker space in the dressing room. Interestingly, Fernandez' nameplate had been removed, while other injured players--Andrew Ference, Milan Lucic and Marco Sturm (knee sugergy tomorrow)--all had their nameplates in place. However, they didn't have callups crowding their locker area.

Shane Hnidy made it through the entire workout, protecting his injured left eye with a visor. Provided doctors clear him tomorrow morning, he will be available for Julien to insert in the lineup vs. the Habs.

''I don't like visors,'' said the old-school blueliner, ''but it looks like I'll have to wear one for a little while.''

Hnidy said he had a far more serious injury to the same eyes ''6-7 years ago in Ottawa'', and was initially worried the shot he took this time was equally serious.

''But once I realized in the hallway that I could see OK, then I felt much better,'' he said.


Rookie Byron Bitz, who made his NHL debut on Saturday, spent Sunday in downtown Boston with his parents, who made the trip in from Saskatoon to witness his debut. What did he show them?

''Some of the old buildings, and the Charles River,'' he said. ''Couldn't see a lot of things because of the snow, obviously.''

And of course he showed the folks some of the city traffic.

''Oh, yeah,'' he said, ''that's a joy, for sure.''

Encouraging news on the Patrice Bergeron front. The concussed center out of the lineup the last three-plus weeks, skated on Sunday and again yesterday, but early in the morning, out of view of the prying (read: total nuisance) media.

Bergeron was joined on the ice by fellow wounded Milan Lucic (injury unspecified) and Andrew Ference (recovering from surgery to repair a broken leg).

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