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Kessel aboard flight to Ottawa

Posted by Kevin Paul Dupont, Globe Staff  April 6, 2009 12:40 PM

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P.J. Axelsson exited the ice about halfway through today's one-hour workout and will not make the trip this afternoon to Ottawa, where the Bruins will face the going-nowhere Senators. No telling the nature of he injury that led him to exit.

The injured likes of Andrew Ference and Dennis Wideman also will not make the flight to the nation's capital.

Coach Claude Julien would provide little update on all the injured warriors, keeping with his standard policy.

However:

xx -- Look for Phil Kessel, believed to have an ailing shoulder, to be back on the bench tomorrow night. He made it through the skate here today, and with Axelsson out of the mix, it's a virtual certainty Kessel at least dresses vs. the Sens (then leaving it up to Julien to decide whether to insert him into the action).

xx -- Also look for Shawn Thornton to dress tomorrow. Will he see action? Again, up to Julien. Keep in mind, with Ference and Wideman not on the trip, Swiss Army Knives Matt Hunwick and Steve Montador most likely will be used as backliners and not up front.

Julien said he anticipated no one being summoned from the Providence WannaBs to fill out the lineup tomorrow.

Julien would not reveal his overall plan for his netminders over the final four games, but in a rare moment of disclosure, he said that Manny Fernandez will be the starter tomorrow at Scotiabank Place. He did not dismiss the idea of playing Fernandez against the non-playoff teams and using Thomas against Montreal and Buffalo (possibly a playoff team), but he was reluctant to reveal his plan.

Veteran Aaron Ward, scratched on Saturday, said he felt better on the ice than his last time on the ice (Thursday). But he didn't say much more than that.

Julien made it clear that Ference, hurt in the second period on Saturday, needed further medical assessment today for the club to have a clear indication how much time he will miss. The coach's tone was not necessarily ominous, but there was an obvious hint that the 30-year-old backliner could need some time on the pine. Ference was here at the rink briefly this morning, but drove away (presumbaly toward MGH) about halfway through the skate.

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