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Bruins thrilled to start 48-game sprint

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  January 13, 2013 03:30 PM

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The Bruins have concluded their first official post-lockout practice. In less than a week, they’ll be back on TD Garden ice to kick off the season against the New York Rangers.

“It’s the best day of 2013 so far,” Milan Lucic said. “I remember last week when the news came that we were going to start with a smile on my face. It’s been there pretty much for the whole week and going on into today.”

The Bruins opted for a one-hour practice. Claude Julien was quick to bark at his players when they didn’t execute a drill to his liking.

“We can’t ease into this,” Julien said. “We’ve got to get on top of our game as soon as possible. You probably heard me chirping a little bit more about certain things. This is not about, ‘Hey, this is the first day, we’ll take it easy.’ We’ve got to get to work here. There’s no time to waste.”

* Chris Bourque will get the first crack at filling Benoit Pouliot’s former spot on the No. 3 line. In previous callups with Washington and Pittsburgh, Bourque saw mostly fourth-line duty. “I would never make excuses for myself. But when I did play for those two teams, I was always stuck on the fourth line,” Bourque said. “Not playing with as offensive guys as I would like to. I consider myself decently offensive. It’s tough when you’re playing 8 minutes tops and not given that great a chance to produce offensively.”

* Adam McQuaid said he felt fine after practice. McQuaid skated with old partner Andrew Ference. McQuaid said if all goes well this week, he expects to play in the season opener.

* Dougie Hamilton was paired with Dennis Seidenberg. Julien cited Hamilton’s poise, skating, and hockey sense as some of his strongest assets.

* The Bruins will practice at Ristuccia Arena on Monday at 10 a.m. They will return to the Garden for a practice and scrimmage on Tuesday. They will practice at Ristuccia Wednesday through Friday.

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