BOSTON, MA - The Bruins held an optional pregame skate on Thursday morning at TD Garden prior to facing off against the Colorado Avalanche.
It came after three straight days of practices, so Milan Lucic and David Krejci opted to stay off the ice, as did Head Coach Claude Julien, a normal occurrence for optional skates run by the assistant coaches.
Why an optional? Because, frankly, the Bruins are ready for puck drop.
"Our guys have had a lot of jump and they’ve been sharp," said Julien. "For some guys, they don’t feel the need to go on. They’ve heard me say that often – those morning skates can be put aside…and it’s hard to get that out of their heads, that they need to skate in the morning; for them they’ll tell you they feel better. So I think with time, you’ll see less and less of that."
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins are set to host the Colorado Avalanche tonight for the teams' first meeting since October 10, 2011.
The Black & Gold are a confident group at the start of Claude Julien's seventh season as head coach, currently 2-0-0 on the season. New Avalanche Head Coach Patrick Roy's team sits at 3-0-0.
It will mark the the debut of Roy behind Garden bench, after spending much of his time between the pipes for the Montreal Canadiens in the old Boston Garden.
After four days with no game action, Boston is ready to go -- and so are the Garden stanchions.
In a light moment following Thursday's pregame skate, Julien explained how he made good use of his team's down time.
"I spent the last couple of days solidifying the glass between the benches," smirked the B's bench boss. "And it gave me lots of time to do a lot of different things. So that’s the good part about having a few days off."
Of course, Julien's comment comes in reference to Roy's coaching debut against Anaheim, in which he nearly pushed over the stanchion between the home and visiting benches during an argument with the referees and Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.
BostonBruins.com - Once the game plan of a power play is set, it's all about execution; no hesitation.
From there, it's up to the players to take over, using their talents to the best of their abilities. And when you find the seemingly right mix, as the Bruins have in 2013-14, it can pay dividends.
Albeit just two games into the season, the Bruins have scored two power play goals on only seven attempts, good for a 28.6-percent success rate and currently ranked eighth in the league. That follows a seven-game preseason, with nearly a third of their 24 goals coming on the power play.
"I think the whole dynamic of our power play, even though maybe people see some of the same faces, is much different," said Head Coach Claude Julien.
"You've got Zdeno, he’s still on the power play, but he’s in a different position. [Jarome] Iginla can take a good one-timer which we thought we struggled with last year on that left elbow. And then, same thing, you add Krug to that and then you bring [Loui] Eriksson in and so now we feel that we have two power plays that can really do a good job."
WILMINGTON, MA - The four days with no Bruins' games is nearly coming to an end. The Black & Gold had one final practice Wednesday morning at Ristuccia Arena before making TD Garden their home base as they host the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night in Game No. 3 on the season.
Everyone besides Carl Soderberg hit the ice for practice. The forward skated with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides for the third straight day prior to the team skate, as he recovers from a "day to day" ankle injury.
The next step before graduating to "game time decision" will be joining the team for a full practice. From these eyes, it doesn't look like he's too far off, as intensity begins to ramp up in his skates with Whitesides, and blueline to blueline rushes were added into the workout.
The skate began with plenty of work on breakouts and regroups, along with some significant special teams time (it's enjoyable to watch the Bruins' power play, even in practice).
BOSTON, MA - In the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, days can be tough.
But for the young patients, they'll mark Tuesday, October 8, as special.
A visit from two gentlemen decked in Black & Gold, with spoked-B's on their chests did the honors of helping make that happen.
A span of four days off from games for the Bruins is rare; in fact, it didn't exist last season. So, with the B's in the midst of a layoff, it gave Shawn Thornton and Tuukka Rask the chance to stop by the Boston-based hospital for a visit.
The pair went from room to room, spending time with the patients who, not surprisingly, were all huge fans of No. 22 and No. 40.
"It’s great. We don’t have an opportunity to do this too often because of our schedule, so whenever that window opens, we like to go out there," said Rask. "And these hospital visits are I think the most important thing to do."
WILMINGTON, MA - For the second straight day on Tuesday, Carl Soderberg was out skating with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides before his teammates hit the ice for practice.
It's all part of the process for a Bruin coming back from injury, as Soderberg continues his ankle recovery.
"Day to day is the best I can say right now. He’s skating, and when I say day to day it’s just, he’s getting closer to practicing with us and then I get the okay from the medical staff and we’ll move forward," said Head Coach Claude Julien, following the team's skate at Ristuccia Arena. Soderberg was the only Bruin absent from practice.
"So day to day doesn’t necessarily mean tomorrow but he is progressing extremely well."
While Soderberg has been out of game action since the B's final preseason game in Saskatoon on September 27, when the injury occurred, the third line with center Chris Kelly and wingers Jordan Caron and Reilly Smith has powered forward.
When the forward is back to full strength, it could be a difficult decision for Julien.
And it's also been about a month of those additions fielding questions about "chemistry" with their linemates.
The verdict? It takes time. So, every day, and each time they get asked about it, it's gotten better.
So, the same was true following Monday's hard session at Ristuccia Arena, with the B's three days away from their next game against Colorado on Thursday.
WILMINGTON, MA - Carl Soderberg skated on his own Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena, before the Bruins hit the ice for practice following their day off Sunday, and 4-1 win over Detroit and Saturday.
The forward is returning from an ankle injury that has kept him out since the final preseason game of the season on September 27 in Saskatoon against Winnipeg, when he hit a rut in the ice during the third period.
"He skated this morning so he is getting closer," Head Coach Claude Julien said following the hour-long skate at the B's practice facility.
Jordan Caron has filled in on the left wing, proving reliable at both ends and serving as an early offensive threat, notching his first goal of the season in the victory over Detroit and nearly scoring in the first game (early whistle waved it off), a 3-1 win over Tampa Bay.
BOSTON, MA - You don't always see it, but when it appears, it's mesmerizing.
The big man, 6-foot-9 captain Zdeno Chara, weaving through the defense, backhand, deke to the forehand, backhand, top shelf.
We saw it in 2012-13, with a pirouette highlight reel goal against Florida. And we saw it Saturday night, to cap off a 4-1 win over Detroit at TD Garden, giving the Bruins a 2-0-0 start to their 2013-14 season.
And we may be seeing more of that this season, with Chara in his newly frequented position down low on the power play.
"Not too many challenges when you look at what he’s doing, right?" Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told media postgame, of having his strongest weapon on defense taking on the forward role during the man-advantage.
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins hit the ice in preparation for Game No. 2 on the NHL calendar today, hosting the Detroit Red Wings tonight at TD Garden at 7:00 p.m. (ET).
Original Six match-ups are nothing new for Boston, with the likes of Toronto and Montreal in the division, but with Detroit joining the Eastern Conference in the new Atlantic Divisions with the B's this season, the Wings could grow into a familiar foe.
"It's an exciting match-up. First time coming over to the East side in a long time. Divisional rival now, Original Six team, so I think it should be exciting for everyone," said Shawn Thornton following the team's pregame skate. "They're a good team, they've been together a long time and they're competitive every year, so this will be a good test for us."
The match-up also pits two well-structured, well-coached teams who place an emphasis on the defensive side of the puck to be able to generate puck possession and offensive chances.
"They always have their players above ours. And very seldom do you get outnumbered situations and you have to be willing to fight for those pucks and you have to be willing to get it by them and go after it again," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said pregame. "You’re not going to get a run-and-gun type game against that team because they defend so well."