BOSTON - The Bruins have just three more preseason games on tap, beginning with Tuesday night's tilt against the New York Islanders at TD Garden.
By the time the season opens on October 8, their opening night roster will have been submitted.
With a week left in the preseason, they're getting closer to that point, but questions still remain.
There are still 18 forwards, nine defensemen and four goalies at training camp, and that number will need to be cut down to a 23-man roster.
"It keeps your mind going because you have to come to the rink and it's not just one of those practice days - it's a 'your battling for a job' day," said Johnny Boychuk. "Nobody's in the clear."
Tuesday night provides yet another opportunity for players in the mix to prove that they belong, and deserve a spot with Boston.
Veterans like Boychuk and Chris Kelly have embraced that fight for jobs as pushing them to be better as well.
"Every year, you're battling for a job. Some people might think that they have the job and that's their right, but you have to come to camp and you have to prove yourself every year and be ready to battle," said Boychuk. "Because if you do that, you're going to be ready for the start of the season."
BOSTON - The Bruins host the New York Islanders in preseason action on Tuesday night at TD Garden, with puck drop set for 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
The expected roster hit the ice for a pregame skate, while those not playing practiced in a separate session afterwards.
BOSTON - At a time when most teams are significantly cutting down their training camp rosters, the Bruins received two new additions to practice on Monday morning at TD Garden: Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.
The pair of Bruins were signed to one-year deals and reported to camp, where their teammates have been on the ice for the past 10 days.
They don't have much time to ease in, with the season opener coming up on October 8.
Three preseason games remain on the Bruins' schedule, but Krug and Smith won't be suiting up right away in Tuesday night's game against the New York Islanders at the Garden. That leaves two games on Friday, in Bridgeport, Conn. against the Islanders, and on Saturday at home against the Red Wings.
They not only need to get their legs into game shape; they'll need to adjust to the tweaks Head Coach Claude Julien and his staff made to the systems - most notably, a quicker neutral zone transition that should fit right into Krug's train of thought.
Monday's practice was one of the toughest since the first few days of training camp conditioning. The Bruins had a scrimmage and then four games in five days last week, with three of those matchups on the road. While not every player suited up in every game, the travel takes its toll.
After being narrowed down to just one group on Sunday with more cuts, Monday provided an opportunity for the coaches to really put the players through their paces. It was perfect timing for Krug and Smith to get in a good sweat, and re-adjust to practicing with NHLers - other from themselves.
The pair then hit the ice with their teammates at TD Garden for their first practice of training camp. They looked pretty happy to be out there.
"It's nice to have them back, I think everybody agrees on that, and now it's a matter of getting them in game shape," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told media following practice.
"They've been skating, they showed up and actually look in real good shape, but playing and battling are two different things, so they've got a little less time than others to have to get up to speed with everybody."
Krug and Smith were training and skating together in Connecticut, while the Bruins spent 10 days on the ice at training camp and suited up in four preseason games.
"It was tough at first. I was a little nervous," Krug admitted, of being back on the ice for practice. "Which I was surprised about, but it's just about being back in the season and the flow of things, and being on the ice with those guys, so I settled down later on and it felt good at the end."
"It was fun. I think that was probably the biggest thing I was looking forward to do, is getting back on the ice and skating with all of these guys," smiled Smith. "It's a pretty fast pace and you expect that, there's a lot of competition out here, so that should force me to get better."
BOSTON - David Pastrnak joined Bruins' practice on Sunday at TD Garden for the first time since tweaking his shoulder on the second day of training camp.
The right winger was off the ice for four days following the injury before he started skating again last Wednesday.
"He skated with us, but he's not cleared yet for contract or anything like that so we've got to wait for him to be cleared," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following Sunday's practice.
It was a step forward, though, for the forward.
"Yeah, absolutely," Julien agreed. "He skated today, was shooting pucks and all that stuff, so he's heading in the right direction, and guys know not to have any heavy contact with him."
Ideally, the Bruins would like to see him in preseason game action.
"I think we'd like to, no doubt - if it's possible, we'd like to see him play," said Julien.
With four of the Bruins' preseason games already in the books and just three games remaining, there's not much time left to get a look at Pastrnak against higher competition.
BOSTON - The Bruins were back in Boston on Sunday for practice at TD Garden, following back-to-back preseason games in Washington, D.C. and Detroit.
For the first time during training camp, they practiced as one group. They were separated into lines in their colored practice jerseys as opposed to the black and white jerseys that we've seen throughout camp.
David Pastrnak was out skating with the group for the first time since tweaking his shoulder on the second day of camp. He's been skating since last Wednesday, but apart from the group.
Below is the rundown of the practice lines and attendance:White Jerseys: Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Loui Eriksson
Gold: Brad Marchan - Patrice Bergeron - Simon Gagne
Grey: Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Matt Fraser
Green: Daniel Paille - Craig Cunningham - Jordan Caron
Merlot: Ville Leino - Ryan Spooner - David Pastrnak
Red: Justin Florek - Alexander Khokhlachev- Bobby Robins
BostonBruins.com - The Bruins have back-to-back preseason road games on tap this weekend against the Capitals and the Red Wings.
They first travel to Washington, D.C. on Friday to face the Capitals at the Verizon Center at 7:00 p.m. ET and then to Detroit for Saturday's matchup at Joe Louis Arena.
BostonBruins.com - There were times last season when Marchand thought to himself, "Oh no…"
The Bruin wasn't feeling good. He'd lose his stamina. He'd lose his legs late in shifts. Though he was by no means out of shape, he wasn't where he wanted to be.
He mixed in more workouts and bike rides, but during the season amidst game action is not a time for catching up. The playoffs didn't feel much better.
By the looks of the 2014-15 Brad Marchand, just a week into training camp, he's not going to be faced with those moments this season.
Both he and his centerman Patrice Bergeron have had midseason jump to their game, whether it's in practice, a scrimmage, or a preseason game like the one that Boston won 2-0 over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
"Yeah, I think Bergy is Bergy. I think the big difference there is that Marchy is in better shape," Head Coach Claude Julien said following the game. "When you say in better shape, he wasn’t lazy last year. I think if you’ve talked to him - and we had that conversation at the end of last year - I don’t think he trained properly for what needed to be done there."
"He changed his training and tactics a little bit, and I think he seemed to get tired quickly. He seems in better shape cardiovascular-wise this year than he did last year, and it makes a big difference."
BOSTON - It took 54 minutes for the first goal horn of 2014-15 to go off at TD Garden, but the Bruins put up a 2-0 win over the Washington Capitals in preseason action on Wednesday night.
While preseason lineups are a mix of veterans and young players, Chara was still placed in his position down low where he earned a team-high 10 power-play goals last season.
"Well you look at tonight, he scores the winning goal…To be honest with you, it would be tough to take him out of there," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame, of the Captain's ability to be a net-front nuisance.
"Why make a strength a weakness? So right now, I think our plan is hopefully to leave him where he was."
BOSTON - The Bruins are back in action at TD Garden on Wednesday night, with a preseason game against the Washington Capitals. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
Ryan Spooner and Simon Gagne are the only players suiting up in a back-to-back situation, having played with the other group on Tuesday night in Montreal.
"It's an opportunity to see more of them," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said following Wednesday morning's sessions. "And they're all battling for spots and you want to make sure you give them great opportunities."
"At the same time, you want to make sure your team is balanced enough that you're competitive and you get a chance to look at certain players."