Preseason Games on Tap, B's Ready to Get Physical
BostonBruins.com - While teams around the league have been making cuts to their training camp rosters at various points, the Bruins will be sticking with their full 51-player group for at least two days longer.
Following the B's fourth day of on-ice sessions at camp at TD Garden (with a few thousand roaring fans on hand), Head Coach Claude Julien said no cuts will be made until Wednesday, following the first two preseason games.
The Bruins' first exhibition game kicks off in Montreal on Monday, September 16, against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre at 7:00 p.m. ET (NHL Network, TSN2, RDS, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Tuesday's match-up sees the B's head to Baltimore Arena in Maryland to face the Washington Capitals at 7:00 p.m. ET (broadcast info TBD).
Julien and the B's brass, no doubt, want to see all of their prospects in game action, as well as the roster players who are ready for a change of scenery following four days of intense learning and competing.
"There are guys that are great in practice, you get them in a game and you don’t see them. And you've got guys in practice…and then you see them in a game and it’s like ‘Wow, what a different player,'" said Julien, of looking forward to the ramped up speed in game action this week.
"And that’s why you have to be careful when you analyze players," he added. "I think the game is going to really tell the tale here and I think it’s important that we watch those closely this year because there’s going to be some real big decisions to make down the road."
Throughout the week, the 51 players at camp have been broken up into two separate groups, and that will translate to game action as well, with one group of players traveling to play in Monday's game, and another set to play on Tuesday night. Those in Zdeno Chara's group (as shown below) will most likely be traveling to play in Montreal (though not all will make the trip), according to Julien. Stay tuned, as the full lineup will be announced Monday morning.
Though only one group each is traveling to each game, both will have practice sessions at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, MA, at 10:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday (open to the public).
FORWARDS: Patrice Bergeron, Scott Campbell, Carter Camper, Jordan Caron, Jack Downing, Loui Eriksson, Justin Florek, Seth Griffith, Chris Kelly, Alexander Khokhlachev, Jared Knight, Matt Lindblad, Brad Marchand, Bobby Robins, Reilly Smith
FORWARDS: Anthony Camara, Gregory Campbell, Craig Cunningham, Alex Fallstrom, Rob Flick, Matt Fraser, Jarome Iginla, Nick Johnson, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Daniel Paille, Tyler Randell, Carl Söderberg, Ryan Spooner, Shawn Thornton
Time to Get Physical
Another perk of game action? You don't have to keep hitting your teammates.
All week, the B's haven't been shy about battling (even with Patrice Bergeron) and throwing hits, or even stirring the pot a little, like Brad Marchand did (all in good fun) with Bobby Robins during a scrimmage.
But finally being able to go up against an opponent will be refreshing.
"Yeah, even in here you don’t really want to crank guys on your own team," Johnny Boychuk told media Sunday following his group's skate. "But it will be nice to go and play against different teams other than just ours and scrimmaging; it’ll be nice to get out there and play an actual game."
That it will, Johnny, that it will.
"I can’t wait," added fellow blueliner, Torey Krug. "You know, anytime you can put a jersey on and go hit a few guys and not have to worry about the consequences, is a little bit better."
"When you’re out here, you don’t want to hurt a teammate, but at the same time you’re working as hard as you can because you’ve got to earn a spot on the team. These are just great opportunities to show what you can do and like I said, go out there and just work as hard as you can."
"I’ve never played an exhibition game at the NHL level, so I would assume that there’s a lot of guys out there flying around, trying to impress management, and a lot of big hits, and hopefully not too much chaos, but I’m sure it’ll be fun hockey with a lot of energy, and the fans should be excited."
Those impressions will be lasting, whether it results in a shot up with the big club or not.
"You have to go out there like its your last shift. You have to do anything and everything to make an impression," said Boychuk, who knows that feeling quite well, having spent five seasons in the AHL, including three with the P-Bruins, before solidifying his full-time role with Boston.
"If you don’t make the team right of the bat, then you go down to Providence and they still have that memory of what you did in preseason when they're looking to call up a guy when somebody gets hurt."
"We’re all looking forward to getting back into games and competing against other teams as opposed to competing against your teammates," said McQuaid, who came into camp feeling the strongest and best he has in two years. He'll be looking to put that strength to use.
"So that’s going to be nice, hopefully not have too many kinks, but work out what we do have and be ready to go for the home opener."
The puck drops on that come October 3 at TD Garden against the Tampa Bay Lightning, so for now, the B's will have nearly three more weeks to through those kinks.