Practice Notebook: Soderberg Progressing, Difficult Decisions on the Way, Prepping for Colorado
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, collectively putting up two goals, an assist and a plus-4 rating.
When Soderberg is back to full strength, who plays on that line could be a difficult decision for Julien.
All four forwards, including Caron, have shown strong play, whether during the preseason or the start to the regular season.
"Right now he’s got an opportunity to play on a regular line and a line that’s doing extremely well so he’s building on that," Julien said of Caron's confident play through the Bruins' first two games.
"Those are players that make our job fun, but also make it difficult when it comes time to making decisions because we've got a guy who is a pretty good player too that is injured now and we’re going to have some tough decisions to make when that time comes."
But, as in the past, the B's bench boss has always embraced tough lineup choices, especially when reflective of depth.
"Well, probably not," remarked Julien, when asked by a reporter if he could remember ever having as much depth as right now during his tenure in Boston. "We’ve had depth at the end of the year where we’ve made trades for extra players but right now, you know, we’ve got 22 guys here and we’ve got more than just a couple more in Providence that we feel we could call up on defense, up front, even in nets, the way Sveddy [Niklas Svedberg] played."
"I really feel confident that if we run into some injuries, which you do every year, we could take a whole line from up there right now and bring them down to us. When you've got the [Nick] Johnsons, you've got the [Ryan] Spooners playing on the same line and you've got a lot of guys there; Matt [Fraser] as well on the left wing and those kind of guys are all players that can play here."
(Side Note: Fraser-Spooner-Johnson debuted for Providence in their opener this past weekend and they may or may not have earned the moniker of "GPS Line" down there, for Grind (Johnson), Pass (Spooner), Score (Fraser). Will be fun to watch, no doubt, and I'd expect all to see time in Boston throughout the course of the lengthy NHL regular season.)
Long Layoff for Bruins Before Colorado
With a four-day layoff before the B's host Colorado on Thursday at TD Garden, the Bruins are rightfully starting to get restless.
"We're used to playing every other day. For me personally, down in Providence we'd practice all week and play on the weekends, so it's similar to that, but we're itching to get back into competition," said defenseman Torey Krug following Tuesday's skate.
"We had a long training camp and were excited for the start of the season and now we've got this little break so we're excited to get back out there.
The practice time, though, especially at the start of the season, is a luxury that the B's had little of during the lockout last season. In fact, I remember a span of about 16-17 days without a practice with the entire group.
"You get a tendency to get a little fussy and picky. Practice is important, whether we need five days between games is probably something that we probably wish we had a little less especially the way we played last game. But no doubt we’ll take advantage of it because as the season progresses, we’ll have less and less practice time," Julien agreed.
Coach has also constantly stressed the time it takes for their structure to become a habit for the new Bruins (unlike chemistry and acclimation to the team, which was nearly immediate).
"It’s good in a way with the new players that we have in our lineup, not necessarily about teaching, but again going through some things here that are reminders and you hear me say a lot about making things become second nature and by repeating things it in practice, it gives you that opportunity to create that."
Practice LinesWhite: Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla
Gold: Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Loui Eriksson
Grey: Jordan Caron-Chris Kelly-Reilly Smith
Merlot: Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
D: Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk, Dennis Seidenber-Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski
G: Tuukka Rask, Chad Johnson