With Claude Julien back from the World Cup of Hockey, the first cuts of Bruins main training camp are expected in the next 24 hours.
Julien was behind the bench Saturday night in Philadelphia, where the B's posted a shootout win over the Flyers. The Bruins have had more than 50 players in camp and available for the first four exhibition games, and now some veterans -- just like Julien, who was on Team Canada's coaching staff -- are back from the World Cup. David Pastrnak and Dave Backes made their preseason debuts Saturday, and Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Christian Ehrhoff and Zdeno Chara will return this week.
Their presence will bring a sense of normalcy back to camp, but will also require the B's to start reducing their numbers in main camp.
“I think we need to bring our numbers down,” Julien, who gave everybody the day off on Sunday after a solid first 10 days of camp in Boston, said late last week. “[The World Cup of Hockey] players need some rest, and I think they’re gonna get it. They’re not showing up here until Monday morning, and they will probably get some other days off this week. But I think the goal in talking to them and looking at our situation was that they didn’t feel comfortable taking too many days off straight. They didn’t want to lose that edge. They’ve got an opportunity to rest, get on the ice sooner than later and then rest again. That’s the best approach for our group.”
While the numbers clearly need to be cut down with only three preseason games remaining before Boston’s Oct. 13 opener, there’s also the Monday opening of Providence Bruins training camp in Rhode Island.. One could expect junior players like Jesse Gabrielle and Jeremy Lauzon to potentially be returned to their teams in Canada, and others earmarked for Providence like Tommy Cross, Chris Breen and Tim Schaller to be headed there at the beginning of next week as well.
GOLD STAR: Jaden Schwartz stepped up and won the game for the Blues with a couple of really good plays in the third period and overtime. He took advantage of a line change and a lax Bruins defense to snap a shot past Anton Khudobin from the face-off circle in the third period that tied up the game, and then went on a one-man rush in overtime before blasting a puck past Khudobin for the game-winner on a beautiful individual play. Schwartz finished with the two goals that represented all of the St. Louis offense, four shots on net, a hit and a takeaway in 20:02 of ice time while logging a plus-2 rating as well. The Blues clearly needed somebody to step up to the plate with Vladimir Tarasenko and the Schwartz was with St. Louis on Wednesday night.
BLACK EYE: The Bruins were quite literally black and blue after a physical, punishing game with the St. Louis Blues. A number of players took heavy hits against a St. Louis team that felt free to throw hits and take runs with Zdeno Chara and David Backes out of Boston’s lineup among other players, and that culminated with Brayden Schenn drilling David Krejci in the second period. It was a hit that earned Schenn a two minute penalty for charging midway through the period, but shouldn’t result in anything more for the Blues forward. The hit wasn’t late, his skates were on the ice when he made contact, and Krejci was crouched down when Schenn made impact on a heavy check with his elbows tucked in, so it looked like a relatively clean hit that isn’t going to be on the radar of the NHL’s Player Safety Department. That physicality for the Blues really seemed to slow down the Bruins a little bit as things went on over the 60 plus minutes of the overtime game.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually only got outshot by a 15-13 margin in the second period, third period and overtime, but it was clear that they slowed down in terms of attacking and creating chances as things moved on in the game. By the latter half of the game the Bruins were simply trying to hang on to their one-goal lead, and then after that simply trying to hang in there for the point earned by getting to overtime. They managed to do it, but it was a different wave of momentum in the game once the Blues tied things up in the third period on Schwartz’s first goal. After that the Bruins were scrambling and hanging on, and did just enough to hang in there for a single overtime point for the second game in a row.
HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan Donato made it two goals in two games when he stepped into a loose puck created by an Alex Pietrangelo turnover that bounced off referee Brad Watson after he attempted to throw a puck up the middle of the ice. Donato pounced on the fortuitous bounce and rocked a puck on edge past Jake Allen for the game’s first goal and another affirmation that the 21-year-old can both shoot and score. Donato was pretty quiet after that goal, of course, with a couple of shots on net, but it seemed like a big, heavy hit on him by Dmitri Jaskin in the second period kind of quieted the youngster down a little bit. Still, you’ve got to love the production from a player just getting his feet wet at the NHL level.
BY THE NUMBERS: 100 – The number of points for the Bruins after falling in overtime by a 2-1 score to the Blues, and in getting to the century mark the B’s clinched a playoff spot for the second season in a row.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s step one. Going into the season we wanted to make the playoffs and be a Stanley Cup contender. Right now we got in and we’re going to be a contender, right? Now it’s about being in the best position possible going forward.” –Bruce Cassidy, to reporters in St. Louis about clinching the playoff spot on Wednesday night.
With a playoff berth in-hand, the Boston Bruins celebrated on Instagram with a playful video about their fans.
The short video put their fans into categories: the hugger, the faithful, the screamer, the loose cannon, the comfortable commentator and the emotional trainwreck.
No matter how the devotees enjoy Bruins games, they can all unit over their hockey team. Here's the vide for your enjoyment.