BOSTON -- The Bruins should hold some kind of competitive advantage with 12 members of their team playing overseas along with one expected roster player also coming from both the OHL (Dougie Hamilton) and AHL (Chris Bourque). Its the most players any NHL team had in Europe during the four-month lockout and that could be conducive to a quick start to the season.
But Bruins coach Claude Julien also observed that skaters like Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand who never went overseas like Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara are already catching up after just three days of official camp practices.
I think that the guys who didnt play, you can see improvement in every day. I find personally that its starting to level off pretty quickly, said Julien. What were going to have to be careful about obviously is the schedule part of it. Guys that are used to this every day on the ice -- and every second day playing -- can handle that.
Those guys who havent played, well have to see how they do in regards to that. Hopefully they do well, but right now I have no complaints. If anything Im pleasantly surprised at the pace and the sharpness in our hockey team.
Thats good news as many wondered whether a big-bodied player like Lucic, who didnt skate much at all in the months of November and December, would struggle badly coming out of the gate. It would appear all Bruins players are past that point, but the quick start could still bring on sore groins and balky hamstrings.
One NHL team has already lost a key player as David Booth blew out his hamstring while undergoing conditioning testing over the weekend, and will be lost to the Canucks for over a month. The Black and Gold arent out of the woods as far as injuries are concerned, and they could be killers during a shortened 48-game season.
But Juliens downright positive assessment of his players bodes well that everyone on the roster is ready to sprint out of the blocks this weekend.