BOSTON -- The Bruins have been on the ice working diligently in camp for the last four days, and they may be getting a little antsy to get into some game action. Luckily for them, the preseason schedule is about to start, and the B’s will open with a road tilt against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Monday.
After that, the Bruins will return to Boston for a pair of practice sessions on Tuesday morning and then will travel to Baltimore on Tuesday night for another exhibition game against the Washington Capitals.
For players like Torey Krug that have never played in an NHL preseason game, it’s another new experience to stock away while carving out a roster spot on the big club.
“I can’t wait. Anytime you can put the jersey on and hit a few guys, and not worry about the consequences, it’s a little bit better. When you’re out here you don’t want to hurt a teammate, but you’re also working as hard as you can so you win a spot on the team,” said Krug, who has been paired with Adam McQuaid throughout training camp. “These are great opportunities to show what you can do, and work as hard as you can.”
For the B’s defensemen corps, there is a three-way battle between Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski for two starting spots among Boston’s top six along the blue line. There also appears to be a couple of openings on the third line on either side of Chris Kelly with Carl Soderberg, Reilly Smith and Jordan Caron as the early front-runners a few days into camp.
Youngsters like Anthony Camara and Jared Knight have been given a ton of chances to really stand out in third line auditions, but the B’s management group is looking for the preseason games to be the true proving ground.
How much will the preseason games factor into the way in which coaches evaluate players?
"I think a lot," said Claude Julien. "There’s guys that are great in practice, you get them in a game and you don’t see them. You got guys in practice that are painful to watch sometimes and then you see them in a game and it’s like ‘Wow, what a different player.’ And that’s why you have to be careful when you analyze players, and 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."
“It will be a lot of fun," said Krug. "I’ve never played in an exhibition game at the NHL level, but I’d assume there will be a lot of guys flying around trying to impress management. There will be a lot of big hits, but hopefully not a lot of chaos. I’m sure it will be fun hockey with a lot of energy. I’m sure the fans will be excited.”
Since Monday night’s game is at the always electric Bell Centre, the Habs fans will be excited no matter what is happening on the ice.