WILMINGTON, Mass. The Bruins prepared for their first back-to-back road games of the season this upcoming week at Ristuccia Arena.
Gregory Campbell was the only Bs player missing from the ice on Sunday, and both Steve Kampfer and Jordan Caron were promoted back to the NHL after tune-up games with the Providence Bruins.
The Bruins travel to Pittsburgh to play the class of the Eastern Conference on Monday night. That game will be a noteworthy event in and of itself, but then the Bs will feel the pain of their first road tilt against Southeast Division foe Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night.
The Jets are toward the bottom of the pack in the Eastern Conference, but theyre also 7-4 in their own building playing for fans drunk on the return of NHL hockey.
Pittsburgh is a team thats doing extremely well and we know what that challenge represents, said Claude Julien. But its also a good thing where its going to give us one of the best possible challenges we could have right now, and its not going to get any easier the next night when we have to fly to Winnipeg. Theyve been playing pretty well at home, so weve got two good tests there.
The road games kick off a busy week with four games in six days, including a home game against the Florida Panthers and another road tilt against the Columbus Blue Jackets to finish things off.
Tuukka Rask's start Saturday night against the Leafs will likely begin run of appearances for the backup goaltender with the density of games beginning to thicken for the Black and Gold. Expect Thomas against Pittsburgh and Florida, and a pair of likely outings for Rask against the Jets and Blue Jackets.
It was about giving Rask an opportunity to be as well-tuned as possible before this stretch, said Julien. Thats why we tried to give him some games even though the schedule was favoring us a little bit.
For Tim to have played as many games as he did last year, rest certainly isnt going to hurt him. One thing I really like about Tim is that he can get some rest and it doesnt seem to affect his game. He can come back and I havent seen him look rusty at any time. I think last year he took a whole week off and Thomas still came back strong.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars being released today. Amazing that the power and influence of the best movie franchise in cinematic history are just as strong today as it was four decades ago. I still remember my first time seeing it as a very little kid with my parents at the dearly departed Starlight Drive-In in North Reading.
*Good guy and recently fired Colorado Avalanche assistant coach Tim Army talks about a rough past season with the Avs, and some of the difficulties they faced in a truly terrible season. The former Providence College head coach and good hockey man shouldn’t have much trouble finding his next gig.
*A great move by the Arizona Coyotes, who have hired former Bruins forward Craig Cunningham as a pro scout after his awful medical situation last season that resulted in his leg getting amputated. Cunningham is a hard worker and a hockey lifer, and that’s exactly the kind of traits that the best scouts have in huge amounts.
*The New Jersey Devils have fired a number of employees after a rough season, including a groundbreaking radio analyst.
*With the ultra-competitive demand for an edge in NHL player development, teams are beginning to look to Europe for more and more diamonds in the rough. The Bruins tried that with Joonas Kemppainen, but it didn’t work out so well.
*One of the real big advantages of the Nashville Predators getting to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time is a national spotlight getting flashed on PK Subban, who shows off his personality in a rare ESPN interview of a hockey player featured on the network's magazine show.
*Ryan Johansen isn’t done talking smack to Ryan Kesler after the Predators prevailed over the Ducks, and it’s some delicious playoff hatred.
*Is the NHL ready to draft another goaltender with the last name DiPietro in the first round? Inquiring minds want to know, but I’d recommend the New York Islanders take a pass just in the name of avoiding a repeat of some bad history for them.
*Taylor Hall sounds pretty bitter about the whole “Edmonton Oilers getting into the playoff without him” thing, doesn’t he?
*For something completely different: As mentioned above, it’s a milestone birthday for the Star Wars franchise hitting 40 years old today. Boy, this Boston Globe movie review was right on the money back in 1977.