The Group B scrimmage is in the books for the Boston Bruins, and this one ended in a scoreless after the Group A scrimmage managed to squeeze out just one goal from a free agent camp invite. The lack of scoring certainly speaks to the defensive nature of the Bruins and the rust some of the skill guys are still shaking off, but there was more than enough shown in the drills to make some player evaluations. The biggest “moment” in the Group B scrimmage was Adam McQuaid leveling Anthony Camara behind the net with a “Welcome to the NHL” type body check.
There was some good physical intensity from the Bruins players in both scrimmages, and things are setting up nicely for the start of the preseason schedule on Monday night in Montreal.
Here are some thoughts from the Group B players after their double session and scrimmage before a couple thousand Bruins fans at TD Garden:
· The Bruins did a bit of power play practicing on Saturday, and some of the looks were pretty interesting. Torey Krug was included in a unit with Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla, and that speaks to the young defenseman’s standing in the race for a roster spot. Players on the bubble don’t work on the same power play unit as the team’s biggest stars, so one would assume that Krug has already made the team barring something bizarre or unforeseen.
· One other interesting wrinkle from the power play practice was the insertion of Zdeno Chara down low near the net during power play formations. It’s something the Bruins have done in desperate scoring moments – or when the goalie is pulled during the closing minutes of games they’re trailing – but it’s never been a regular occurrence. With the large number of Bruins players able to man the point position on the power play, we might see a lot more of the 6-foot-9 defenseman screening the goaltender on the man advantage. That can’t be a bad thing.
· Just as Reilly Smith stood out for his feistiness and heady play in the first group, newly acquired winger Matt Fraser stood out with his ability to shoot the puck in Group B action. Fraser beat Malcolm Subban on several occasions with shots from the slot area during drills, and actually reminded me of a smaller, more mobile Glenn Murray with his playing style and shooting ability. He’s a guy that certainly will get consideration after potting 70 goals in the AHL over the last two seasons.
· Carl Soderberg also continued to stand out while skating with Fraser and Craig Cunningham, a pair of hopefuls for roles on the third line. The Big Swede scored a goal during three-on-three drills from below the blue line, and looked quick, big and strong manning the center spot between the other two forwards. It will be interesting to watch him in the preseason games to see how much offensive damage he can do once the intensity and game speed gets ratcheted up.