WILMINGTON – It’s the last four day break the Bruins will get until the NHL shuts down for the Olympics, and Claude Julien was confident that the team used the breather to its advantage.
The Bruins nixed practice on both Monday and Tuesday, and then held high energy practice sessions with a near full contingent of players at Ristuccia Arena. Now the Black and Gold prepare to get back on the treadmill with a Saturday afternoon matinee against the Flyers, and a Monday night tilt against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
“I will say it’s been a difficult schedule with crunching up all of the games because of the Olympic break coming up,” said Milan Lucic. “But we’ve done well so far. We’ve built our game headed in the right direction in the last three games, and we want to keep that moving forward.”
The Bruins had enough extra energy that Brad Marchand and Torey Krug found time at the end of practice to work Matt Bartkowski over in the corner, and then wrestle the bigger defenseman to the ground in something that looked like a cross between WCW and midget wrestling. Bartkowski said afterward that Marchand resorted to dirty tactics before finally taking him down to the ice.
All of it means that the Bruins had a little extra energy to burn off after a grueling stretch over the last month that will conclude with seven more games leading into the mid-February Olympic break.
“I like the pace of our practices. You could tell the two days off were good for our players,” said Julien. “Now it’s a matter of bringing it to Philly.”
It’s also a matter of bringing it for the remaining seven games in 14 days until some players will be headed off to Sochi, Russia to play out their Olympic dreams, and the rest will be in vacation mode for multiple weeks.