The feeling around the Boston Bruins dressing room over the last few days of training camp has been akin to that of high school seniors in those final weeks before graduation finally ends their experience. In both instances the restlessness is palpable, and in the Bruins’ case they are gleeful to be finished with their three weeks of training camp.
It’s a necessary part of the process in readying for the regular season, of course, but that feeling of “senioritis” really hit a crescendo this weekend when the Bruins veterans traveled to the hinterlands of Canada for final dress rehearsals in Winnipeg and Saskatoon.
“As soon as we stepped on a plane that was headed to Winnipeg and Saskatoon, everybody said ‘let’s just get this thing done.’ [Training camp] hasn’t been too long,” said B’s goaltender Tuukka Rask, who appeared in three games for the Black and Gold during the preseason including Friday night’s 5-0 shutout win over the Winnipeg Jets. “But we’ve had enough games now.”
Despite the obvious Saskatchewan-induced malaise the Bruins finished an impressive 6-1 during their seven game preseason schedule, and appear to be in full health to start the regular season.
Instead it’s now all about the Oct. 3 season opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning with only one more major decision to be made between Jordan Caron and Nick Johnson before Boston’s NHL roster is locked in. The Bruins will have one final preseason practice on Sunday morning at TD Garden and then will head to Waterbury, VT for two days of team-building exercises with the 23-person crew scheduled to start the season for the Black and Gold on Thursday night.
Then it’s back to Boston for the start of the regular season and an 82-game campaign of endurance, will, depth and talent that all of Boston’s regulars have been aiming for through all of the drudgery of two-a-day practice sessions in September.
“It’s been a long camp after what we went through last year going from one week of camp right into regular season games,” said Milan Lucic. “It’s been good to get comfortable with the news guys on the team and getting to knew them. But we’re definitely getting a little restless at this point, and can’t wait for next week to start.”
The same goes for everybody surrounding a Bruins team with high expectations coming into the season, and some new wrinkles with Detroit, Florida and Tampa Bay now in the newly formed Atlantic Division, along with a new playoff format and a schedule where the Bruins play each of the other 29 teams at least twice in home and away games.