Don’t let the return to summer weather as Labor Day weekend kicks off, fool you, hockey is back in the Hub Of Hockey!
While some Boston Bruins players like Charlie Coyle, Charlie McAvoy, and Chris Wagner stuck around Boston for the offseason, others are starting to filter into the city and their in-season homes as rookie camp and training camp approach. Bruins Rookie Camp will officially begin on September 5 and training camp will kick off a week later on September 12.
The rookies will immediately hit the road a day after their camp begins as they will travel to Buffalo for the Prospects Challenge Rookie Tournament with the Sabres, Penguins, and Devils.
Assorted Bruins players though, will hit the ice on September 4 for Captain’s practices, which the veteran players use to continue to get the kinks out and be ready to go for training camp and then, believe it or not, the preseason, which kicks off September 16 against the New Jersey Devils in Newark, New Jersey. The Bruins first home preseason game will be a week later against the Philadelphia Flyers at the revamped and remodeled TD Garden in Boston.
Management and head coach Bruce Cassidy have already made it clear that after a 23-game playoff run and the shortened offseason will be factored into the playing time and approach with veteran players like captain Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, etc. so they’re ready for the real thing in Dallas October 3rd for the regular season opener against the Stars.
“I feel like this summer is a little bit of ‘How are we going to be prepared for next season?’ That’s a little bit of a concern after going that late [into the year] and then losing,” Bruins team president Cam Neely said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Boston Bruins reporter Joe Haggerty last month.
“Guys are feeling a little bit behind because they’ve got to take a few weeks to get healthy before they can start ramping it up again [in offseason training]. I think they feel like they’re a few weeks behind on the conditioning front because you’ve got to take some time to rest and recover.”
Neely is confident though that it will be that older core that will actually lead the way in camp and early on in the season as the players that never played that deep into the playoffs go through this for the first time.
“We have such great leadership and character that they’ll be ready to go,” Neely said. “But it’s just different playing October games than late June games.”
In an interview on The Greg Hill Show on WEEI last week, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask echoed Neely’s sentiments, and said the mental aspect will be the biggest obstacle.
“I think the mental aspect is the biggest thing, especially if it’s a disappointing loss like that. You have to just kind of unwind and try to forget about hockey as much as you can,” Rask told the show. “But then again you only have 2 ½, three months until the next season starts and you’ve got to take a month for your body to recover. So it’s a really small window to kind of recover and then try to get back in shape.
I think that if you can just kind of do something and stay somewhat in shape and keep skating, that’ll help you start the new season because you only had a couple of months between the games. But I think mentally, it’s just such a grind, hockey season, you know you play 82 games plus 25 possibly, so mentally it’s very draining,” Rask added on the show. “And the fresher mentally you can be, the better off you are I think.”