Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy isn’t calling it training camp. Rather, he’s calling Phase 3 of the NHL’s ‘Return to Play’ plan something different. He referred to it as ‘Return to Play’ camp on Monday. Following the club’s first practice together since March, Cassidy spoke to the media remotely. Although media are allowed inside of Warrior Ice Arena to cover the events, press conference will still be held via video call.
“I’m not looking at this as training camp,” Cassidy said on Monday morning. “I’m calling it return to play camp.” Cassidy’s reasoning is quite simple. He sees training camp as more of a marathon in preparation for the 82-game grind that is an NHL season. This? It’s more of a sprint in his eyes. That requires a different mindset and approach.
Although the approach will be different than a normal training camp, the goal is still the same. The Bruins are preparing for a grind that will start August 2nd in Toronto when they take on the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of their round-robin for seeding.
It’s been four months since their last practice, but rust did not appear to be a factor on Monday.
“It felt really good. I thought our guys had excellent pace. Execution was pretty good for a 1st practice,” Cassidy said. “The willingness to work was excellent. Guys were in a good mood. It reminded me a lot of practices during the year. It was kind of where we left off overall”
The Bruins took the ice a little earlier than normal, 9:30 am. That wasn’t Cassidy’s decision, rather it was lobbied for by his players. It will remain that way throughout the week.
That said, Bruce Cassidy did admit that the Bruins are expecting to be playing a number of 4:00 pm games during the round-robin stage. As a result, Cassidy said he could “mix-in a couple of 4:00 pm practices” as camp progresses.