On paper, summer hockey sounds terrific. In practice, however, it could be a less than ideal product. NHL teams have not played games since March, nearly five months. On top of that, ice conditions likely are primed to be less than optimal. Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has those same concerns. He voiced them just a day before heading to the Toronto hub.
“I think it’s going to be really sloppy hockey, to be honest with you,” Marchand told reporters when asked about how prepared he feels like the two-week camp made everyone. “We’ve been off for four, five months or whatever its been, and it takes more than a couple of weeks to get it all back, to be at the top of your game.”
A quick camp after a lengthy time off isn’t the only thing that has Brad Marchand worried.
“The ice conditions are not going to be good,” Marchand continued. “I just don’t think it’s going to be great hockey, but we’re all going to be on the same playing field. We’ve all had the same amount of time to get ready and we’re just going to have to battle it out regardless of the situation.
The Bruins last game prior to the pause was on March 10th against the Philadelphia Flyers. Their preseason tilt on July 30th will come just short of five months later. Their first ‘meaningful’ game comes August 2nd against those same Flyers.
Although conditions won’t be ideal and guys might not be completely ready, that won’t change the overall atmosphere. At the end of the day, Marchand still believes the playoff mentality will take over.
“It’s still going to be intense, hard fought and there’s going to be some nice plays.”