Boston Bruins center Charlie shed the red, non-contact jersey on Monday and took part in his first full practice at training camp.
“I don’t like that jersey,” Coyle told the media Monday.
Coyle has been rehabbing from offseason knee surgeries and admitted that after becoming frustrated a bit that he couldn’t take part in the first four days of Boston Bruins training camp.
“You never want to be the guy out there that no one knows how to play you – it’s just awkward,” Coyle said. “You want to be like everyone else and be on the same level as everyone else and just play hockey, put everything behind you, and just play, be with the guys, and get better. I was happy about it. It’s good mentally, too, to just get out there and do things 100 percent and be out there with everybody.”
Originally, there was some thought that Coyle wouldn’t be able to fully participate at Boston Bruins training camp until later in camp so returning this early likely saved him from having to overcome the mental challenges rehab presents, especially at this part of the year.
“I’m not used to that really. Usually, you come in in the summertime and you’re healthy and you get to work on things and skating and work on your skills and different things to get better, but I wasn’t able to get on the ice,” Coyle said. “The whole rehab thing is a mental challenge as well because you know everyone else around the league and your teammates are working at their game and you can’t get on the ice yet. I just kept telling myself, the summertime I won’t be able to skate, but come playoffs I’ll have more juice.”
Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has already proclaimed Coyle to be the leading candidate to take David Krejci’s place as the Bruins’ second-line center between Taylor Hall and Craig Smith. Rookie Jack Studnicka has seen regular time between Hall and Smith during Coyle’s early absence and Coyle knows that just because he’s healthy enough to participate at practice now, that spot isn’t his to lose.
“I’m looking for every opportunity out there, as everyone is,” the Boston Bruins center said. “I just want to be able to, no matter who I’m playing with, play the best that I can. I know I’m better, I want to be better, and that’s what the team needs from me. Those are two great guys; you’re not gonna complain playing with them. Whoever it is, I’ll be ready to go and my game’s not gonna change.
It’s training camp, we’re all fighting for jobs. You want to play hard against guys and that’s how you get ready for exhibition games and exhibition games get your ready for [real] games. It’s all steps. But you want to practice hard and play hard. You want guys testing you and pushing and playing the body, playing physical and that helps when you do that in practice because that’s how you get ready for games. Once you put on that jersey, you’re a full go. It’s fair game out there.”
Coyle won’t be in the lineup when the Boston Bruins play their second preseason game at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.