BRIGHTON, MA – The message for Boston Bruins training camp from their new coaching staff was pretty simple and straightforward as things open with on-ice workouts Thursday morning at Warrior Ice Arena.
With offseason surgeries set to put Brad Marchand on the shelf until Thanksgiving and force puck movers Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk to at least miss the first month of the season, there are going to be more open roster spots than usual at the NHL level to start this season.
There’s also a brand new coaching staff led by Jim Montgomery that’s going to form their own opinions about the players that they’re watching on the ice.
“[I’m] surprisingly really comfortable just because of the culture that exists here,” said Montgomery as things get going for his first training camp with the Black and Gold. “The fiber of work, compete, and accountability that is echoed from the top – from Cam [Neely] to [Don Sweeney] to [Patrice Bergeron] to [Brad Marchand] – it’s true of every player I’ve met, it’s special to be here. That makes you really comfortable. And that’s your own beliefs as well.
“The message was about the opportunity – and that was echoed by Cam and Sweens as well, about the opportunity on the back end with two guys injured and with Marchy out, the opportunities there, which everybody looks for in camp. Then I talked specifically about being prepared and being on time. We have a lot of people here to help. Ask questions. We’re in it together.”
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) September 21, 2022
The “we’re in it together” message is certainly a stark difference from the sharp public criticism that some players bristled at from former Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, and is perhaps one of the features some players mentioned earlier this week as a “softer” approach from the new head coach.
It’s going to be interesting to see how hands on Montgomery is going to be with this established group as he enters a situation with a team coming off 51 wins and over 100 points last season, but there’s little doubt he’s received a bit of an education in the Boston Bruins way this week with the Boston Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament and Zdeno Chara’s retirement ceremony at TD Garden that essentially pushed back the Black and Gold’s entire training camp schedule by a day.
“Like Zdeno talked about [on Tuesday] – the culture here, how to work, the accountability, the compete that we’re looking for from everyone,” said Montgomery. “I think if you get the opportunity to be on the same line as a Charlie Coyle or you get to be on a D pairing with Brandon Carlo…you get an opportunity with those types of guys that have been with the Bruins for a while, this is the way we go about our business, this is the way we compete, this is the way we do things. We do it right.”
On the health front, Montgomery noted that Marchand (double hip surgery), McAvoy (shoulder surgery), Grzelcyk (shoulder surgery) and Matt Filipe (lower body) are the only four players not expected to be on the ice when things get going in earnest on Thursday morning.