WASHINGTON DC – New Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery couldn’t hide the bounce in his step after notching his first win as the B’s bench boss in a strong 5-2 season-opening win over a solid Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Wednesday night. It wasn’t perfect execution of the new system for the Black and Gold, but the effort and emotion were there in equally notable amounts to trump any mistakes being made.
It all came full circle back to Montgomery laughing off a pregame question about whether his team had perfected the coach’s new system prior to the start of the regular season.
“No,” said Montgomery with a laugh when asked if the players had fully absorbed his system after a two week plus training camp. “No. Not a chance. And you know what? It doesn’t matter. Because you want guys to play with creativity and you want guys to play on their toes and not be afraid to make mistakes. We’ll get there on the X’s and O’s.
“Right now, it’s about playing with effort and emotion more than execution for these first couple of weeks.”
The 60 minutes on the ice was full of effort and emotion even if it was a little light on the actual forecheck pressure, or the clean execution in the defensive zone. Postgame, Patrice Bergeron snatched up the game puck from the ice after the final horn sounded and presented it to Montgomery in a “feel good” vibes Boston Bruins dressing room afterward.
“It’s an honor. Bergie gave it to me,” said Montgomery. “Pretty sweet. It’s going on the mantle, probably in my son’s room.
“[Getting the first win] feels great, but more importantly we do this together. It’s an honor to lead this group.”
Strong dressing room vibes here after the first win https://t.co/uzPM31dMhU
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) October 13, 2022
It was all unremarkable signs that the Bruins players turned the page on the head coaching change, a stunning dismissal that was privately welcomed by a number of individuals in the B’s dressing room. Certainly, things look different on the ice with D-men encouraged to play deep into the offensive zone while taking risks, and all players being asked to ditch conservative puck play for creativity and playmaking.
Some of little differences were kind of stunning.