BRIGHTON, MA – The phrase “load management” hasn’t really carried into hockey circles very much at this point while it’s become all the rage in basketball, but it’s something that makes some kind of sense for a team like the Boston Bruins.
The organization hasn’t been shy about lightening up the practice workload for some of their older veterans and that was the case on Monday morning as both Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci were absent from practice. Boston Bruins coach Jim Montgomery joked afterward that it was the “senior citizen discount” for the 36-year-old Krejci and the 37-year-old Bergeron, but the truth is that the priority for both forwards is to get enough rest down the stretch to keep them fresh for the time when it really matters, the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“They get a free bowl of soup with the day off,” cracked a chuckling Montgomery.
Bergeron was at a season-low 17:16 of ice time during the month of February as his ice time is definitely getting scaled back while Krejci’s ice time was at a season-high 18:17 of ice time this past month. That will be an interesting trend to watch moving forward for a pair of elder Bruins statesmen that need to be at their best in the postseason.
It really becomes a priority for a team that’s already hit 100 points for the season in the first week of March and still plays as hard as they do on a nightly basis. The lower body injuries to Nick Foligno and Taylor Hall were a reminder that a little bit of rest for banged up players and injury avoidance is a priority, even if those particular situations couldn’t really have been helped when they happened.
“We’re starting to look into days off, not only in communication with [Bergeron and Krejci] but also with some other players that might be having some aches and bruises,” said Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery. “It’s about scheduling and when we could maximize days off for them and decrease the amount of volume that they are on the ice. We’re probably not looking at starting that this weekend, but probably on that road trip.”
That “road trip” being a long five game swing that’s going to go through Detroit, Chicago, Winnipeg, Minnesota and Buffalo over a week’s time that’s ultimately going to be a grind for an older, veteran team like the Boston Bruins.
The bottom line is that, while it isn’t the final stretch sprint for the Boston Bruins, the priority has already become lining themselves up as best as possible for the postseason after completely owning the NHL regular season from start to present.