The last week of the preseason feeling
“It’s nice to have a smaller group and a lot of the [familiar] guys out there to bring the pace up a bit,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said following Tuesday’s practice at TD Garden. “It’s good to start getting comfortable with the guys a little bit more and that means we’re getting closer to the season, so that’s nice.”
Indeed, we are that much closer to the start of the 2018-19 regular season. Eight days, to be exact, until the Bruins face off against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Capitals in D.C.
But this last week of the preseason has a little different feeling compared to years past. Instead of having a whole camp together, the Bruins sent half their roster to China with the other half staying home for the first week of training camp.
Saturday’s double sessions marked the first time the Bruins skated as a whole. The double sessions came to a close with several cuts announced in the last 48 hours — most notably Zach Senyshyn (Providence) and Axel Andersson (returning to juniors) — trimming the roster by nearly half.
The Bruins have two preseason games left, both on Causeway St. Those tilts take place Wednesday (Red Wings) and Saturday (Flyers, sans new mascot Gritty).
There is plenty to look forward to for the last two exhibitions. Jack Studnicka, Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson and Trent Frederic are all vying to make the leap from the prospect ranks and into the opening night lineup. PTO’s Lee Stempniak and Daniel Winnik hope to impress the Bruins brass even more in hopes of making the roster and inking their name to a contract. Both Torey Krug and Noel Acciari will likely make their preseason debuts against the Red Wings, while Patrice Bergeron hopes to take the Garden Ice on Saturday.
“That’s the plan,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said about Krug and Acciari’s potential return Wednesday. “…I’m not trying to keep any secrets, but they’re scheduled to play. So assuming today there are no real effects then they’re in.”
“I feel pretty good,” Krug said. “Baby steps. Tough to tell day-to-day but week-to-week I’m feeling better and I’m just trying to stay in a groove and get ready to play.”
It might feel like baby steps as the Bruins get reacquainted with one another. That will all change in eight days after the banner festivities come to a close at Capital One Arena.
The Caps’ final Cup celebration should also serve as motivation to a Bruins squad hoping to raise Lord Stanley in June.