Alex Petrovic looked to impress from the get-go entering Day 1 of Training Camp. After all, he’s here on a PTO with no guarantees of making the club.
What the former Panthers and Oilers defenseman didn’t envision was a collision with the coach he hopes to persuade.
Toward the end of the first session, Petrovic lost an edge during a drill and took Bruce Cassidy down with him. Luckily, Petrovic got right back up and finished the drill.
Cassidy got up slowly as he absorbed the blow to his surgically repaired knee. But he wasn’t out for long. He eventually popped back up, finished instructing the ongoing drill and instructed the 53-man camp — with rosters divided in half — for the two Friday sessions.
“I took a bump. It actually hit a tendon on the side and I couldn’t get up [at first],” Cassidy, two days removed from his new contract extension, said.
Petrovic, for obvious reasons, felt bad about the collision. He didn’t know until returning to the locker room about Cassidy’s off-season surgery, either.
“It was unfortunate running into Bruce there. I lost an edge, and it wasn’t the best spot to lose an edge, you know,” Petrovic said. “But I actually got up and I was trying to get back into the drill and went to see if he was alright, but I think he’s fine, so…”
“I wasn’t. Not until I came in here and that’s what the guys were saying,” Petrovic added about his awareness of Cassidy’s new knee. “It was unfortunate, but he’s a pretty tough guy.”
As a fellow media scribe asked during Cassidy’s press conference: “We know he caught your knee, but did he catch your eye?”
“He did,” Cassidy added. “What I like to do is try to keep the pace going in these practices, and I’m not watching every individual, so I’ll catch them periodically. First day, I thought he was fine. I don’t think he’s a flashy guy by nature…so it’s more of a day to day evaluation to see how it goes.”
Petrovic can only control his performance and effort as he aims for a full-time gig. Even that might be enough to keep him from getting cut.
Yes, there are a few open spots on the back end. Training camp holdouts Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy will fill a pair of spots if and/or when they agree to new deals. That would only leave one of the six spots open for opening night barring injuries.
The good news for the right shot Petrovic? That open spot is on the right side on the third defensive pair next to Matt Grzelcyk. Even then he’ll have to stave off competition from the likes of Urho Vaakaninen, Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril just to name a few.
Yet, Petrovic may have an upper hand if Cassidy opts for a more physical lineup following last year’s taxing Stanley Cup Final against the Blues. Some added muscle on the back end isn’t a bad thing, especially given Kevan Miller’s status to start the year thanks to his lingering injuries.
“I like to play physical. I like to lead the team in hits every other night — if not every night — and make an impact that way,” Petrovic said.
Petrovic’s first training camp hit surely made an impact alright, but for different reasons.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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