We’re 12 days away from the start of Phase 3 — training camp — of the NHL’s return to play plan.
The Boston Bruins have been slowly working their way back into shape with limited groups skates at Warrior Ice arena over the last two weeks. And according to head coach Bruce Cassidy, the team is right on track.
“We’re trying to find work, but there’s just not a lot of new news here. We aren’t sure where we are going yet,” Cassidy said during a media conference call on Monday. “We do know right now we are on schedule to start July 10 with a full group. I’m excited to get back to work.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bruins haven’t played an NHL game since Mar. 10. The team will look a little different when they report for Phase 3.
Cassidy plans on calling up several players from the Providence ranks for a total of 30 skaters and four goalies to help the Bruins through camp. Yet, he believes it’s unlikely that any of the call ups will push a regular out of the lineup this postseason.
“We’ve got a list of 28 and 30 [skaters] plus four goaltenders. I think you are unlimited with your goaltenders, but we are looking at four right now,” Cassidy added. “Obviously, Tuukka [Rask], [Jaroslav] Halak, Max [Legace] and Dan Vladar are the four guys we are looking at.”
With a plethora of players, Cassidy expects to do “a little of both” in terms of separate sessions and one large group skate but plans on trimming his main down quickly.
“I know at some point we’ll want to get to our group. So that will look like a 24-man roster, and then [we’ll] have a second group — typically they are called the black aces. I don’t know if they’ll all be together, or we’ll bring a few into our group.” Cassidy said about his training camp outlook. “We’ll also have to determine the maintenance of our guys and how much work do they need.”
As the team gears up, there are still several unknowns surrounding the league’s eventual return. Where is the second Hub City? And will the players be able to see their families during the playoffs?
Cassidy knows that these are challenging times for all of the athletes, but he has the utmost confidence in his leadership group, namely Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron. In fact, the mental fortitude of his players is something he believes will lead them to their ultimate goal of being Stanley Cup Champions.
“The mental toughness part is going to determine who raises that trophy at the end of the day,” Cassidy added. “And that’s where I like our chances.”
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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