Veterans expected to lead B’s
Cassidy leans on leaders during ‘unique situation’
At the end of the formal portion of Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena, there was a meeting of the top Bruin minds at center ice as Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Torey Krug huddled together for what looked like a purposeful conversation.
What exactly was said is not known, but it’s a good bet that it had something to do with the highly unusual situation they have found themselves in and exactly how they’ll lead this team through this two-week camp and the 24-team tournament toward what they hope will lead to a uniquely satisfying Stanley Cup win. They have as good a chance as any team to win it, but they have to get there first.
Whether he was making a statement or not, Chara conducted his Zoom call while wearing his pale blue face covering.
“This is definitely a test for us in many ways,” said Chara. “We’ve just to go work with the health department and people who are tying to find the best solutions. Everybody has to take some responsibility to do what it takes to get past this pandemic.”
Coach Bruce Cassidy made it clear he’ll be leaning on his leaders, perhaps a little more than usual.
“We’ll ask them to police a little more maybe,” said Cassidy. “But we’re asking all the individuals, you have to be more responsible just because of the coronavirus. It’s that simple. This isn’t just relatable to hockey. It’s all the pro sports that are trying to start up, it’s college sports that are trying to get going, it’s communities, it’s on everybody to social distance, to mask up when necessary. And it’s even more important, because if one person gets infected, it could go through your whole team and it could hurt your chances if that were to happen, especially with the protocols.
“So we’re leaning on everybody here, all the individuals that are planning on being in the bubble, to take care of themselves the next two weeks and we’re hoping they’ll be responsible. And we’re asking the leadership (to help). I don’t know that it’s every day that we’re drilling it into them, but can we carry that message and make sure that players understand what’s at stake? Because (those) guys have been through it a little more, the sacrifices required to win the Stanley Cup. And our players listen to them. We hope that that’s the case. Other than that, it’s what we’ve always asked of them – be the best players at practice, demonstrate good work ethic, tutor when you can the young guys off the ice, show up to play, play hard and play the right way.”
While some may wonder if the winners of this year’s Cup will have an asterisk by their names, Cassidy believes it will mean even more to win it this year with the added sacrifices it will take.
“This is a unique situation for whatever team wins this, and maybe for a lot of the sports as they get going. I think it will be remembered differently for maybe it being the ‘ bubble year’ or however it’s going to be phrased. It will mean a little bit more,” said Cassidy. “I think the guys that are leaving their families will have to pull on the rope, but that’s where the young guys will as well. It’s not easy to be contained and not be able to go where you want, do what you want, when you want, but that’s where the young guys have to pitch in a little more as well, knowing these guys are leaving their young children and their wives for an undetermined amount of time. That’s a big sacrifice. It’s part of the job requirement this year, but that’s the way it is. But that’s where the young guys are going to have to step up a little bit, too,and we’re going to talk about that as well. It’s not always incumbent on the veteran guys to be big brother. There are certain situations where, yes, we need it, we want it, they’re willing to do it. But there’s also a situation here or there where little brother can pull on the rope a little harder too, the days that some of the veteran guys may be dealing with some of issues back home that they’re not able to do because they’re in a bubble.”
One exhibition game
The NHL announced Tuesday the Bruins will have an exhibition game before the seasonopener. Columbus will skate against Boston at 7 p.m. on July 30 in Toronto.
Czech duo back soon
David Pastrnak and Ondrej
Kase remained the only two players not in camp, but Cassidy hopes they’ll be able to skate by Wednesday and be part of the full group by Thursday. He plans to give a maintenance day to players who’d been here working out in Phase 2 on Wednesday.
If Pastrnak and Kase can be up and running by Thursday, he doesn’t expect them to be too far behind….
Bjork bumped up for now
After being highlighted by Cassidy for his solid play on Monday, Anders Bjork was bumped up to skate on the Bergeron-Marchand line and Karson Kuhlman skated on the Krejci line. No, Bjork is not expected to knock Pastrnak out of his spot on Bergeron’s right side, but Cassidy stressed that Bjork can push for a shot somewhere in the lineup. With the addition of Nick Ritchie and Kase, Bjork had found himself out of the lineup for a few games before the pause.
“There’s competition for him,” said Cassidy. “We like Anders as a person and we like him as a player, but we’re going to play the 12 best guys. He’s certainly in that mix. Is he automatic? No. So for him, this Return To Play, these practice sessions are more important than for some of the other guys because you don’t have a lot of games to prove himself.”
Around the boards
Tuukka Rask took a shot shot that stung him midway through practice and had to leave briefly, but he returned to finish out practice. … Trent Frederic has not practiced with the team yet, but skated after the practice on Tuesday with skating coaching Kim Brandvold. … Anton Blidh, Urho Vaakanainen and Daniel Vladar did skate with the group after missing Monday’s practice. … Assistant coach Kevin Dean remains sidelined, but Cassidy had expected him to be ready soon.
Clockwise from top left, Zdeno Chara talks with Brad Marchand, Torey Krug, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci during practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena in Allston.
Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi throws during an intrasquad game at summer camp at Fenway Park on Tuesday.