Vet­er­ans ex­pected to lead B’s

Cas­sidy leans on lead­ers dur­ing ‘unique sit­u­a­tion’

Sentinel & Enterprise - - SPORTS - By Steve Con­roy

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.

MATT STONE / BOSTON HER­ALD

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.

NANCY LANE / BOSTON HER­ALD

Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eo­valdi throws dur­ing an in­trasquad game at sum­mer camp at Fen­way Park on Tues­day.

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