Lucic, Bruins get into a spirited skate following disappointing scrimmage
The less-than-stellar results from Tuesday night’s Black and Gold scrimmage added more than a little emphasis and spirit to a Wednesday training camp session at Ristuccia Arena.
Bruins coach Claude Julien ran the 27 camp skaters through a fast-paced session that included full-length two-on-two drills and three-on-three battle drills down low around the net.
The losing members of the three-on-three drills then had to take a punitive end-to-end skate before waiting for their next turn in the drill, and that brought out the pride and emotion in some of the B’s skaters. Milan Lucic got so worked up after one round of three-on-three was over that he twice slammed his stick against the plexi-glass boards and then fired his twig into the bench in a fit of pique.
“Today was good. We did a lot of battle drills. We tried to create a screen and get those forward vs. defense drills where they’re trying to box us out when we’re trying to get to the net,” said Lucic. “There’s the famous three-on-three drill, which is good because it’s very competitive when the pride kicks in.
“I think the only thing we can control right now is the effort and how hard we can work, and hopefully all of that is there. I think this group has had a lot of pride over the last two or three years and we’re going to need that going into Saturday.”
For Julien, the scrimmage gave him an idea of where each individual player sits with the regular season set to begin on Saturday night. It also gives the coaching staff the proper hammer and cudgel needed to start seriously working the Bruins skaters for the next few days.
They won’t get another chance to push the Bruins players until the month of February as they embark on seven scheduled games in the 13 days of January on the schedule. The Black and Gold start February by playing two scheduled games in the first eight days before things pick up a little bit, and there won’t be much room for practice at all in the busy, busy months of March and April.
So Julien has to weigh all of that with hoping to avoid the groin and hamstring injuries that are already cropping up in training camps all across the NHL. That’s no easy feat for the Bruins coaching staff, but it’s a balance they’re keenly aware of.
“When you get to this stage [of camp] it is pretty delicate, but there is risk and there is reward,” said Julien. “There is no 100 percent here, I guess, so you need to do what you think is right for the team. It may mean a couple of injuries, but you hope it doesn’t.
“But you’ve got to look at the big picture rather than the small picture. We have six days [of camp] to get ready for the league game and we need to put as much together as we can. We’ve taken the precaution of not having lengthy practices, but we’ve ramped up the intensity to make the most of the time that we’re on the ice. With the intensity and battle level in practice, I don’t mind having these kinds of numbers [of players] because you get quality and you get the rest that’s needed.”
There was some thought that the Bruins might make a round of camp cuts following Tuesday night’s scrimmage against Providence, but Julien indicated that no determinations have been made about Jamie Tardif, Ryan Spooner, Lane MacDermid, Matt Bartkowski and David Warsofsky or veteran camp invite Jay Pandolfo.
There seems to be no rush as long as Julien can continue dialing up the intensity for the few next few days before players are expected to look much more like themselves Saturday night against the New York Rangers.
Tags: nhl, Boston Bruins, Milan Lucic.