Tonight (Thursday) is the night that the Bruins to start to wash away those awful memories of their Game Seven loss to the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Finals. That memory, which has lingered in the head of many Bruins players over the Summer, will likely come again to the forefront as they take on the Dallas Stars (8:30pm). Boston will see a pair of former Bruins in Dallas, Tyler Seguin and goaltender Anton Khudobin. The Stars had a pair of free agent signings during the Summer, which should bolster their lineup, the former San Jose Sharks Joe Pavelski and Cory Perry from Anaheim, both players with lots of experience and impressive NHL stats.
Following Dallas’ home opener, the Bruins will continue their four-game road trip with stops in Arizona to face the Coyotes at 9:00pm, on Saturday, the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday at 10:00pm, and end their trip with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday at 9:00pm, before returning to the TD Garden and their home opener on Saturday, October 12 at 7:00pm versus New Jersey Devils. At Tuesday’s Bruins Media Day, the mood was mellow as the Boston management team of Bruins Chairman Jeremy Jacobs, CEO of Delaware North’s Boston Holdings Charlie Jacobs, President Cam Neely, General Manager Don Sweeney, and Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, faced the questions of the media.
Much emphasis was placed on both the readiness of the team coming off a short off-season, as well as the $109 million dollar renovations currently underway at TD Garden. Team-wise, Sweeney was able to put a pleasant spin on the injury report as he reinforced his logical statement: “We’d like to be 100-percent healthy,” before the downward spiral of injury information – “Joakim Nordstrom is not going to start with us – an injury we’ve been looking at – Krech (David Krejci) is still working his way back, (very determined) we started with no (Kevan) Miller and (John) Moore, and then he got hurt, so that’s one of the primary concerns in the organization, where we’re going to be health wise.” Sweeney also noted the team’s need for depth, especially with the possibility of the loss of Krejci for any length of time, the much needed multiple moving parts available would include Par Lindholm, Charlie Coyle, Jake DeBrusk and Sean Kuraly. Miller has started back on skates, but Moore is still a question mark, plus delayed starts for Andton Blidh and Joakim Nordstrom
Neely seconded that thought with “I think, from a depth perspective, we’re pretty solid. I really like the fact that when we’re on the road, Butch (Cassidy) can not worry as much about matchups based on what Kuraly can do when he plays against top lines. That line is pretty solid for us. I think it gives Butch a lot more flexibility because of the depth we have down the middle.” Sweeney also made it clear that player contract negotiations will not be aired in the media, his comments naturally directed at players as, Torey Krug, Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk…three key players that the team should try to sign to long-term deals. In talking about a possible team hangover following their Stanley Cup Final loss, Sweeney dismissed the thought with, “I thought we were a successful team last year, and we have a motivated group. We do feel like our depth, and organizationally as we continue, to get stronger, so we feel like we have that internal competition.” Coach Cassidy’s thoughts were summed up with, “We try to manage our training camp. We started with that and see where it goes from there, because things change quickly. So, for us, it’s about how we manage minutes of our players who have been through a lot of these runs.”
Charlie Jacobs painted a pretty picture in describing the changes taking place at the TD Garden renovations with, “It is vastly different. We took a tour this morning to gauge where we’re going to be in terms of opening day on the 12th. There’s a lot of work to still be done, but it is transformational. Our aspirations when we began the project was to have the best in-arena experience in North America for our eventgoers, and hopefully the feedback will reflect that when we achieve it.” Regarding the culture of the team in Boston, he replied: “Walking through Warrior today, and this was after we just toured the TD Garden and all of those renovations, and I looked at Cam [Neely], and I said, ‘Do you remember the days we were in Wilmington and what it was like there on media day?’ It is a total game changer when you think about the Boston Bruins and what it is like to come play for us, in terms of the environment, the collaboration we have with the different subsidiaries that are operating here under Delaware North, including the Bruins. I think this is a destination. I like to think this is a destination for a lot of our players, and the pride of the jersey that they have in front.”
Drop the puck, pick up the motivation, and let the games begin!