Bedford, MA - After a day off yesterday, the B’s were back to work today in Wilmington at Ristuccia Arena - and all were in attendance, with no lines out of the ordinary and all seven defensemen and two goaltenders on the ice. Jay Pandolfo, recently signed to a one-year, two-way contract extension, joined the Merlot Line.
The Bruins are heading back to Buffalo for the second time this week, after Sunday’s 3-1 win over the Sabres, and coming off their wild, 4-3 shootout loss to the Rangers at TD Garden Tuesday.
The come-from-behind effort still resonated in the group as they head on the road, but know that there is still much room to grow.
“You can be happy, not satisfied,” Coach Julien said following practice, before adding “there’s always room for improvement.”
The B’s are facing their first multi-game road trip of the season, with Buffalo Friday and Winnipeg on Sunday, before returning home and heading right back on the road, with a swing through Florida.
“It’s not going to be an easy road trip for all the obvious reasons. Buffalo’s certainly going to want to bounce back from their loss to us less than a week ago,” said Coach Julien, on the upcoming trip. “Winnipeg, as I mentioned, the players have yet to win a game in that rink yet. So, certainly, it’s going to be a good challenge for us.”
While the Bruins do not have to prove their already established identity of coming up big in games with a physical, hard-to-play-against approach, Coach Julien does think that they need to find the consistency to sustain that mentality.
“You’ve got to make sure you frustrate other teams by giving them the least amount of chances, the least amount of times that they can spend with the puck,” he said.
“At the same time, you want to be physical and when it’s time to be physical you don’t want guys running out of position just to throw a check to show that you’re a tough team. You want to be smart.”
“I think it’s worked out well in the past. If the game does get real physical, I think we’re very capable of handling ourselves.”
Captain Zdeno Chara also preached a “never satisfied” mindset, as he spoke to media from his locker stall, before jetting off to catch the team’s flight.
“There’s always something to prove,” said the Captain. “Every game is a big game. We’re playing good teams, no matter where you are, where you’re playing. It’s always a challenge to win hockey games.”
And the road trip provides the opportunity for an already close-knit team to spend even more time with each other.
“We know each other pretty well, but we still have some new guys that we know from other teams or new guys overall coming in,” said Chara. “No matter what, you always have some time for bonding. It’s always a big part of this team.”
“There’s less distractions on the road, actually,” Shawn Thornton said postpractice, before adding with a laugh, “I don’t have my dogs kicking me in the bed… It’s a lot easier on the road.”
“The last five years I’ve been here, we’ve been a pretty good road team,” No. 22 added. “So, I’m looking forward to it. I like hanging around the guys, most of our group likes that. It’ll be a good test, the next five games.”
Being away from home also provides a chance of the B’s to prove themselves in front of opposing crowds.
“The beginning of the season’s all about forming and identity as a team. I think every guy in this league is probably saying the same thing to their team,” said Tyler Seguin. “With a lot of games on the road here coming up pretty much the next month, we’ve got to show what we’ve got.”
“I think if you look at our record, we’ve been a hard team to play against. I think we definitely showed that at home, we want to do the same thing on the road.”
-Caryn Switaj ^CS