Winnipeg, MB - The B’s flew into Winnipeg today - the vast snow-covered tundra awaiting us as we descended into the Central Time Zone - and headed straight to the MTS IcePlex for an early afternoon practice.
Greeted by a packed house of fans - both donning the spoked-B and Jets’ gear - the Bruins took part in a high intensity practice, beginning with full-ice rushes and 2-on-1’s, along with 1-on-1 and 3-on-3 battle drills. The raised compete level was evident from the start of practice and continued right through to the end.
It says a lot about a team that can battle that hard within their own group - to see Tyler Seguin fighting for space against Dennis Seidenberg and Chris Bourque doing the same against 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara. Those battling drills hardly ever get cut out of practice and have been a staple of Coach Julien’s - as an on-looker, the drills are always fun to watch and view the intensity.
Twelve forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders hit the ice, with Milan Lucic the lone Bruin missing from practice.
“It’s personal reasons,” said Coach Julien following practice, on Lucic’s absence. “He’s gone back to Boston.”
“So it’s those things that seem to happen every once in a while. We’re all humans here, so there’s personal reasons that happen, so he’s just gone back to Boston.”
With Lucic not on the ice, Rich Peverley was in the white top line jersey, with David Krejci and Nathan Horton, while Dan Paille took Peverley’s spot on the third line with Chris Kelly and Chris Bourque. The Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin line remained intact. Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Jay Pandolfo all remained in the merlot.
The up-tempo practice may not be able to match exact game situations, but Brad Marchand and the B’s know that being able to compete hard one another will help them prepare for puck drop against the Jets Sunday night.
“Practice makes perfect and if you practice battling and competing and I guess working hard then that will transfer over in a game,” said the Bruins’ leading goal scorer. ‘If you practice just kind of floating around out there, you know that’s going to transfer over too.”
“So I think the harder you work and the more you compete then that’s how you’re going to play in a game.”
-Caryn Switaj ^CS