Combined forces gives the Bruins a lift

Combined forces gives the Bruins a lift

BOSTON — They’re starting to actually look like the Bruins.

Torey Krug and Noel Acciari are full participants in practice. Patrice Bergeron has been on the ice in full gear, although not with his teammates. Head coach Bruce Cassidy is giving directions again.

The B’s, no longer two groups on two continents, can now start to get some real work done.

“I feel like it’s finally starting,” said Bergeron, his return from groin surgery complicated by back spasms, about the return of a large group of teammates who held training camp and played two preseason games in China.

“It was definitely different to have them away. I’m glad everyone’s back, and we can actually look forward.”

Some players from the China contingent, which arrived home early Thursday morning, showed up at Warrior Ice Arena by Friday, but none went on the ice and only a few — none of them veterans — will play in Saturday’s preseason game at Detroit (7 p.m., no local TV or radio). They’ll all resume practice again this weekend, though, and by the morning after Monday’s exhibition at Philadelphia, the B’s could be reduced to a single group that has about a week (and two home preseason games) to prepare for their Oct. 3 opener against the defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals in Washington, D.C.

Cassidy, confused body clock notwithstanding (“I feel a little goofy, to be honest with you,” he said), will be back on the bench on Saturday to get a firsthand look at players who trained back in Boston, and then start diving a little deeper into setting a roster for the start of 2018-19.

“I think getting our whole group together will get us re-energized,” the coach said. “Sometimes [training camp] drags on at the end, but because we haven’t been together as a group, it might give us a little juice.”

Cassidy won’t have every player at his disposal, though — at least, not right away.

Krug (broken ankle) and Acciari (sports hernia surgery) have participated in two full-contact practices, but won’t play on Saturday. Winger Anders Bjork (shoulder surgery) has practiced throughout the week but isn’t cleared for contact, and center Sean Kuraly, who sustained a lower body injury in Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Caps (he scored a last-minute empty net goal), didn’t skate for a second straight day on Friday. Cassidy won’t see them, or rookie Jakub Lauko (two games, two goals), who was hurt in a collision with Acciari on Thursday, against the Red Wings.

And then there’s Bergeron, whose limited training camp turned into no training camp when back spasms cropped up in the days before practices began. He got onto the ice briefly on Wednesday, took Thursday off, and put in about 15 minutes with skating instructor Kim Brandvold on Friday.

“The goal is to be ready for Game 1,” Bergeron said. “Hopefully I get an exhibition game in there at the end, but we’re not going to push for it. We’re going to see how it goes. We’ll try not to jump any steps.”

Bergeron has missed the start of the last two seasons, an ankle injury costing him three games at the start of 2016-17 and a lower body problem (believed to be the groin issue that ultimately required offseason surgery) forcing him out of last year’s first five games.

Bergeron doesn’t want to miss his third straight season opener, but he also doesn’t want to be nagged by a problem throughout the season.

“Time is on our side,” he said. “That’s not always the case during the season.

“We do have some time in front of us that we’re going to use wisely, and hopefully be ready for Oct. 3 to start the season on the right foot.”

Published at Sat, 22 Sep 2018 01:45:50 +0000