The Bruins host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night at TD Garden in the teams’ first meeting of the season. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).
Head Coach Claude Julien was unsure of Beleskey’s status for the game.
“Don’t know — we’ll see,” said Julien. “He’s out there skating this morning. Obviously he was a little under the weather yesterday so we’ll see how he is after the skate and make a decision.”
“Yeah, that’s obviously Claude’s decision,” said Beleskey. “I feel better today, so I’ll let him know and see what happens.”
Though Beleskey still sounded like he wasn’t 100 percent, it would take much more to keep him away from ice.
“Just do the same routine[ today]. Same routine as every game day,” Beleskey smiled. “Get some rest, get some fluids, and go from there.”
Well Wishes for Tortorella
When the Blue Jackets came Boston, they made their way without Head Coach John Tortorella. The bench boss suffered two fractured ribs during the team’s practice on Friday as the result of a collision with forward Rene Bourque.
“He’s hurtin’,” said Columbus Associate Coach Craig Hartsburg, who will be serving in Tortorella’s role in the interim. “I talked to him briefly. He didn’t have much sleep and really basically said he can’t move. It’s a tough thing for him, but his health is the most important thing and we’ll get him healthy and get him back.”
The widely known notion about Tortorella remains true in this situation: he’s tough.
“Hopefully he’s feeling better,” said Julien. “You don’t like to see that happen. He’s a tough guy, I’m sure he’ll be able to be back at it before you know it.”
The Bruins bench boss considered himself lucky that something similar hasn’t happened to him — yet. He smiled and knocked on the wood of the table he was sitting at during his pregame press conference.
“That’s my answer right there,” said Julien. “There are always close calls…those things happen, you know. When you’re on the ice every day and you know when you’re practicing and those kinds of things happen. And you talk about close calls I’ve had guys run into me and I’ve had to hang onto the boards or you know guys slipping and coming right at your feet. But I’ve never had, like I said, knock on wood I’ve never been injured the way Torts was yesterday.”
Bruins Look to Rebound
The men in Black & Gold are looking to rebound from their 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday at TD Garden. In that game, they had poor puck management and weren’t able to be aggressive on the forecheck throughout the entire game.
Quicker breakouts and puck movement will have the Bruins in a different groove on Saturday, if they can sustain it for 60 minutes.
“You’re not going to have everything going your way every single game,” said Landon Ferraro. “We need to make sure that we improve on it and we make sure that whatever happens tonight, whether it’s going our way right away or not, we’ve got to come out with a win.”
The Bruins have to build up their home record, which is currently at 10-12-2 on the season.
“I think last game we got away from our game plan, kind of played lackadaisical and it showed,” said Beleskey. “Our intensity needs to be higher and I’m sure we’ll be ready tonight.”
The Blue Jackets may be last in the League, but that doesn’t mean they should be taken lightly.
“We just have look at our home record — that should tell us that we need to be at our best here,” said Julien. “Struggles or whatever they want to call it, I still see a team that plays hard, you know, and they’ve had a lot of things happen to them this year. It’s been a tough year for them, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re not as bad as their record and I know that.”
Catching Up with Campbell
Gregory Campbell’s five seasons in Black & Gold were memorable — for both him and the fans — beginning with his first season in 2010-11 with the run to the Stanley Cup.
When Campbell wasn’t re-signed by Boston at the end of last season, he signed with Columbus as an unrestricted free agent. He’s been one of only two players to suit up in all 48 of the Blue Jackets’ games so far this season.
Saturday night’s tilt will be his first game back in Boston since leaving.
“It’s a different feeling. I really enjoyed playing here for five years and I fell in love with the city and was really proud to be a Bruin, and to wear the jersey,” Campbell said pregame. “I had a lot of good times here and it will always be really great memories here.”
He’s not expecting much of a reception (though he likely could still get one).
“I’m just happy to be back here and it’s really fun. I mean, this building’s great to play in and there’s a lot of good memories I have coming back here, so I’m grateful to be back, for sure,” he said.
Campbell had a team dinner with the Blue Jackets on Friday, but was still able to catch up with some of his buddies on the B’s side.
“There’s no secret that we had a pretty close group here for a number of years,” he smiled. “I think that’s one of the special things about hockey is that you get to keep in touch with guys. I will for the rest of my life, so those guys put a smile on my face when I see them every time and its always good conversation.”
“It did everything for my career, coming to this organization. I was really proud to be a part of it.”
Projected Lineup vs. Columbus 1/23
As has become customary this season, the Bruins held an optional pregame skate on Saturday morning, so the best indication for lines and defense pairs will come during warmups at 6:30 p.m. ET (stay tuned to @NHLBruins on Twitter).
The Bruins’ lineup will hinge on Beleskey’s availability. Saturday night will mark Krejci’s second game back from injury. Joonas Kemppainen was scratched Thursday against Vancouver, and could be a scratch again with Boston having 14 healthy forwards.
This was the Bruins’ lineup on Thursday at the start of their game vs. Vancouver:
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Brett Connolly
Loui Eriksson — David Krejci — David Pastrnak
Matt Beleskey — Ryan Spooner — Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinald — Max Talbot — Landon Ferraro
Zdeno Chara — Zach Trotman
Joe Morrow — Dennis Seidenberg
Torey Krug — Kevan MillerStarting Goalie:
Tuukka Rask // Backup:
Jonas Gustavsson Scratches:
Colin Miller, Tyler Randell, Joonas Kemppainen