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Bruins Begin Their Preparations

Boston gets back on the ice for first practice ahead of Stanley Cup Final

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - After two days off following their Eastern Conference championship, the Bruins got back to work on Sunday morning at Warrior Ice Arena with their first practice ahead of the Stanley Cup Final.

Boston hit the ice for nearly an hour and will be back at it on Monday for another practice, before another likely day off on Tuesday.

"They are a group that likes to work, so I think they were happy to get back out there," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "We have a plan, how we're gonna go through the week, balancing practice with days off. We are gonna meet with the veteran guys that have been through it, see how that jives."

With eight days until the start of the Cup Final, Cassidy indicated that some kind of scrimmage could be on the horizon.

"We've talked about scrimmaging. Will we do it at night, prepare like a game? Bring them in in the morning," said Cassidy. "It's inevitable that you're gonna have some rust. The rest is a positive part of it. I think we'll get after it quick when we do get after it."

Video: DeBrusk to rely on veterans for long layoff

David Krejci was the lone player not to skate on Sunday, sitting out the full session for a maintenance day. Zdeno Chara and Steven Kampfer, both battling undisclosed ailments, skated before practice with skating and skills coach Kim Brandvold, but did not join the group.

"[Krejci] should be back [on Monday]," said Cassidy. "Zee and Kampfer skated before practice, so we'll see if they'll get integrated tomorrow. We've kind of set it up, I don't believe we're gonna skate Tuesday. If Zee doesn't we'll look at Wednesday.

"With him we don't want to push it. We know he's workhorse, he's gonna want to get back out there with the group as much as possible. But that's the update…I suspect they'll all be with us by Wednesday at the latest."

In Good Spirits

Chris Wagner was at Warrior Ice Arena on Sunday morning, taking in practice as a spectator. The winger was injured after blocking a shot with his right arm during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final and is unlikely to be ready for the Stanley Cup Final.

"I saw him this morning, he's in good spirits…clearly he's gonna be out for a while," said Cassidy. "I don't know if he's gonna be available to us. As we get closer, I tend to pay more attention to it. He's certainly not gonna practice tomorrow or the next day.

"Hopefully we'll have a better update as we go. He's in good spirits. Obviously it sucks for him, too, but he played and probably feels - and he should - that he's been a contributor to this run because he's been in the games."

Cassidy, meanwhile, said he "feels terrible" for Kevan Miller, who had a setback in his recovery from a lower-body injury and is also unlikely to return for the Cup Final. Miller played just 39 regular-season games because of hand, larynx, and upper-body injuries.

"He's had a tough year…it is part of the - I hate to use that expression - part of the business, but it is, guys getting hurt," said Cassidy. "He's a great teammate, he's here, but when you're not playing you feel like you're on the outside a little bit. He's been a real good player for us for years."

Video: Cassidy preparing for long break, updates injuries

Coming Together

On Sunday, several of the Bruins pointed to this year's Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium as one of the moments that spurred them on down the stretch. The thrilling 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on New Year's Day - with Sean Kuraly notching the winner midway through the third - was certainly a bonding opportunity, highlighted by the team's Peaky Blinders-themed attire.

"That whole Peaky Blinders theme really brought the guys together…the game itself, we seemed to take off from there," said Cassidy.

Torey Krug was one of the players behind the vintage suits, which spawned from the team's Halloween party.

"Something clicked and just talking to a couple guys, thought it would be a really fun idea...I thought it looked sharp," said Krug. "There's a lot of things along the way that bring you together as a group and I think doing that and the way we won that game is definitely a step in the right direction.

"Definitely just one of the many things that have happened over the year that has brought us together as a group. We were already a tight group to begin with. It was a lot of fun."

Video: Backes looking forward to first trip to finals

Stay Out of His Way

Like a pitcher in the midst of a no-hitter, the Bruins are steering clear of Tuukka Rask. Boston's ace netminder has won six straight games, pacing the Black & Gold to the Stanley Cup Final with a historic run between the pipes.

And nobody wants to mess it up.

"I don't even talk to the guy right now," said Krug. "I'll try to ignore him. I'm sure he's trying to ignore me. I would say it's a common theme in this locker room. I think since Day 1 of the playoffs he's been in a routine, he's had that look in his eye.

"I think most guys fall in the same category, just letting him do his thing, kind of tip-toeing around him, stay out of the way of his routine."

Baby Coming

Krug and his wife, Mel, are expecting their first child about a week after a potential Game 7 on June 12. It could be quite a run for the Krug family over the next month.

"Could make for a great week in my life," said Krug. "Either way it will be pretty special."

Video: Krug talks long break, team chemistry

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