BostonBruins.com - The first two preseason games have come and gone, and neither Patrice Bergeron nor Gregory Campbell traveled with their respective training camp groups to play in the action against Montreal and Washington.
For Campbell, though, his first game action since breaking his right leg in the Eastern Conference Finals on June 5, could come as soon as Thursday night (Sept. 18), as the Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings in their first home preseason game of 2013-14 at TD Garden.
The lineup has not yet been announced, but we do know there will be at least eight veterans in the lineup, per NHL rules for preseason games, and Julien said there could be 10 in his lineup on Thursday. Though, it will be a mostly younger lineup, as Julien and the B's brass will be again be using the match-up as an evaluation tool.
"We’ve talked; he’s coming along well," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told media following Wednesday's practices, of Campbell, who has not shied away from getting in the heat of battling drills during camp.
"I’ve said it to you guys before; he and Bergy will both be playing preseason games. There’s a chance that Gregory will play tomorrow [Thursday]; there is a chance. That decision will be, when I say made, it’s just that we have to make sure that he is ready and I always double check with the medical staff and it’s a preseason game so if he’s going to go in it’s because he’s ready to go."
If Campbell does get the call for game action from Julien, in his mind, he's nearly at that point of readiness (if not already).
The centerman can now no longer feel the screws and plate that were inserted near his right ankle after the break (there's a scar that runs about five inches from his ankle up his shin), with padding and a new set of skates, so pain and discomfort aren't the issues.
"It's just getting the strength back in that leg and those muscles," Campbell told reporters following Wednesday's skate. "Injuries are injuries. I think sometimes you just have to go forward and kind of turn the page."
It's time for me now just to move forward and play. - Gregory Campbell
"I think as I play, I'll get more comfortable, even mentally. The mental challenge is a big one too, just kind of overcoming that and feeling good enough to play."
To help get back into his "battling" comfort level, Campbell and Bergeron have been going at it, testing each other with 1-on-1 battling. It also helps that they're highly competitive and willing to push themselves and each other.
"So it's time for me now just to move forward and play."
As for Bergeron, Julien said he will probably not play against Detroit at TD Garden. Not because he's necessarily not ready to go; just that the team is still looking to evaluate other players.
"But I think for him, he needs a little bit more time. I think he’s close. If not tomorrow [Thursday], which I doubt there’s a chance, maybe the next game in Detroit he could be ready starting then."
"Those aren’t carved in stone, those are things that I anticipate; it could change."