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Monday's Rundown: Krug, Smith Joining Camp Means More Decisions for Bruins

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON - At a time when most teams are significantly cutting down their training camp rosters, the Bruins received two new additions to practice on Monday morning at TD Garden: Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.

The pair of Bruins were signed to one-year deals and reported to camp, where their teammates have been on the ice for the past 10 days.

They don't have much time to ease in, with the season opener coming up on October 8.

Three preseason games remain on the Bruins' schedule, but Krug and Smith won't be suiting up right away in Tuesday night's game against the New York Islanders at the Garden. That leaves two games on Friday, in Bridgeport, Conn. against the Islanders, and on Saturday at home against the Red Wings.

They not only need to get their legs into game shape; they'll need to adjust to the tweaks Head Coach Claude Julien and his staff made to the systems - most notably, a quicker neutral zone transition that should fit right into Krug's train of thought.

Monday's practice was one of the toughest since the first few days of training camp conditioning. The Bruins had a scrimmage and then four games in five days last week, with three of those matchups on the road. While not every player suited up in every game, the travel takes its toll.

After being narrowed down to just one group on Sunday with more cuts, Monday provided an opportunity for the coaches to really put the players through their paces. It was perfect timing for Krug and Smith to get in a good sweat, and re-adjust to practicing with NHLers - other from themselves.

"You're not on the ice with NHL guys every day where I was [in Connecticut]," said Krug. "Me and Smitty, we're going to work our hardest to get back where we were, and it shouldn't take long I don't think. We've been skating back there every day, so it's not like we're off the ice or anything. We worked hard, so we're just happy to be back."

Brad Marchand was also happy to have his linemate back, though for Monday's skate, Smith just slotted into Ville Leino's spot on a line with Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak (Leino was released from his tryout agreement).

"That a boy, Smitty!" Marchand shouted, as Smith sniped in a shot during drills.

Smith didn't look too off-pace with his quickness and his timing was on point. He and Pastnrak connected on a slick give-and-go passing play, with Smith feeding Pastrnak at the hashmarks for a score top corner.

Tryout Simon Gagne continued skating with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron during practice, though Smith will likely slot back into place soon, once he gets up to speed.

"I got news late last night that they were coming back, so they've played a year together, they don't look like guys that would have to find chemistry in this case," said Julien, when asked by a reporter if he'd like to get the trio back together soon. "So I'm not so worried about that, as I am about getting them up to game speed with everyone else."

"Right now, they're behind. No matter how good of shape you are [in], those two weeks that they lost are two weeks that they have to try and regain somehow."

Smith and Krug did look strong, conditioning-wise, but 10 days missed are 10 days missed, so we'll keep watch as the pair assimilate themselves back into the group.

Krug was his usual upbeat self during practice, bantering with Johnny Boychuk, listening astutely to Assistant Coach Doug Houda's instructions and introducing himself to new assistant Joe Sacco.

With Krug and Smith now officially back in the mix, the focus for General Manager Peter Chiarelli, Julien and the rest of the Bruins' brass is on icing their 23-man roster for the start of the season.

"You know, there’s still housekeeping to do from a numbers perspective," said Chiarelli. "This is a business and you’ve got to put a roster in place and you have to put a winning roster in place and that’s still a challenge that we have and we always have and it will remain a challenge."

Monday's practice lineup below shows 18 forwards, 10 defensemen and four goalies. With Chris Breen released from Boston's camp and assigned to the Providence Bruins' training camp after Monday's practice, that cuts down the group of blueliners to nine.

"Well, we have too many players, right? So we're going to have to cut some players no matter what," said Julien. "So, changing our minds? Absolutely. There's still guys who are in the mix and still guys that have to show that they belong and they deserve a spot, and that's what those next three preseason games are all about."

Who will stick with the big club?

"Every day is a new challenge and every day we're changing our minds," said Julien. "So we just added two faces to the mix here and it just means that we have more decisions to make in quicker fashion."

Practice Lineup for 9/29

White Jerseys: Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Loui Eriksson
Gold: Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Simon Gagne
Gray: Chris Kelly - Soderberg - Fraser
Green: Daniel Paille - Cunningham - Caron
Merlot: Reilly Smith - Ryan Spooner - David Pastrnak
Red: Justin Florek - Alexander Khokhlachev - Bobby Robins

Defensemen: Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller, David Warsofsky, Chris Breen

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Niklas Svedberg, Malcolm Subban, Jeremy Smith
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