BOSTON - Late July is typically a mellow time of the year for the Black & Gold, but as schedules shift and the organization adjusts to new protocol, summer is anything but quiet at Warrior Ice Arena. Training camp has ramped up into full swing and players are gearing up for their adventure over the border. President Cam Neely addressed the media on Wednesday morning, providing insight on how the team is preparing for what lies ahead.
Neely was feeling particularly confident in the Bruins' core leaders Wednesday, making similar statemements as General Manager Don Sweeney did, who spoke with media earlier this week. The president spoke highly of the team's leadership dynamic when he stated, "Seeing that leadership group, the way they work, how hard they work, how they prepare - it's hard not to follow."
Especially with the addition of several young Providence players to the B's traveling playoff roster, there is no better time than now to build that strong foundation. Neely continued his positive remarks by saying, "Aside from what they do on the ice, it's also how they try to educate the younger players and what the expectations should be around here. I think our guys really understand what it's like."
When asked about the club's outlook ahead of their journey up north, Neely commented on the level of understanding and teamwork that will be necessary for finding success.
"I think every team is starting in the same boat. Our guys are certainly understanding of what's at stake here and what the possibilities are, but it's certainly going to be a challenging few months," said Neely. "We'll see what happens when we get to Toronto with the lineup. Right now, as everyone has seen, has been a little bit challenging for the coaching staff to put the lines together the way they want. Hopefully when we get to Toronto we'll be able to do that. If we're not, some guys are going to have to step up that I'm sure will relish the opportunities."
Despite some delays during the start of camp, Neely remained confident that the bumps in the road would smooth out in the next few weeks.
"When we had the date for when camp was starting and knew that some players may need to quarantine when they get here, you hope that they would get here a little earlier," Cam said with a smile on his face. "But we didn't really have much say in that. That was really left up to the players...In the long run, I don't think it's really going to affect us once we get to Toronto, I think we'll be fine."
Pastrnak & Kase
As the clock ticks down on summer training, Neely provided his input on the possible return of David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase.
"It's hard to say right now, my best guess would be [in] Toronto, but there are hopes that before we leave, but my best guess would be Toronto."
Cam made it clear that their return to practice before Sunday's departure was still possible.
With all the unknown surrounding the Bruins' current lineup, it's clear that this playoff season could be a massive opportunity for some the younger talent on the squad. Neely highlighted Jake DeBrusk as one of the frowards who could be ready to step up.
"Jake [DeBrusk] has all kinds of skill, he certainly has the skating that you want in today's game," Cam said. "If he finds a little bit more consistency in his game, then he can certainly be one of those players that can break games open for you and help you win hockey games, like he's shown in the past...I think everyone would certainly love to be known as a playoff player and Jake has had some great moments in the playoffs, but I think this particular playoffs will be a good test for Jake."
Video: Neely addresses media on Wednesday morning