BOSTON, MA - The Bruins hit the ice at TD Garden on Wednesday morning before heading north of the border to face the Jets on Thursday (September 26) in Winnipeg and on Friday (September 27) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Besides Sunday's split-squad scrimmage, it marked the first time all B's were on the ice together during training camp.
"Absolutely it's a lot different, pretty much the whole camp we've playing with half the team so it's good to see everyone out there, be able to play with new guys and nice to have a couple more bodies on the ice, get a little more rest in because it's been a tough camp so far," said Reilly Smith following the roughly hour-long skate.
And having the group together for the first time, means more team time on the road.
"It’s fun, I’m excited to get on the plane with the guys and hangout all together and it’s always good bonding time when we’re out on the road, especially with this group of guys," smiled defenseman Torey Krug. "It’s such a brotherly atmosphere. It’s a lot of fun."
With only two more preseason games before final decisions have to be made for the 23-man opening night roster, players like Krug are eyeing one of those spots.
"Very comfortable but not comfortable to the point where I’m not understanding there’s a job to be had," said the blueliner, of where his mindset is at, about two weeks into training camp.
"I have to make sure I go out there every day and earn my spot. Nothing is going to be given to me or to anyone else here. You have to come everyday with the competition and really go to work and that’s what I try to do."
As the progression during camp continues, these final days before the home opener on October 3 against Tampa Bay won't only be a last look at players competing for spots.
"We always want to fine tune more things - make sure that you’re ready to go for the regular season," said Krug. "Just sharpen up on those skills and you know, system-wise we’ve got to make sure we’re ready to go and we’re all in understanding of what our roles are, what our jobs are from the defensive zone on out.
"There’s definitely a lot of fine-tuning to be had."
"It’s a little bit of both, to be honest with you," said Julien, on which he'd be focusing on more, the evaluation of players or sharpening his team's game.
I want to be as close as I can to my lineup on Friday - Claude Julien
"We’re trying to fine tune our game but at the same time we have to continue to evaluate those last few players that we’re looking at right now and [Thursday's] game will mean a lot. Again, I want to be as close as I can to my lineup on Friday but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen."
"We may have to look at some guys again in order to make that final decision so that could be a possibility too, but we’ll try and get as close as we can to it."
For those young players fighting for spots and veterans alike, there's much to take away from camp, even if they're anxious for the season to get underway.
"There's a lot of kids here fighting for jobs and us as veterans have to be just as prepared and just as professional in the way we act and play on the ice, too," said Gregory Campbell, who is also using the time to re-acclimate himself to the ice following his return from injury.
"So there's a lot of things to shake our during the course of these two weeks."
"It is long, and there's long hours and long days that we put in, but preparation is what makes success happen, so that's what we're trying to accomplish."
Practice Lines 9/25
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Loui Eriksson
Carl Söderberg-Chris Kelly-Reilly Smith
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Matt Fraser-Matt Lindblad-Nick Johnson
Ryan Spooner-Jordan Caron
D: Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid, Johnny Boychuk, Matt Bartkowski, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller
G: Tuukka Rask, Niklas Svedberg, Chad Johnson