BostonBruins.com — The Providence Bruins didn't get off to the start they'd hoped for as they dropped the puck on the 2012-13 AHL season. So, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy put his young hockey team through its paces as the P-Bruins prepared for this weekend's return matchup with the Monarchs (Friday night, 7:00 p.m., Manchester, NH) and Saturday's tilt with the Falcons (Saturday, 7:00, Springfield, MA).
Asked what his club focused on this week, after falling to Manchester 3-1 in last Friday's season opener at the Dunkin' Donuts Center and 4-2 to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in Connecticut's Webster Bank Arena, Cassidy admitted, "Well, a little bit of everything.
"We’ve got to be hard on the puck, and strong on it, and support it, and not give it away without a fight," said the P-Bruins second-year bench boss. "You’re never going to be able to have the puck the whole game, nobody does, but we made some soft plays last weekend, some hope plays that we’re trying to get out of our game, and be a little more determined at it.
"We'll see how that works out for us," continued Cassidy. "We were better at it on Saturday [versus Bridgeport].
"We didn’t finish as well, but at least we were hard on the puck."
The P-Bruins were worked hard in practice, as well, as the Boston coaching staff (including Assistant Coaches Doug Houda, Doug Jarvis and Geoff Ward) lent some expertise in Providence as Rhode Island's Black & Gold paid specific attention to their special teams during some intense workouts.
"Our entries, we’ve got to get on the same page, and some in-zone stuff," said Cassidy, who was pleased to have Houda and Co. on hand. "Having Geoff Ward here contributing will help us, with his ideas. Doug Jarvis was here earlier this week contributing on the penalty kill.
"So our special teams, we’re trying to firm those up, like everybody early in the year, we’ve got to get our units to develop some chemistry and get on the same page.
"We’ll be fine," he added.
Providence hopes that turnaround will be quick, and looks to a wealth of experienced leadership in the P-Bruins locker room to stem the tide as the youthful group continues to get acclimated to the pros.
"Obviously, [Trent Whitfield] is our captain, so he’s the main guy we’re looking towards," said veteran forward Christian Hanson. "But we’ve got a lot of older guys who’ve got some experience.
"Garnet Exelby has over 400 career NHL games, so he knows what it’s like to play in the NHL, and how hard you have to compete. Chris Bourque is another guy who’s played in the NHL and the American League for six years. Jamie Tardiff. So we have a good group of core guys."
Led by Cassidy and that veteran core, the P-Bruins are determined to even up their record as the AHL season hits high gear.
"I think as a team, we were not satisfied with the result we had this weekend," said first year pro Torey Krug. "But I know we came out to practice, business as usual, and we’ve just been kind of working on transitioning the puck up-and-down the ice, and we’re going to continue to get better."