“There’s uncertainty with every team,” said forward Brad Marchand following Monday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. “But I think when we are done with today and we can move forward knowing this is our group, and this is what we’re going to make our run with, then I think we’re going to be excited and relieved and just excited to get back to playing hockey and that being the only focus.”
There has been ample opportunity for distraction on this team leading up to this year’s deadline. Some players have found their names in trade rumors and projections daily, and regardless of how accustomed they are to tuning out the noise, there will be a sense of calm restored once the clock strikes 3 on Monday afternoon.
“Tomorrow, it’ll all be clear for everybody,” said Head Coach Claude Julien. “And it will be time to move on.”
At this point, most of the players on Boston’s roster are familiar with the deadline day drill and the emotions that come with it. It can be exhausting, but it’s part of the deal.
“In this business, it’s a given that each year, the team’s going to change,” Marchand said. “We’re all accustomed to that, and we just try to approach this day the same way as every other day.”
On that note, the Bruins were happy to get out on the ice on Monday rather than stay home and wait for news. The opportunity to practice provided a welcome distraction for this group.
“I think at first, it was a little bit of a different feeling [on Monday], but as we got into it, it was like any other practice,” Marchand said. “Your mind kind of is in the moment and not concerned about anything else, and that’s the great thing about hockey, is your mind can’t really be anywhere else than in the moment. You have to focus on what you’re doing.
“So it is great even to get out there for 30, 40 minutes and not have your mind on that, and I thought we had a good practice today.”
Neither Julien nor his players have been interested in guessing whether or not the Bruins will proceed as currently constituted or make changes. That remained the case on Monday. But if they do come out the other end of the deadline without any changes, this group has plenty of faith that it can get the job done in the final 19 games of 2015-16.
“I think we’re confident in our group, and we know that when we play good hockey, we’re capable of beating any team on any night,” Marchand said. “When we’re not on top of our game, then any team’s capable of beating us. It’s more about just playing the right way and playing the game, but I think we’re all confident in this group.”
As it stands, the Bruins are in the playoffs. They have been for the bulk of this season, and they got there with this group. There’s no reason, they said, they can’t continue to thrive as the regular season comes to an end.
“We’re ready for any scenario, here,” Julien said. “If there’s nothing that happens, we’ve managed to be competitive to this point; we’re going to keep trying to be even better, and if there’s some moves that are made and we’re better, for us, it’ll give us an even better chance here.”
Moving On from Tampa
The Bruins were disappointed in their effort following Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay, mostly because the loss, they felt, was self-inflicted.
As they prepare to host Calgary on Tuesday at TD Garden, they’re focused on cleaning up the miscues, particularly in their own end.
“[Sunday], 4-1 is a little bit off when you look at a breakaway from a defenseman stumbling in the zone,” Julien said. “Couple of self-inflicted [things] there, and a penalty shot. So you take those — 2-on-0 on a breakaway and a penalty shot, those kind of things — it could have been a much closer game than the score indicated. But it’s not to say we’re pleased with our game, but we keep working on it to make it better.”
As such, Monday’s practice was not only a much-needed distraction; it was a necessity. The Flames are young and offensively potent, and back in December, the Bruins got a good look at what happens when you let up — even for a second — against them.
“It’s definitely something that we have to be a little bit better at — getting on the forecheck and sustaining that pressure,” Marchand said. “That’s kind of what drives our whole game, is making sure we do have a good forecheck and we’re turning pucks over and controlling the play down low. With a team that’s as fast and skilled as Calgary, it’s something we’re going to have to put a lot of emphasis on, and hopefully we execute that well.”
Rinaldo Clears Waivers
On Sunday afternoon, Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that forward Zac Rinaldo had been placed on waivers, and at noon on Monday, he cleared.
He was not on the ice for Monday’s practice, and Julien had no update on his status, or that of Max Talbot, who was also not on the ice for Monday’s skate.
“I think some of those decisions will be made obviously later today, but there’s no decision as we speak right now,” Julien said. “That’s the GM’s job, to talk about transactions, assignments, whatever the case may be. But right now, I’ve got very little. They’re at the Garden, and I’m [in Wilmington].”
The Bruins announced on Monday morning that forward Tyler Randell had been recalled from Providence. Randell was assigned to the P-Bruins on a conditioning stint on Feb. 27 and skated in Monday’s practice.
Randell, in the midst of his first full NHL season, has skated in 25 games with Boston this year, registering five goals for five points with 47 penalty minutes.
Monday’s Practice Lineup
Gold Jerseys: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Brett Connolly
White Jerseys: Loui Eriksson, David Krejci, David Pastrnak
Gray Jerseys: Matt Beleskey, Ryan Spooner, Jimmy Hayes
Red Jerseys: Landon Ferraro, Joonas Kemppainen, Tyler Randell
Defensemen: Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, Joe Morrow, Dennis Seidenberg, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow
Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Jonas Gustavsson