By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell, Globe Staff
WILMINGTON -- After their largely sloppy exhibition game against Providence on Tuesday night at TD Garden, the Bruins got back to work late Wednesday morning at Ristuccia Arena.
The practice was intense and energetic, and coach Claude Julien said it was designed to help players take the next step as the team prepares to open the season Saturday against the New York Rangers.
"It’s part of the plan moving ahead,’’ said Julien. "We ramp it up a little bit, guys are getting in better shape, so a little bit more on the battle side. It’s all part of hopefully preparing for Saturday.’’
One of the issues facing the coaching staff is weighing how hard to push the team in a shortened training camp without risking a plethora of groin pulls, hip flexor strains, and the like.
"When you get to this stage, it is pretty delicate,’’ said Julien. "But there is a risk and reward, and there’s no 100 percenters, I guess. You’ve got to do what you think is right for the team, and that may mean a couple of injuries. You hope it’s not but you have to look at the big picture vs. the small picture. We have six days here to get ready for the first league game and we’ve got to put together as much as we can and we’ve taken the precautions of not having lengthy practices, but at the same time we ramp up the intensity and try to make the most of the time we are out on the ice.’’
When asked about roster cuts, Julien said a timetable has yet to be determined.
"It’s going to be a decision we’ll make here with management and decide how long, whether it’s Friday, whether we do it Saturday morning or tomorrow. We haven’t made that decision yet," he said. "With the intensity and battles and everything else that we have in practice, I don’t mind this kind of number because you get quality and at the same time you also get the rest that you need between reps.’’
One of the objectives going into Tuesday’s scrimmage was for the players to get a gauge of where they were in terms of their individual games.
"Everybody’s in a different boat here,’’ said Julien. "Some guys have been playing, some haven’t. I told the guys, 'Make sure you understand by the end of the game what you felt is needed.’ For some guys, it was their hands. They didn’t quite have their hands. For some other guys, it was certainly a little bit more conditioning. Other guys, it might have been timing, so there was a lot that could be done individually. As a team, it wasn’t a great game but the one thing I know is in the second period, we were better than the first. The third period, we fell back three goals but we got ourselves right back in the game.’’