ETOBICOKE, Ont. — Fresh from their 7-6 shootout loss Saturday night in Buffalo, the Bruins conducted a spirited 45-minute workout here in preparation of Monday night’s matchup with the Leafs at Toronto’s ACC.
The emphasis of the practice was the transition game, forcing pucks quicker up the ice and moving with speed through the neutral zone. Nothing new, really, but a reminder from the coaching staff to be assertive, not dawdle with the biscuit.
”Just get our legs moving again,” noted winger Shawn Thornton.
”A lot of skating and getting our defensemen involved,” said Milan Lucic. ”We got some goals (a total of four) from our defensemen in Buffalo and that was good.”
No doubting Thomas
All but a certainty that Tim Thomas will get the start in net against the Leafs. Coach Claude Julien, who hooked Tuukka Rask after he gave up three goals in the first period in Buffalo, re-emphasized that Rask will work with goalie coach Bob Essensa when the club returns to Boston following the game with the Leafs.
”I’d say it’s more confidence now…head stuff,” said Julien, asked if he felt Rask’s struggles were rooted in mechanics or confidence. ”Mechanically, he’s a sound goaltender…he needs to build his confidence back up.”
A classic chicken-and-egg: player needs to gain confidence, but coach reluctant to stick with him. All the harder for goalies to work their way out of it, of course, unlike being one of 12 forwards or six defensemen. Julien feels Michael Ryder is better this year because the winger is playing with confidence. Ryder showed little confidence and less production last season, but his assigned ice time was rarely adjusted.
”We had to settle the game down,” said Julien, explaining why he hooked Rask, who was his chosen starter last season. ”With Tim in there [after the first period], we thought that would settle it.”
Campbell back on feet Greg Campbell, sidelined the last two games with a stomach bug, made it all the way through practice, a sign that he is trending toward the positive. Julien said the plucky pivot is probably 50-50 to play against the Leafs.
”Not sure if I’ve lost weight, but I’ve only managed to have two meals in the last 3 1/2 days,” said Campbell. ”My suit felt a little baggy when I put it on today. We’ll see how things go tomorrow. For now I’ve got to rest, get fluids in me, rehydrate.”
Lettuce entertain you Prior to boarding the bus for the 15-minute jaunt back to the club’s downtown hotel, the boys devoured a delivery of Subway subs, much to the envy of the ever-starved press corps. No sign of Sub pitchman Jared. One report had him spotted at a Tim Horton’s drive-throughdow, loading up on a box of honey-dipped Timbits and swilling Timmy Ho’s coffee spiked with four sugars. Sweet.