Next stop: The Garden.
Following a nearly two-hour spirited Saturday morning skate at Warrior Arena, the Bruins packed their oversized equipment bags for the short ride to Causeway Street, where they’ll practice Monday and open the season Wednesday.
The roster came into focus a little more as the club waived forwards Jesper Boqvist and Oskar Steen and defenseman Jakub Zboril.
Jim Montgomery acknowledged how tough the conversations can be when cuts commence.
“It is when you’re delivering news that isn’t what they’re hoping to hear. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in or what the situation calls for,” said the coach. “Same thing as when I tell my kids I’m taking your phones away. They don’t want that.”
It’s a balancing act to keep a player’s spirits up while also listing where they came up short and what they must do to try to get back to the varsity.
“It is hard and today’s a hard day, right? It just is. Everybody’s aware. Everybody knows you’ve got to get down to a number at a certain point, so that’s why I didn’t particularly love practice, but the expectation of human nature, it comes into effect,” said Montgomery.
Boqvist, who signed a one-year deal in July after spending parts of the last four seasons with the Devils, struggled to gain traction and carve out a role during training camp.
“I think it’s always hard. Anyone that comes in new, you’re trying to acclimate, you’re trying to understand how we want to play and almost every player wants to do what you’re asking of them. There’s not many that want to go buck the trend and do it on their own page,” said Montgomery, when asked about Boqvist. “So, they’re trying to assimilate to that. They’re also trying to find their way in a new city. They got a bunch of new teammates. They’re trying to find their comfort zone everywhere off the ice and they’re trying to find a comfort zone on the ice and it’s a real short amount of time with the month of September before we start for real.”
Zboril, a first-round pick in 2015, played in 76 games for the Bruins over the last four seasons. He was limited to 22 games last season as he was often the seventh defenseman.
Steen had a strong start to camp but wasn’t able to sustain that momentum. A sixth-round pick in 2016, he spent most of the last two seasons in Providence.
Because all three were waived with the purpose of assignment, it doesn’t necessarily mean their time in the organization is over as they could wind up in Providence.
Final thoughts on camp
With a day off Sunday, Montgomery said the buzz of the regular season likely won’t kick in until Monday. Heading into his second season behind the Boston bench, Montgomery said he usually feels the same way as camp breaks.
“Every year you worry about are they prepared enough and are you practicing with enough pace so that you can get ready to play with pace?,” he said. “And then what you’re happy with is as the camp progresses, you see more and more of the team identity start to come through in games and you start to see the players start to get ready for practices, get better and better through camp.”
Saturday’s session was broken into two parts, with special teams the focus of the first half, followed by a high-speed, high-energy scrimmage over the second half . . . David Pastrnak sat out the scrimmage portion. “Power play was over, so he told me, ‘I’m done,’ and I said, ‘OK,’ ‘’ Montgomery said with a laugh. “No, it was just a little maintenance. That’s all we wanted [from him], get through the power play that was scheduled.” . . . Joining Pastrnak on the top power-play unit: Brad Marchand, Pavel Zacha, James van Riemsdyk, and Charlie McAvoy . . . The second unit: Matt Poitras, Jake DeBrusk, Morgan Geekie, Hampus Lindholm, and Kevin Shattenkirk . . . Montgomery said his family will celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving on Sunday’s day off. “My wife went to Turkey Tom’s two days ago. We’re ready,” he said.