- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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WILMINGTON, Mass. -- With only three days remaining before the Boston Bruins host the New York Rangers in the season-opener at 7 p.m., Saturday night at TD Garden, Bruins coach Claude Julien increased his team’s practice work load Wednesday morning at Ristuccia Arena.
Julien focused on net-front presence and battle drills during the hour-long session. The coach has been consistent keeping the practices short but intense.
“We’ll ramp it up a little bit and guys are getting in better shape, so there’s a little bit more on the battle side and it’s all part of hopefully preparing for Saturday,” Julien said.
Because of the lockout, many teams in the league are seeing more injuries already in camp, including the dreaded groin pulls. Fortunately for the Bruins, everyone remains healthy, but the team also realizes injuries will occur due to the short camp and condensed schedule.
“When you get to this stage it is pretty delicate,” explained Julien. “But there is risk and reward and there’s no 100-percenters, I guess, so you’ve got to do what you think is right for the team.”
Other teams in the league have already begun to trim their training camp rosters. From Day 1, Boston’s camp wasn’t overwhelmed with numbers, and Julien is not sure when the team will begin to reassign players to Providence.
“It’s going to be a decision we’ll make with management and decide how long, whether it’s Friday, Saturday morning, whether we do it tomorrow, I don’t know, yet. We haven’t made that decision yet, but right now, with the intensity and the battles we have in practice, I don’t mind this number because you get quality. At the same time, you get the rest that’s needed between reps.”
Boston has a total of 28 players in camp -- 17 forwards, nine defensemen and two goaltenders.