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Monday, September 23, 2013
Eriksson: Opener is 'when the fun starts'

By Joe McDonald

BOSTON -- The Bruins have three exhibition games remaining in the preseason, including tonight's home matchup against the Washington Capitals.

Bruins forward Loui Eriksson will have to wait until the season opener on Oct. 3 against Tampa Bay before he plays his first official game on his new home ice. He isn't scheduled to play tonight, and the next two games are away.

Eriksson has played in two preseason games already for Boston, but both have been on the road.

Since the start of training camp, Eriksson has been on the line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. So far, that line has worked well together, but fans will have a better understanding once the regular season begins.

“That’s when the fun starts,” Eriksson said. “It’s been nice so far, playing some games and getting a good feeling for it.”

Bergeron played in his first preseason game Saturday night in Detroit and helped the Bruins to a 2-0 win over the Red Wings. It was the first time in a game situation that Eriksson played with his linemates.

“I felt good,” Eriksson said Monday after practice. “Our line did some good things out there. We had a good forecheck and had some good chances, too. It’s nice to get some games in the preseason to get a good feeling.”

Even though Eriksson is a left-handed shot, he’s been playing the right side, which he said he’s comfortable with.

“It’s pretty easy to play with him. He’s such a smart player. We need to get some more games to see where we’re at and we felt good the last game against Detroit,” Eriksson said. “We have some things we need to build on; I felt good, though.

“You can see he’s a good leader for this organization and the team. He talks in the locker room and gives everybody a good feeling before the games. You definitely saw some good things from him in that game, too. It’ll be good when the season starts and have some real games with him, too.”

Eriksson is already focused on his first regular-season game with the Bruins.

“I’m really looking forward to that,” he said. “It’s been a long summer so I can’t wait until the season starts.”

* Hockey fans in Toronto witnessed an interesting preseason game between the Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres on Sunday at Air Canada Centre. A brawl broke out during the third period of Toronto’s 5-3 win over the Sabres when every player on the ice, including the goaltenders, dropped the gloves in an all-out melee. Julien said he did not watch the game but saw the highlights.

“It didn’t look good when you look at the highlights, but certainly creates a rivalry ... if there wasn’t enough of one already,” Julien said.

The Maple Leafs and Sabres play back-to-back nights on Nov. 15 and 16.

* The hybrid icing has been in effect this preseason and the NHLPA will vote prior to the regular season whether or not to incorporate the new rule for the 2013-2014 season. “I’m 100 percent with the safety of the game and I know that’s why they put that there,” Julien said. “I guess right now I’m just not convinced when you compare other injuries throughout the whole season and what’s going on that the icing is one of the biggest culprits of injuries. Yeah, you see maybe once or something that the guy happens to slip, loses an edge and crashes into the boards. But it’s a questionable thing and I’ll live with either or.”