Torey Krug carried out the milk crate of pucks, dumping them to the ice, the first sounds of a practice about to begin. The team trickled onto the ice, each in his own head. Perhaps each was reviewing his individual efforts in the last two games. Regardless, the mood was truly somber. The only sounds were skates cutting into the ice and the occasional slap of stick on puck. Even with the first drill, as practice truly got underway, not a sound was uttered by the players.
And one change had already been made to the roster assembled Sunday morning as the Boston Bruins announced the recall of Seth Griffith from the Providence Bruins and the reassignment of Craig Cunningham to the AHL affiliate.
But before blaming any one player, or pointing the finger to Cunningham just because he was sent down, Head Coach Claude Julien, pointed out to media after practice that the recall of Griffith was just one piece to a much bigger puzzle.
“I think [Griffith] showed he can score. He’s a right hand shot which we don’t have much of right now,” Julien said. “We’re honestly looking to see if he can fill a role right now. He deserves that chance.”
He went on to discuss the reassignment of Cunningham.
“Cunningham sent down is more about the juggling of everything. As far as his work ethic, I liked it and I think he competes hard and he gave it everything he has so that wasn’t an issue,” Julien explained. “He was good on faceoffs. He worked hard on the penalty kill. Let’s not look at him because he’s the guy sent down that we’re blaming him. That’s not the issue at all.”
Additionally, David Krejci has been cleared for play, which Julien tried to temper.
“I’ve been told [Krejci] is totally clear,” he said. “I think it looks good [for him to play].”
After all, everyone will be expecting Krejci’s inclusionin Monday’s roster to jump start Milan Lucic and suddenly all will be perfect again for the team.
“You know I think there’s players that, no matter what, they have to look at their own game. They have to be better as individuals. Let’s not again look at ‘well now I’m playing with this guy, I’m going to be better.’ Everybody has to be a little bit better,” Julien said. “And if everybody worries about doing their job right, then we have a better team already.”
While the players answered questions of the media, those who had played in the last two games were already taking this approach. Matt Fraser referred to looking in the mirror and coming to terms with his own play. And Ryan Spooner was examining his “pass it” mentality and how he needs to get back to playing his style of hockey.
Monday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche is just the fourth game of an 82-game season, but for the Boston Bruins it is a chance to prove they are the resilient team they have been in the past.
“We can’t allow [being deflated] to happen,” said Julien. “We have to be a little more resilient. And we have been in the past and we will be again.”
We have to be more resilient. — Claude Julien