It's a busy time for these B's, as the Bruins face a hectic schedule before heading to Europe on Wednesday night.
The club finished up two days of team-building exercises in Vermont on Monday, and will take on the Capitals in a pair of exhibition games in Washington on Tuesday and back in Boston on Wednesday. Those games will be a last chance for many hopefuls to make a case to stay with the team when the real games begin in Prague on Oct. 9.
After working to bond as a team over the last two days, the Bruins will be breaking up this oversized band with a number of cuts still needing to be made.
"We definitely want to cut our roster down here," said coach Claude Julien in a conference call on Monday afternoon. "We'd like to have our roster down to somewhere around 27 [players]. If we could get down to that, that would be our goal going to Europe. So there's going to be some decisions to be made in the next little while."
The Bruins currently have 33 players remaining in camp, though that includes injured forwards Marc Savard, Marco Sturm and Trent Whitfield. In reality, they need to trim three healthy bodies from their traveling party after these two games, then make at least four more cuts before the start of the regular season.
These final preseason games in North America will give Julien two different forms of evaluation. On Tuesday, he'll have most of the young bubble players in the lineup looking to earn jobs. On Wednesday, there will be a more veteran group on the ice and Julien will be looking more at how the various line combinations and defense pairings are jelling.
"We may go to Washington tomorrow giving some of those younger guys another opportunity here to be seen," said Julien. "And giving some of our older players, players that have families, an opportunity to stay at home and have that day and then we'll see them on Wednesday.
"It gives us an opportunity to see some guys we want to see again tomorrow, and it will probably give us a better opportunity Wednesday to get a little bit closer to our [final] team," added Julien. "So that's our plan for the next couple of games."
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