WILMINGTON, Mass. — The Bruins’ upcoming jaunt through the Rocky Mountains and the Sonoran Desert could not have come at a better time.
The team’s season-opening three-game homestand went about as poorly as possible, with the B’s dropping each contest and allowing an NHL-worst 16 goals in the process. The defense has been suspect, the goaltending less-than-stellar and the offense inconsistent.
Sounds like a perfect time to get the heck out of Boston.
“I think it is a good time to spend a lot of time together,” Brad Marchand, who will travel with the team after missing Monday’s game with a concussion, said after practice Tuesday. “It could be a great time for us to get away and be by ourselves for a bit and just have some bonding opportunity.
“Even throughout camp, being at home all the time, it is different. Guys have families and different things going on. When you get on the road, you’re just together, and it can be a really good opportunity for us.”
This will be the first road trip for a Bruins team that is integrating roughly a half-dozen new players into its everyday lineup. Will a week together on the road produce a more cohesive group on the ice? That’s the hope.
“(A road trip) is good,” head coach Claude Julien said. “It’s something that we all know, the team’s together all day long. They’ll travel together, they’ll eat together, and a lot of times, a good portion of their focus is definitely on winning hockey games. So, this is hoping that our team takes advantage of that.”
After hosting three consecutive playoff teams to begin the season, the Bruins now will visit two that, like Boston, failed to reach the postseason a year ago: the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes. Both opponents are off to hot starts, however: Arizona is 2-0 and has surrendered just two goals, while Colorado split its first two games but racked up 10 goals — the league’s highest per-game average thus far.
Some additional notes from Tuesday morning’s practice at Ristuccia Arena:
— Marchand practiced in a green non-contact jersey and, as mentioned above, will join the team as it travels to Denver and Glendale, Ariz. There’s no guarantee the winger will play in either of the two games, however, and he spoke Tuesday about taking a cautious approach to his return.
— Defenseman Joe Morrow did not participate in practice and is battling the flu, according to Julien. The coach said he had not yet decided whether the team will carry an extra D-man for its trip out west.
UPDATE (4:20 p.m. ET): According to the team roster listed on the Bruins’ official website, Morrow has been placed on injured reserve, and Tommy Cross has been recalled from Providence. Cross, 26, has yet to make his NHL debut.
— Forward Seth Griffith, who suffered a knee injury in the Bruins’ first preseason game, practiced Tuesday with the Providence Bruins.
— Speaking of the P-Bruins, center Frank Vatrano nabbed AHL Player of the Week honors after scoring five goals over Providence’s first two games, including four in Sunday’s win over the Portland Pirates.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images