It’d be easy for the Boston Bruins to get caught up in the pageantry of Thursday night’s intrasquad scrimmage at TD Garden.
The Bruins haven’t played a game since defeating the Hurricanes in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final last Thursday, and they haven’t played in front of their home crowd since beating Carolina in Game 2 on May 12.
But falling victim to the outside buzz on Causeway Street would put Boston behind the eight ball as it prepares for its Stanley Cup Final matchup with the St. Louis Blues, and Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy thus cautioned that the unique exhibition is about more than simply entertaining fans.
“We’re there to get some work done. This is just a practice for us. This is not a show,” Cassidy said before Thursday’s scrimmage. “So we’ve got to be careful guys don’t get caught up in ad-libbing out there. It’s preparing for St. Louis. It’s managing pucks and not getting away from the way we generally want to play by putting on a show. That’s the risk you take tonight. We just want to be focused on our work. But for the fans to show that kind of support? How can you not like it?”
Obviously the Bruins are very appreciative of their fans’ support, well-aware that it’s been a driving force behind the organization’s recent success. Cassidy just doesn’t want his players to lose sight of the task at hand, as the Bruins are four wins away from hoisting Lord Stanley but still need to clear an extremely difficult hurdle. The Blues have been on a tear since the start of the new year.
“The original plan was just to get us back into a gameday routine,” Cassidy said, alluding to how the intrasquad scrimmage has taken on a life of its own this week. “So come in the morning, do our video — we did some St. Louis stuff this morning. Optional skate, go down to the rink … The on-ice will be more similar to a practice time. With the flooding of the ice and warm-up, it’s going to drag a bit. That was kinda the original plan and it’s kinda gone a little bit now bigger than maybe we first envisioned, but here we are.”
No one is complaining. The Bruins will happily accept the extra attention, as well as the 10-day layoff between games, even if the circumstances threaten to throw a wrench into their normal routine.
The problem would be if the B’s used the scrimmage and the extra time off as an opportunity to grandstand and/or rest on their laurels. And there’s absolutely no indication that’s the case.
Fun will be had. Work will be done. Stanley Cup fever is alive and well in Boston.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images