It is Wednesday, my dudes.
The Bruins took their first (unofficial) strides of the 2023-2024 season on Tuesday, as the players held their first captains’ practice of September.
Based on reports from the practice, it was well attended, with just about everyone you’d expect to see being on site: Brad Marchand, Charlie Coyle, Brandon Carlo, Jeremy Swayman, Linus Ullmark, etc.
Another good part of captains’ practice: the return to Warrior Arena, which gave us all a glimpse of a new center ice logo:
Very good attendance for the first captains’ practice of the year.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) September 5, 2023
Also, peep that new logo at center ice. pic.twitter.com/0dHBK2bDaO
We’ve already seen several logos, crests, etc. for the centennial season, but it’s cool to see the updated spoked-B on actual ice.
(In case you forgot, the new jerseys for this season will be unveiled a week from Saturday.)
There will be one more captains’ practice this week on Friday, then a final one ten days after that.
Yesterday’s bit of news involved the return of another former Bruin, with Danton Heinen joining the B’s on a PTO.
Heinen is the B’s second announced PTO of the preseason, joining forward Alex Chiasson.
There’s been some consternation, both here and elsewhere, about the addition of these veteran forwards and their taking a roster spot from a younger player.
It’s worth noting that Don Sweeney addressed this idea after the free agency spending spree, essentially saying that bringing in these veterans amounts to a desire for depth at all positions and a desire to increase competition on the roster.
From back in July, Sweeney said:
“I don’t think we’re in business to just block people. I think we’re in business to provide opportunity...when a player steps forward. We had veteran players who were in the minors this year and other players were playing in front of them. In the case of Kevin [Shattenkirk], we had one opportunity from a standpoint to bring in that veteran player that slotted in pretty well for us. That does not mean that Ian Mitchell or Regula or Reilly Walsh won’t outperform either Kevin or somebody else and they won’t be on our team. We’ve made difficult decisions...and we’ll be the same way – pick a player, whether that’s Johnny Beecher, whether that’s Fabian Lysell, whether that’s Georgii Merkulov (don’t want to leave anybody out) but at the end of the day, there [will] be opportunity there.”
To me, the PTOs for Chiasson and Heinen, as well as some of the bottom-six free agent signings, are insurance policies in case some of the young guys mentioned above can’t cut it in training camp.
It seems (if you take Sweeney at his word) that the Lysells, Merkulovs, etc. of the world will be given every chance to earn their spot — but how many Septembers did we spend penciling in Ryan Spooner, Peter Cehlarik, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, or whoever else who just wasn’t able to put it all together?
Given that the B’s have a mandate to continue to compete and this isn’t a rebuild, the team isn’t really in a place to hand the keys to “the young guys,” sink or swim, so...having options like Heinen or Chiasson or whoever else doesn’t hurt.
Anyways, that’s today’s ramble. I’d love to see Lysell or someone similar crack the Opening Night roster, but if he doesn’t, there’s nothing wrong with having a reliable vet or two to fall back on.
What’s on tap for today?