The Boston Bruins’ 2009 training camp opens tomorrow with off-ice testing for the players in the morning. They’ll take the ice for the first practices of the season Sunday at TD Banknorth Garden — two sessions at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., which are open to the public.
The Bruins Blog will be your home for complete, in-depth coverage of camp every day. To start off, here are the three things I’ll be watching most closely during the first two days of practice (the Bruins play their preseason opener Tuesday night in New York):
1. What can David Krejci do and not do?
Initial hopes had Krejci being fully recovered from offseason hip surgery and ready to play in games by November. Ever since he reported for informal practices, Krejci has claimed that mid-October is a realistic target and he’s holding out hope for being ready for opening night (Oct. 1). We don’t know yet how much he’ll be able to do during the practices and drills, so I’ll be watching him closely. If he’s recovering faster than usual, the Bruins won’t feel as much pressure to do something with Phil Kessel.
2. Speaking of “Phil the Thrill,” how will his holdout affect the Bruins?
Initially, there will be a ton of questions for general manager Peter Chiarelli, head coach Claude Julien and the players to contend with. But things will only heat up if the Bruins show a lack of an ability to score once the preseason games begin. Nonetheless, how the players toe the line verbally when talking about a player who’s grab a big payday at the expense of working out with his teammates will create a dynamic that’s been absent in the Bruins’ dressing room for years.
3. Which young players will jump out and prove their ready to make the NHL leap?
Two years ago, it was obvious Milan Lucic was destined for a job in the NHL. Last season, both Blake Wheeler and Matt Hunwick were obviously going to force the Bruins to make tough decisions about their opening-night roster. Who will make a splash this year? Will it be Vladimir Sobotka or Johnny Boychuk, two guys who’ve tasted the NHL and might have a chance to grab a job early on? Or will it be someone that hasn’t reached the NHL yet, like Brad Marchand, Jeff Penner or Andrew Bodnarchuk? I’m going to go with Marchand as the guy that changes the Bruins’ thinking about the make-up of their fourth line and maybe spends a week in Providence (AHL) but ultimately becomes a regular in Boston.