PRAGUE -- The Bruins scratched their scheduled morning practice in Prague on Thursday to get some rest in before their regular season begins with a pair of games against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday and Sunday.
The team met with the media and then a group of Bruins fans here on a tour from Boston outside their hotel along the scenic banks of the Vltava River. It’s been a whirlwind trip for the Bruins since they departed for Belfast and Prague on Sept. 29 after a preseason game against the Capitals at TD Garden. Head coach Claude Julien said he felt it was the right time for some rest before the real games begin.
“We've only had three days off since the start of camp,'' explained Julien. ''And two of those days were in Vermont [for a team-building retreat]. Other than that, it's been just the one day on this trip [traveling from Belfast to Prague), so it was time to give everyone a rest.''
But while the Bruins may have the day off, they have already shifted into regular-season mode mentally and are eager to get the season underway.
“I think we do,” said Julien when asked if the players realize the next game is for real despite the distractions of this European trip.
“Our focus really switched yesterday after our final exhibition game Tuesday. There’s big expectations from our team, and somewhere along the road, as a player, you have to accept those expectations and live up to them. It’s easy to be an underdog because you’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose, but when high expectations are put on you, you have to be able to handle that pressure that is put on you and obviously live up to that and I think our team is ready.”
Veteran Mark Recchi concurred and said he was looking forward to an uptempo practice on Friday.
“We know and the guys were glad to have that final exhibition
[Tuesday] and we’re getting down to the real stuff now,” Recchi said.
“Practice will be great tomorrow and we know it’s that time. Guys are excited and we’re ready to roll.”
Seidenberg gets good news from home
Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was out eating dinner with his teammates Wednesday night when he received some very good news from home: His wife gave birth to their second daughter, Noah Grace.
Bruins fans invade Prague
Chris and Julie Velluto and Jeff DiClemente, clad in Bruins gear, were beaming with wide smiles as they took time off from mingling with Bruins players outside the team’s hotel in Prague. The three longtime Bruins fans were taking part in a meet-and-greet with the team as part of the seven-day AAA Massachusetts tour they’re on from Boston. Just as the team has been going through non-stop events, games and practices, these Bruins fans haven’t stopped since they touched down in Prague on Wednesday.
“We got in, slept for an hour, then got out, toured the city a bit, then had dinner with Cam Neely and now this meet-and-greet with all the players is fabulous,” Chris Velluto said. “It’s amazing. This old classic city and being here with all the players is just amazing.”
When asked if they thought the team could get over the heartbreaking ending to the 2009-10 season, they sounded very optimistic about the Bruins' chances in 2010-11.
“What game 7?” exclaimed his wife Julie, clearly blocking out the bad memory of the Bruins blowing a 3-0 series lead and 3-0 lead in game 7 to the Flyers. “I think it’s going to be a great season,” Chris said.
“They added offense and they look good.”