BOSTON (CBS) — The condensed nature of the 2013 NHL schedule has been just a rumor for the Bruins through the season’s first five weeks.
But the docket fills up starting Thursday night against Ottawa at TD Garden on the last night of February. March will feature the Bruins playing 17 games in 31 days, which could mean a change in routine for several players in an attempt to stay rested and strong.
Local establishments might also have to live on without the Bruins’ business.
“Sometimes after the game, especially at home, we like to go for dinner. You know, the game finishes late, by the time you get out for dinner it’s 12, it takes a while for you to fall asleep. So I’m going to have to change it a little, maybe start eating at home after the games more often,” center David Krejci said in response to a question about concessions players have to make to the schedule going forward.
In noting how difficult the upcoming stretch of games could be, however, Krejci also expressed excitement at the notion of finally playing on a regular basis rather than the pace that saw the Bruins play just 16 times in the first 35 days or so of the post-lockout schedule.
Forward Chris Bourque is also looking forward to the busy stretch run, even if it means less down time.
“I think rest is definitely going to be a big thing, making sure you’re not too active away from the rink, kind of taking it easy whereas in a regular schedule you might go out with the family, hang out, go to the mall or something or go for a walk,” he said. “You’ll spend a lot more time on the couch, that kind of stuff. Just getting the proper rest and hydration all that sort of stuff is going to be key, I think.
“It might be a little bit more boring, but that’s what you’ve got to do because when I’m sure when you go home you’re going to be a lot more tired after playing all these games and being at the rink every day, whether it’s having games or having a practice.”
Regardless of rest, there’s bound to be nights many of the Bruins players won’t feel 100 percent. That’s when it will be the responsibility of each player to find a way to avoid a major drop-off in effort. That could mean extra smelling salts or just a stiff kick in the pants from a teammate.
“I think those are just nights that you really have to fight through and push a little bit harder,” forward Daniel Paille said. “Those are the games that you just focus on that moment. I don’t know if that will happen, but if it does, you try to figure it out and push through it.”
One thing’s certain: the Bruins won’t have much time to think about the heavy schedule, they’re just going to have to react to the action night to night.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes coverage to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.