Day 1 of Bruins training camp at Warrior Ice Arena did not come and go without some echoing thuds along the glass.
The loudest appeared to come in the first session of a two-session afternoon in Brighton, with Brad Marchand fighting for time and space with defensemen Jackson Edward and Charlie McAvoy.
Pinballing off the two defenders, Marchand found himself tied up behind McAvoy, and with a little help from his stick planted right into the back of McAvoy, Marchand shoved the B’s top defenseman down to the ice with authority. McAvoy, whose helmet popped off in the dust-up, remained down for a few moments before he collected himself and returned right back to action as if nothing happened.
It’s not your average ‘Day 1’ kind of skirmish, but it was a welcomed sight for Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery, who has made his objective clear when it comes to this year’s Bruins squad.
“We want physical,” Montgomery said following the first day of camp. “We need to be a more physical team this year than we were last year, in our opinion. So we like the physicality and guys are fighting for jobs. So, you know, there should be physicality out there when the drill requires it.”
Physicality can mean a lot of things. By 2023 standards, physicality doesn’t mean dropping the gloves every two minutes, but rather being grimy, greasy, and downright nasty in high-danger areas. The Bruins learned that the hard way in their all-too-brief playoff run a year ago, and it’s appears to be the biggest lesson Montgomery took from the stunning defeat.
“Well, I think we’re a little bit of a bigger and heavier team. But also, we just think that we need to be more physical at net-fronts, offensively and defensively,” Montgomery offered. “We saw that as an area to improve from what we learned from the playoffs last year.”
And while the Bruins have done their part to beef that up with their newest additions, it doesn’t hurt when the two leading that charge are your team captain and your do-it-all defenseman.