NHL Preseason: B's Tune-Up Heads To Ireland With Slow Start

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NHL Preseason: B's Tune-Up Heads To Ireland With Slow Start
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Tuukka Rask and Zdeno Chara take to the ice

The Boston Bruins are slow out of the gate this Pre-Season with a 1-1-3 heading across the pond to Belfast, Ireland to take on the Aer Lingus Belfast Giants on Saturday, October 2nd at 2 PM EST.

With the Bruins winning the opener of the pre-season against the long time rival Montreal Canadiens, Boston has yet to win one since losing 3 close games and being beaten soundly in the last meeting against the Washington Capitals.

We know this is a tuneup season and a lot of youngsters are getting a shot at playing in a higher level, but so are the other teams.

Marc Savard is continuing to experience Post Concussion Syndrome and Marco Sturm is still expected to be out until November with the Torn MCL and ACL rehabilitation.

As some people state, the post season means nothing, but to some it can mean everything.

This is a time when players that were hurt in the last season or post season to run through the paces in a full contact game to see if further healing needs to be done, or if they are ready to roll into the regular season.

This is also a great opportunity for the youngster playing in the AHL or the Junior league stars are ready to take that next step to the AHL or even to the NHL roster.

In the past week, several players were sent down from training camp deeming them not yet ready for the NHL level and this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Coach Claude Julien has coached in both levels and has a good sense when to bring players up to compete or to send them down for more tweaking on their game.

All in all, the kids got their chances and few are left to fight for a spot on the roster.  Among those is the 2010 2nd overall Draft pick Tyler Seguin who has earned an assist and a goal for two points in three games thus far.

In the last match up, Seguin played as a Center (his natural position).  With Savard out it may come down to Seguin playing as a Center but with Boston rich in Centers, it's hard to say.

Then there is the mess with the salary cap.  Currently, according to Capgeek.com, the Bruins are just over $3 million and 22 players currently locked up for the season.  The current cap is at $59.4 million and time is running short on what they need to do to resolve this before they are imposed with a fine.

There may be temporary relief with Sturm on the LTIR list, that will free up $3.5 million.  They can also move some players to the AHL to free up some space and to keep the talent in the ready should someone get injured.  A luxury that they didn't have last season.  The question is, who will be able to keep their egos in check to allow this to happen?  The road to the NHL to some was a hard fight and to give it up to play in the minors can't be an easy pill to swallow.  Especially for those that have been playing at this level for quite some time.

Belfast

Erin Go Bragh!! or Ireland Forever.  The green grass of Ireland will be the home of the NHL Challenge and, fittingly the Boston Bruins will be playing on 'ol' Erin's Isle" against the Aer Lingus Belfast Giants of the Elite Ice Hockey League on October 2nd, 2PM EST.  The team is made of English, Irish, Scottish, Canadian and American players.  Three of these players hail from Massachusetts.

Todd Kelman, a native of Calgary Alberta and a former Giant is the team's GM and he said that this is the biggest hockey game that Belfast will host to date.  With such connection between Ireland and Boston, it's no surprise to many that there are Bruins fans there.  He spoke with Abigail Seaver of  BostonBruins.com

“I think if you’re from Ireland and you pick a team [in the NHL] it’s the Boston Bruins,” explained Kelman. “There is such a connection between Boston and Ireland in general and you can be walking downtown in Dublin, I can be walking downtown in Belfast, and you’ll see a few Boston Bruins jerseys.

“People in Ireland are Bruins fans. There are going to be a lot more [Boston fans] in the stands,” Kelman joked. 

“I think I’ll even bypass and let Giants fans be Bruins fans for one night," continued Kelman, who added, "I think we’ll all be Bruins fans for a long time to come.”

The Bruins are also looking at this as an opportunity to tune up the Black and Gold roster as they will be playing the Liberecs in Liberec, Czech Republic (David Krejci's home country) on Oct 5th and then their season opener in Prague against the Phoenix Coyotes on October 10th.

The Bruins and the NHL see this as a opportunity to bring the NHL to some fans in the Old World and what better team to take to Ireland?

This is Cory Ducey saying "Hit Hard, But Keep It Clean"

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