The Bear Cave

July 11, 2009 5:04 AM

Preseason Schedule and Press Conference Announcement Highlight Friday in Boston

Cheer up, hockey fans! The summer might be starting to get long, but the beginning of training camp is now less than two months away. On Friday, the Boston Bruins announced their 2009 preseason schedule of games and important dates. That was far from the end, as the team also announced that there will be a press conference next Wednesday at Fenway Park.

Saturday, September 5th will be the magical day this fall, as the Bruins' rookie will begin their training camp in Boston. The youngsters' stay in New England won't be a long one, as a six-day venture out to Kitchener will meet the rookies from the 5th through the 10th. During that time, the veterans will be making their final preparations for the start of camp. On Tuesday, September 8th, the Big B's will hit the links for the Boston Bruins 6th Annual Golf Tournament in Bolton, Massachusetts. Four days later, the full team will take to the ice for the first true day of training camp for everyone.

The 2009-10 Boston Bruins will have three days to get used to each other, before the puck drops on the first game of the preseason. That game will be on Tuesday, September 15th against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Because of their histories and their cities, a game between the Bruins and Rangers always tends to be exciting. However, there could be some added excitement to this contest, as New York won the sweepstakes for forward Marian Gaborik. Gaborik only dressed in 17 games last season, but was awarded with a five-year deal worth $37.5 million. The Rangers also brought in Ales Kotalik from Buffalo, while losing Nik Antropov to Atlanta.

The coaching staff and front office will have a quick turnaround from New York, as game two of the preseason takes place the next night at Toronto's Air Canada Centre against the Maple Leafs. With two games in two nights, it is likely that the players will split the two contests, as the roster will still be fairly large. With that being said, one has to wonder what the Bruins will do with Milan Lucic. One of Toronto's biggest offseason signings was Mike Komisarek, who is known for having a heated on-ice rivalry with Boston's leading hitter. Do the Bruins fuel the fire early, or will they wait until the games really count?

Three days later, the B's will get to make their first impression on the local crowd with a Saturday afternoon tilt against the New York Rangers. The re-match takes place on September 19th at 4:00 from the TD Banknorth Garden. The Bruins and Rangers should serve as a nice warmup for the fans, as the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees will battle at Yankee Stadium the following weekend in what could be a pivotal series in the AL East.

Speaking of rivalries, look no further than the next night (September 20th). Following the game with the Rangers, Boston will travel up to Quebec City, QC for a showdown with the Montreal Canadiens. This will be the first game since the Bruins eliminated the Canadiens last spring. Although Quebec City is Nordiques' territory, the expectation is that there will be more Montreal fans in attendance. So much for a Boston home game. The Canadiens have gone through a plethora of changes in the past week or so, bringing in six new faces, while losing three to other clubs.

The hectic schedule doesn't end there. The Bruins will have Monday the 21st off, but that day will be used to travel to Columbus, OH for a September 22nd game with the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets made their biggest noise of the offseason by signing Rick Nash to an eight-year contract extension. This was a strong move by Columbus, as Nash is the face of a franchise that is has begun to turn things around in a positive direction.

The game in Columbus will make many travel agents scratch their heads. Why? Because Boston will return to the lovely province of Quebec two days later for yet another tilt with the Montreal Canadiens. This time, the game takes place at the Bell Centre - Montreal's home building. Peter Chiarelli seemed pretty pleased to be at the Bell Centre during the NHL Entry Draft last month. Hopefully, he continues to enjoy trips to Canada with more success from his Bruins.

The end of the preseason will remind most fans of the American Hockey League. The Bruins finish their 2009 list of tuneups with three games in three days, and four games in five days. Following the second Montreal game, Boston will hop over to Ottawa for a tilt with the Senators. Ottawa has been one of the quieter teams in free agency, re-signing Chris Neil, and signing Alex Kovalev from Montreal. The big question for the Senators will be if Dany Heatley will be in an Ottawa uniform by the September 25th game with the Bruins. If he is, the crowd reaction will certainly be interesting. If not, the interest shifts to the new faces.

On Sunday, September 26th, the Bruins will complete their 2009 preseason schedule with one final home game. This battle will be the second of two preseason meetings with the Columbus Blue Jackets. That leads to today's piece of irony. Boston and Columbus have only played each other eight times since the Blue Jackets entered the NHL during the fall of 2000. 2001-2002 was the only campaign in which the two teams skated on the same ice surface twice. Now, they will get to play twice in the same week. Seeing the Jackets at the TD Banknorth Garden could be a unique experience, as they have only visited once since January of 2003.

The preseason portion of the schedule finally comes to an end on Tuesday, September 28th, as Media Day will take place at the TD Banknorth Garden. Media Day is always a treat, as the players get to voice their final expectations before the 82-game marathon begins.

While on the topic of media, the Boston Bruins also announced that there will be a press conference held at Fenway Park on Wednesday, July 15th at 2:00. At the risk of creating a pun, if you haven't figured out why this is happening, you are truly in left field! In an effort to keep this a surprise to some, there won't be any details here until then.

Wednesday should be a fun day for all fans, as the full 2009-10 NHL Regular Season Schedule is expected to be released at some point during that afternoon.

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