NESN’s Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Bruins’ state of mind after the bombing at the Boston Marathon Monday and what he expects from their game vs. the Sabres on Wednesday night.
Brickley said he had been on the outskirts of the city after the Bruins’ morning skate and didn’t make it back to the marathon, although he had considered going.
“It was just such a scary feeling,” he said. “Just the emotions and where they range, from disbelief to outrage, and beyond that, compassion for the people who were down there.”
Based on his conversations with the Bruins in the last few days, Brickley said he thinks the players are ready to get back on the ice, and that their veteran leaders will be a stabilizing presence.
“I think they’re eager to play a hockey game,” Brickley said. “They all want to do something that’s meaningful in the healing process. What can you do as an athlete and as a team — I think that’s first and foremost on their minds. ‘¦ With the connections they’ve made with the hockey community here and in all of New England, they have an opportunity to go out and do something as a team.
“[Zdeno] Chara, [Patrice] Bergeron, [Andrew] Ference, Shawn Thornton , those are the four guys that will take the lead as far as the emotional side of this game tonight, because they do, they totally get it,” he continued. “They have a grasp of what it means to be a Boston Bruin.
“If you talk to Ray Bourque , one of the greatest lessons he learned as an 18-, 19-, 20-year old player when he came to Boston was he learned what it was to be part of this community, from guys like [Wayne] Cashman, the guys that came before him. The [Terry] O’Reillys. That’s that thread of continuity that has existed in this franchise for such a long time and those four players will certainly lead the way and help the players, like a [Tyler] Seguin or a [Brad] Marchand, some of the younger guys, even a guy like [Jaromir] Jagr that’s 41 years old that just got here — he needs to be swallowed up in exactly what the Bruins want to do tonight.
“They have a sense of community, they have a sense of belonging and they have a connection with what it means to not only be a Bruin but to be a part of this sports environment here in Boston. I think this is the perfect group, because of what they are and what they’ve accomplished and what they want to do in the future, that this is an important game to everybody.”
On the way the Bruins will play Wednesday: “They have another gear that they can put forward, and I fully expect to see it before the playoffs start. To have this confluence of events and emotions, it could go a long way to putting them in the right frame of mind.”
On the new lineup, with Milan Lucic  on the fourth line and Nathan Horton  on the third: “I like it. I like the idea that they’re going to give Jagr a chance to play with [David] Krejci if they line up the way they did this morning. I love the fact that you get [Brad] Marchand and Bergeron back together with Seguin ‘¦ and a message sent to Horton and Lucic that they have to up their game and play better. What better way to get their attention than to limit their ice time and maybe not play them in different situations, and maybe not even give them some power play time. The only difference I see is what [Carl] Soderberg would mean and where he would fit moving forward as far as the line combinations go. But this will be all about team tonight and not so much about the individuals.”
On the Bruins not being part of any of the six outdoor games scheduled for next year: “It’s the first I’m hearing of it. I guess if I gave it some thought, initially I might say yeah, I’m surprised, but there has to be some kind of reasoning for it. Maybe you take three or four strong markets and you pull the weaker markets that have desired outdoor games all along, and you pull it along with it, instead of leading with five or six aces in your first hand. Maybe you have Boston in your back pocket for the years down the road. Maybe that’s the best way to do business.”