Charlie Coyle is making steady progress in his rehab from offseason knee surgery, and is excited to make his preseason debut Wednesday night.
The Boston Bruins center was limited to begin training camp but shed his red non-contact jersey last week. Coyle has ramped up his skating and time in the gym. He sat out Monday’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, but is expected to suit up Wednesday when the B’s welcome the Washington Capitals to TD Garden for the preseason finale.
So, is one game enough to be ready for Oct. 16’s regular season opener?
“It’s gonna have to be,” Coyle told reporters Tuesday.
At the end of the day, though, he’s just looking forward to getting back out there.
“Pretty eager,” Coyle said. “That’s why you play, is you want to play games and feel a part of the team again. It’s a long summer. You’re kind of just training, waiting to get into a meaningful game. And these are meaningful. It’s a good test. It’s new linemates, new teammates, get the system back again. That stuff’s big. Definitely looking forward to doing that and just getting those good habits and good practice for the real thing coming.”
Coyle figures to center the second line with David Krejci departing to play in his native Czech Republic. Jack Studnicka has been making quite the impression while Coyle remains out. But the internal competition is something that’s needed.
“That’s what you need,” Coyle said. “That’s what good teams have. Every day I think you should feel a little pressure, whether that’s younger guys or older guys trying to make a push. That’s what makes the guys ahead play better. Because if you don’t, they’re coming up. That’s the mindset you have to have, that you have to bring it every day, or someone else is going to take that spot.
“To have that within our team, extra guys who can come in and play, that’s only going to make everyone better. So you love to see it. You love to see a guy like Jack play well and push us, push me. I hope I push him. That’s what makes a good team, that’s what makes good teammates, and that’s exactly what we need.”
Bruins fans are well aware that head coach Bruce Cassidy isn’t afraid to shuffle up his lines during games, so maybe Studnicka will get some time on the second line in the regular season should he see a better fit.
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