Bruins’ Acciari Ready to Get Back to the Grind
By Steve Conroy
If you were watching Bruins’ practice on Thursday and didn’t happen to see Noel Acciari back on the ice, you would have eventually heard him.
Acciari, who had been mostly skating on his own as he rehabbed from offseason sports hernia, made his presence felt early on with a booming check of young Axel Andersson along the boards. Then later in the session, he collided hard with linemate Jakub Lauko. Andersson made it through the practice but other teenager Lauko, after sitting on the bench with a trainer for a while, headed to the room. He was still being evaluated after practice.
Taking out a teammate -- especially one who was skating on a line with him -- was certainly not on Acciari’s mind. But for him, part of getting ready for the season is taking some contact, and he rarely ends up on the short end.
“Skating is one thing conditioning-wise and then adding the hitting aspect of it is definitely another part of it,” said Acciari. “You’ve got to skate, you’ve got to hit and then you’ve got to get your feet going again. It’s a different type of conditioning, but getting that type of conditioning was really good for me.”
It was certainly an education for the two youngsters, who’d never had the pleasure of being hit by the electrical box-build of Acciari.
“I’m a little thicker than I look,” said the Rhode Islander with smile. “But, no, it’s hockey. You’re going get hit. You’re going to give hits, you’re going to get hit. I’m trying to get better and I can’t change the way I play.”
The plan for Acciari remains the same, to get in one or possibly two preseason games before the regular season. Just how the bottom six shakes out has not been determined as the third line center position is still up for grabs and there are some new bodies added to the mix with Chris Wagner and Joakim Nordstrom added to the mix
“I’m not sure what the lines are going to be, but my game’s an easy, simple game and I think whoever I play with, whether it’s Sean (Kuraly), Chris, Nordstrom or whoever it is, I think they’ll figure it out quick enough. It’s simple game. Get pucks to the net, take the body. I’m easy to feed off and I’ll open up some space if I can,” said Acciari.
The most important thing for Acciari is that he’s pain-free. That was not the case all of last year after December, when his problems first cropped up. The right wing said every stride for him hurt. His speed is not yet back to 100 percent, but the pain is gone.
“I’m definitely moving a lot better than I was last year. I’m not quite where the speed I used to be, but it’s getting there,” said Acciari. “I think each day has gotten a lot better where from standing still, I’m getting my feet going quick and getting to the puck. Each day it’s progressing and it’s exciting to see that. Feeling as I do right now, I’m excited to get the season going to take that next step.”