As many lineup regulars inch closer to return, Colby Cave isn’t looking over his shoulder

Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire

He’s been up in the NHL ranks for close to a month now, but even the most minute moments still feel surreal at times for Colby Cave.

An undrafted free agent that has spent the last four seasons primarily with the Providence Bruins, Cave is making the most out of his stint up with Boston — both in terms of contributing on the ice and soaking up as much information as he can off of it.

An alternate captain over the last three seasons down in the AHL, the dynamic has certainly changed for Cave up in Boston’s locker room — where he’s just a few stalls away from Patrice Bergeron.

“It’s just about taking it all in,” Cave said Thursday at Warrior Ice Arena. “These guys are superstars for a reason. You’ve got to take in how professional they are and how they handle themselves off the ice. It’s one of those things where you are so consistent that you’re the best player on the ice every night. … It's just one of those things where I need to take it all in.”

For Cave, who also skates on a line with another veteran in David Backes, the last month has presented him the opportunity to hone his craft among some of most respected players in the game.

But in some respects, it can be a bit of a double-edged sword — at least in terms of playing time for the 23-year-old center.

Veterans like Bergeron are always willing to impart their wisdom, but more than anything — they want to play. And with Bergeron inching closer and closer to a return after missing over a month due to a rib/sternoclavicular injury, Cave’s current tenure in Boston could be in jeopardy.