PLYMOUTH — When Bruins Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides opened his talk at Boston Bruins Summer Camp by asking the kids if they have seen Behind The B, nearly all 80 campers raised their hands. If they have seen the team’s all-access television show, they are doubtlessly familiar with Whitesides, who made quite a few appearances on its first season.
This afternoon, though, instead of coaching prospects through burpees or assisting veteran players with their midseason rehab, Whitesides had a simple objective: Give the campers a look into what he has been doing for the last 13 years with the Bruins.
“We try to talk to them and kind of give them an insight of what I do with the Bruins, but also give an insight on healthy living and what they can do at their ages to have some success,” said Whitesides, who is primarily responsible for designing and implementing the strength, flexibility, conditioning and testing programs for all players within the Bruins’ system. “But it’s always good, and they always are interested in what our guys do — what our guys do, and how they work out, and what do off the ice, on the ice, how big they are. So a lot of it’s talking about that stuff, too.”
BostonBruins.com — The Bruins aren’t a team that takes their American League success for granted.
They know it’s not a coincidence that players who have bubbled up from the Providence pipeline — players like Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller — have fared so well once they’re wearing Black and Gold in Boston.
They know they are fortunate that, as they look toward the 2014-15 season, they have viable options in Ryan Spooner, Alexander Khokhlachev, Matt Fraser, Justin Florek, Matt Fraser and more to fill any roster vacancies that remain.
In fact, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien and Co. are quick to point to one source in particular as the reason behind the team’s success with players who come up from Providence.
“Bruce [Cassidy] has done an unbelievable job of developing players,” Julien said during a conference call last week. “And to me, he’s still a fairly young coach. He’s coached in the NHL, and I think at the same time, I think he’s one of those guys who should certainly be considered to be a coach in the NHL again, too.”
BostonBruins.com — Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien characterized Boston’s offseason thus far in just a few words:
“We don’t feel like were in a real tough situation.”
There have been some changes since the B’s packed up their dressing room on May 16. The biggest: Top line right winger Jarome Iginla departed for Colorado, leaving a big vacancy at an important place.
But as Julien emphasized during a conference call on July 24, there are plenty of options to fill that vacancy, and none of them leave him uneasy.
The No. 1 option: Slotting in Loui Eriksson alongside Milan Lucic and David Krejci. The winger played the bulk of the 2013-14 season on the third line with a variety of accomplices, but he was most successful on a line that featured Chris Kelly on the left and fellow Swede Carl Soderberg at center.
The first chunk of the 2013-14 season wasn’t easy for Eriksson. He suffered two concussions within five weeks early in the season, and when he finally returned to the lineup, it took him some time to acclimate.
BostonBruins.com — David Warsofsky got a taste of the NHL last season. Heading into this year’s rookie camp, the Bruins brass have indicated time and time again that they expect him to compete for a full-time NHL roster spot.
Now, it’s official: Warsofsky will have that opportunity.
On Thursday, the defenseman signed a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 at the NHL level to remain with the Bruins.
VALENCIA, CA - You could count on two hands the amount of California-born players to suit up in an NHL game in 2013-14.
You could count on three fingers the number who played half or more of last season in the NHL.
Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller, a native of Santa Clarita, California, gets to be part of the latter.
Miller wore the Spoked-B for 47 games in 2013-14, making the jump from the Providence Bruins to a full-time role after Dennis Seidenberg suffered his season-ending ACL/MCL tear and Adam McQuaid had to deal with nagging injuries.
With Miller's two-year, one-way deal kicking in for 2014-15, he's cemented himself in the NHL.
He's a rarity in the League these days: a born and bred Californian. He was born there, grew up there, now trains there, and gets to proudly say he's from there.
BostonBruins.com — In the end, the Bruins were the perfect fit for Joe Sacco.
The former forward — who played for five NHL teams during his 13-year career — had spent a year as an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres, and he wasn’t actively job-hunting, but when Geoff Ward announced that he was departing his assistant coaching job in Boston for the opportunity to be a head coach in Mannheim, Sacco saw the opportunity.
So he gave Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien a call and told him he was interested in Boston’s coaching vacancy, and about a month later, the club announced that he had been hired as Ward's replacement and Julien’s newest assistant.
“I reached out to Claude, and we connected at some point later in the month of June and sat down,” Sacco said during a conference call on Thursday. “I had the opportunity to talk with him and just really get to know each other a little bit. Obviously I knew of him, but didn’t know him that well personally, and I thought that the time that we spent together that first meeting went very well.”
BOSTON — Just as the sun was setting on a perfect summer day in the Boston Harbor, the M/V Provincetown II — filled to the brim with the Boston Bruins extended family — set off for an evening sail.
Wednesday marked the annual Boston Bruins Harbor Cruise to benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation Pan-Massachusetts Challenge Bike Team, which will set off on August 2. The team has already raised more than $80,000 for the bike-a-thon, which traverses 46 towns across Massachusetts. Since its inception in 1980, the event has raised $414 million for adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.
While aboard the boat on Wednesday night, guests had the opportunity to mingle with Bruins alumni and Bruins Ice Girls, enjoy some live music courtesy of Digger Dawg and participate in a raffle. Among the prizes were plenty of signed items courtesy of the current Bruins roster, including jerseys, sticks and photos.
LOS ANGELES - When Kevan Miller signed a two-year, one-way contract extension with the Bruins on January 21, 2014, the defenseman was finally starting to cement his dream of playing in the NHL.
After being with the team for a month following Dennis Seidenberg's season-ending injury, he hadn't been able to reflect right away on the changes in his career, going from making his debut with Boston in November, to becoming a fixture on the blueline for the rest of the season.
"It's been a good journey, but it's not done yet," the 26-year-old had said.
Seven months later, Miller has 58 NHL regular season and playoff games with Boston next to his name, and he's putting in all of the offseason work to make sure that his progress doesn't stop there.
A native of Santa Clarita, California, in greater Los Angeles, Miller heads home every summer to train. It's there to he first started dreaming of playing in the NHL, even if it wasn't the norm for most kids his age, being in sunny, warm SoCal.
In LA now, he's surrounded by friends he grew up playing with (and are still working towards their dream of playing in the NHL) and other local players.
When our BostonBruins.com crew caught up with him Wednesday in Los Angeles for a #BearTracks summer road trip, he had the chance to look back at his year and being able to share the experiences with his friends back in Cali.
BostonBruins.com - #BearTracks is back! For the past few summers, the BostonBruins.com crew has driven and flown across the country, and up north to Canada to visit the Bruins in their hometowns during the offseason.
The trips have taken us to see Patrice Bergeron in Quebec City, Brad Marchand in Halifax, Gregory Campebll in Tillsonburg, Adam McQuaid in P.E.I., and Milan Lucic in Vancouver, among other players and stops along the way.
Along the way, the players have shared their hometowns and their stories with fans, of who they were when they were younger and the places that shaped them, long before they became Bruins.
The visits have helped fill the time during those long summer, offseason months, when all of the training is done away from cameras and away from Boston.
In the summer of 2014, #BearTracks is taking us to a place where we usually only see the inside of the Staples Center: Los Angeles.
Defenseman Kevan Miller grew up in Santa Clarita, California and lived in LA until he was 16, when he left to attend Berkshire School in Western Massachusetts.
The 26-year-old Miller saw his NHL dream realized just this past season, when he made his debut with the Bruins on November 21, 2013 against St. Louis.
BostonBruins.com — Last year was a year of transition for Justin Florek, a year of change and a year of growth.
During the season, Florek managed to make his mark with the big club. In the offseason, the goal was to make sure he would have the opportunity to continue to do so for another year.
On Friday, the Bruins agreed to terms with Florek, signing the Michigan-born forward to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level and $90,000 at the AHL level.
“It’s amazing, and it’s another step in the right direction and a dream come true for me,” Florek said on Friday. “Boston is just a great city and a great hockey city and organization, and I am really looking forward to the opportunity to get another chance to play for Boston.”
Florek spent the bulk of the 2013-14 season in Providence, playing in 69 games and registering 19 goals and 19 assists for 38 points with a plus-17 rating. He also played in four regular-season games with the Boston Bruins, tallying a goal and an assist.