BostonBruins.com - Considering the laundry list of injuries we learned were plaguing Patrice Bergeron at the end of last season, it seems there can never be enough updates from the Bruins' alternate captain on his health heading into Training Camp.
The verdict? No setbacks, and still on track as camp inches closer and closer, set to begin this coming Wednesday, September 11.
Bergeron has not been able to join his teammates yet for Captain's Practices at the B's practice facility, Ristuccia Arena, in Wilmington, MA. He returned to Boston Wednesday from his native Quebec, but had to jet off to New York City for the annual NHL Player Media Tour, a two-day affair with photos shoots, interviews and publicity to aid in the League's marketing and promotion for 2013-14.
"I'm looking forward, first of all, to being back and seeing the guys in Boston," Bergeron told me via phone from New York City on Thursday.
WILMINGTON, MA - It had been roughly four months since we had seen Gregory Campbell on the ice, skating with his teammates. When Thursday's Captain's Practice rolled around, there was Campbell, heading out of the B's locker room and hitting the ice at Ristuccia Arena, all smiles, just a step in front of Jarome Iginla.
It was a welcome sight for those in attendance, and his teammates felt the same.
"Seeing him out there today, he's finally smiling, so it's nice to see him and just have him in the room being himself and being part of the team and doing everything with us," said defenseman Johnny Boychuk, also taking part in the informal skates.
"It's nice to see and just great to have him back on the ice."
Campbell has been on a recovery path this summer since suffering a broken right leg on June 5, during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Following his surgery to repair the break on June 10, Campbell was optimistic.
"I'm fully expecting to be 100% at camp," he had said, with a cast on his leg and crutches nearby. "If you look at six to eight weeks, it puts me in mid July to late July, early August [when] I'll be back on my feet."
"Soupy" is certainly back on his feet, and that optimism has translated to the ice, with just under a week left until Training Camp officially kicks off on Wednesday, September 11.
Captain's Practice Notes
Campbell was one of the latest additions to the Captain's Practices at Ristuccia Arena, in addition to Jordan Caron, who no doubt has his eye on making the big club out of camp.
Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic, Jarome Iginla, Chris Kelly, Shawn Thornton, Dennis Seidenberg and Dougie Hamilton also participated in the skate, along with P-Bruins and recent additions to the organization Niklas Svedberg, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser, Carter Camper, Bobby Robins, Nick Johnson, Rob Flick and David Warsofsky.
Much of the talk heading into camp has been focused on the "young competition" that is expected to take place both for Boston's forward corps and the back end. (I can already sense that "healthy competition" will be the buzz word from players and media alike.)
Johnny Boychuk remembers what that experience was like. It's not too long ago, that he was trying to crack the B's roster.
"It does [take time] and when you get that chance, you have to take it, and do as well as you can," said the blueliner. "Because there's always somebody new coming up, trying to take your spot. It's always a competition and everyone pushes each other. It's healthy."
"We've got a lot of good, young players and it's going to be good competition for guys and everybody's just excited."
"There are some spots they could be fighting for, and will just make for better skates and better competition."
One of the top shutdown defenseman (should we still call him such, when he notched five more goals during the postseason than he did during 44 regular season games?), Boychuk knows that heading into camp, that competition for the lineup will only help fuel the veterans as well.
"I've played with [Andrew Ference] for the last couple years so it's going to be different playing with somebody else, besides Zee, but we've got these three young guys that are more than capable of stepping up and taking those minutes," said Boychuk.
"They're good players and it's going to be good competition for them, and it's just going to make everybody better."
BostonBruins.com - Loui Eriksson has been wearing the Black & Gold for two days now, during Captain's Practices at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, before training camp begins next Wednesday on September 11.
And for him, as it was for Jarome Iginla to newly don his new team's color scheme, it "feels really good."
On July 5, the blockbuster seven-player trade between Boston and Dallas featured Eriksson at the center of the deal. The 6-foot-2, 196-pound right winger racked up 501 NHL games in seven seasons with Dallas, notching 150 goals and 357 points, before coming to the Bruins.
Eriksson arrived in Boston on Saturday and Tuesday marked his second day on the ice with a number of his new teammates, including Brad Marchand, David Krejci Carl Soderberg, Tuukka Rask, Daniel Paille, Shawn Thornton, Dennis Seidenberg and fellow new Bruin, Jarome Iginla.
WILMINGTON, MA - We've reached the point during Captain's Practices, when you never know who will be next to walk out the players' locker room door at Ristuccia Arena and take to the ice.
On Tuesday, blueliners Johnny Boychuk and Torey Krug were the latest players in Black & Gold to join in the informal skates. New winger Matt Fraser, (acquired in the trade with Dallas in July) wearing No. 25 on the back of his helmet, donned the spoked-B for the first time, and goalie Niklas Svedberg joined Tuukka Rask between the pipes for the roughly hour-long session.
WILMINGTON, MA - Loui Eriksson has landed in Boston, and was donning the Black & Gold spoked-B during Captain's Practice Monday at Ristuccia Arena, when a group of 14 skaters took the ice before Boston's training camp kicks off next Wednesday, in eight days, on September 11.
We'll likely hear from the new Bruin within the next couple of weeks, on finally being in Boston after a much-anticipated arrival and how he's adjusting to his new team. And no one will be able to deny his excitement for being with the B's.
In July, when the seven-player blockbuster trade between Boston and Dallas took place, the winger waived his no-trade clause to become a Bruin.
"I talked to my family quick and it was kind of an easy decision for me to make that decision to go and play with Boston," Eriksson said back in July via conference call, following the trade.
"When I got the call it was Boston on the line, it was pretty persuasive for me to say yes to that because I know Boston is a good team and it’s a different chapter to go there and try to win games and try to go far in the playoffs and win the whole Cup. I think the match to go and play for Boston is really good - it will be fun."
BOSTON, MA - Stability. Trust. Stewardship. Proactive. Aggressive.
These are words that kept weaving themselves into the press conference on Friday morning to discuss General Manager Peter Chiarelli's four-year contract extension, that keeps him at the helm of the team's hockey operations until the 2017-18 season, at least.
Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs and President Cam Neely completed the trip of ownership, executive and management atop the podium who have established a credibility with the spoked-B that makes them a Stanley Cup contender year after year.
"He’s done a fantastic job as a GM since he’s been here and certainly deserves the extension," Neely started off the presser. "[We've] made the post season the last six years and one of the things we talked about here being a Boston Bruins is, not just making the postseason but competing for Stanley Cups. We’ve been to the finals twice, one as you know in 2011."
BostonBruins.com - Peter Chiarelli is heading into his eighth season as the General Manager of the Boston Bruins. He's only the seventh person in club history to ever be given that title, and he'll be keeping it for at least another four years, as the B's announced a contract extension on Thursday that keeps him overseeing the Black & Gold's hockey operations through the 2017-18 season.
Chiarelli has been the Bruins' GM since the summer of 2006 and with him at the helm, the Bruins have made the playoffs in the past six seasons, including the organization's first Stanley Cup in 39 years in 2011 and a second Final appearance in 2013.
Only two other B's General Managers - Art Ross and Milt Schmidt - have brought the Cup to Boston.
The GM's last extension was a multi-year deal he received in the June of 2009 that would have kept him in place through 2013-14.
BostonBruins.com - When the July 4th seven-player trade with Dallas was announced, most of the focus was on the proven NHL players in the mix - most notably, the B's acquisition of Loui Erkisson. But Boston acquired a trio of young prospects on that day as well that included winger Reilly Smith.
"He’s a slick player who will challenge for a spot on our team," Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli said of Smith.
"Kind of a silky smooth type of right winger, very smart, good vision."
Slick. Silky smooth. Speaking with forward for the first time since joining the B's organization, I wanted to see if he thought of himself in the same light.
"Yeah, I think I envision myself that way," said Smith. "I’m not a guy that’s going to beat most people up, but I try to help out my teammates, be a playmaker, and, when I get the opportunity to score, make sure it goes in the back of the net."
BostonBruins.com - When Jarome Iginla arrived to the Bruins' practice facility at Ristuccia Arena on Tuesday in Wilmington, MA, he put on his equipment, laced up his skates and pulled a black jersey over his head with the spoked-B on the front.
"It feels really good," said Iginla, who was there taking part in the B's "Captain's Practices" before training camp officially begins in 15 days on September 11.
"It felt good and it's great to be here at the facility and get a chance to meet some of the guys, and just starting it up again."
The new Bruin joined David Krejci, Daniel Paille, Tuukka Rask and Dennis Seidenberg out on the ice, as they ran through shooting, passing and battling drills. Iginla helped lead the group through a few sequences, and whether it was a smile while standing next to 'Seides' at the blueline, or a laugh while talking with Rask before the goalie skated off the ice, you could see him being acclimated into the group.
WILMINGTON, MA - There was a welcome sight on the ice Tuesday morning in Wilmington at Ristuccia Arena, the training home of the Bruins.
While organized practices won't begin until training camp in early September, a handful of Bruins, including Tuukka Rask, Daniel Paille, David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg and Jarome Iginla, hit the ice for an informal skate.
It marked the first time these eyes had seen Iginla in the spoked-B.
Shawn Thornton was also around the rink, presumably going through his off-ice training routine.
These dubbed "Captain's Practices" consist of mostly skill work on the ice, with shooting, passing and skating drills (along with the occasional battle drill). Depending on how many B's are in town or what stage a particular player is at in his summer conditioning, the time on the ice and the amount of drills can vary.