BOLTON, Mass. - Every September, the Boston Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament marks the unofficial start to the new season.
On Monday at The International Golf Course, Bruins past and present gathered for the 12th annual charity tournament, with alumni like Ray Bourque and Rick Middleton sharing the course with the current roster.
“It’s nice to have everybody back,” said Captain Zdeno Chara. “It’s a week where we’re all going to start and obviously Thursday’s a big day, but before you know it, we’re going to play the first preseason game on Sunday, so it’s right around the corner.”
On Thursday, players will report to TD Garden for off-ice testing and the intensity will ramp up with the opening of training camp. But first, a relaxing day on the golf course was in order.
“This is great for the community, great for everybody,” Chara said of the tournament. “We all enjoy participating in events like this, where it’s kind of a last chance to relax before training camp starts and it’s a part of bonding I would say - interacting with the fans and people participating in this golf tournament. I think it’s just a great event.”
BOLTON, Mass. - David Krejci was limited to just 47 games in 2014-15.
This season, he’s hoping for less injury trouble and a healthier start.
Luckily, Krejci didn’t have to undergo any offseason surgery, took a couple of weeks off after the season ended in April and was back to working out with no limitations.
“Off the ice, in the gym, everything was fine,” Krejci said Monday at the Boston Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament at The International Golf Course before hitting the links. “I’ve been skating for a little over a month now and felt good on the ice, so there shouldn’t be any reason why I shouldn’t be 100 percent.”
Training camp opens this week on Thursday, Sept. 17 with off-ice testing before on-ice sessions begin Friday.
The center is anxious for a clean slate. Thirty-one points off seven goals and 24 assists through 47 games isn’t exactly the way he wants to contribute to his team. He wants to offer much more.
WILMINGTON — Kevan Miller entered 2014-15 ready to tackle his first full NHL season.
After climbing the ranks through a four-year college career at Vermont, signing with the Black and Gold as a free agent and biding his time working hard in Providence for two seasons, he first got his shot in 2013-14 when Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg faced injury trouble.
He earned a new two-year deal and played 47 games with Boston that season. After seeing his first NHL postseason action in 2014, the hard-nosed defenseman was primed for a full 82-game season at the NHL level.
But as so often happens, circumstances didn't pan out as Miller - and the team - would have liked.
Less than two weeks into the season, Miller dislocated his right shoulder at the end of a fight (Oct. 18 in Buffalo) and was sidelined for a month.
That frustration at the start spread to the ending for Miller, too, when he re-injured his shoulder towards the end of February and had to undergo season-ending surgery.
“I mean, as unfortunate as it was that it happened, it happened at a good time rather than at the end of the season,” Miller said of the surgery. He was speaking with reporters after his first informal practice back with the team at Ristuccia Arena on Friday, having returned to Boston from his offseason home in Valencia, Calif.
WILMINGTON — Ryan Spooner will take part in his sixth training camp with Boston next week.
The centerman signed a two-year extension with the club back in July as a restricted free agent - his first one-way deal.
For the first time since being drafted 45th overall by the Bruins in 2010, the 23-year-old will be entering camp with solid footing for his speedy legs.
“In the past, I’d say, four years, the team wasn’t set but you kind of had an idea,” said Spooner, who made his first appearance at Bruins informal practice on Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena, before main camp opens Sept. 17. “ But just going into the season, we’re not really sure what’s going to happen.”
This camp is bound to be one of the most intriguing since Spooner become a member of the organization. There are spots open, new faces all around and young players - including himself - expected to make an impact.
WILMINGTON — Brett Connolly made his first appearance at Bruins' informal practice on Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena, and already began fielding questions about who his linemates might be for the upcoming 2015-16 season.
“It starts already, eh?” he joked as the media settled in with recorders and microphones.
There is a greater spotlight on Connolly now than there was on March 1, when Boston acquired the forward from Tampa Bay before the trade deadline.
“You know what, I think we’ll see kind of where I fit,” the right winger answered to the group of reporters gathered around him in the locker room.
“They will trying a bunch of different things at training camp and trying to find guys that work together well and there’s a lot of spots and a lot of places where I could slot in,” said Connolly. “So I’ve got to have a good training camp, have a good start and get the ball rolling.”
WILMINGTON, Mass. - The Bruins will have a younger team this season than they did in 2014-15. General Manager Don Sweeney has had his sights set on that since being hired in May.
Chris Kelly is on board.
“That’s hockey. I think that’s for every team, you know, very rarely do you see a team just keep getting older and older and older,” the alternate captain smiled following an informal practice at Ristuccia Arena on Thursday.
“Yeah, you have players that get older, but there’s always new young guys that come in and filter in. That’s the great thing about hockey; regardless of the age, you always feel like you’re 24.”
“You know, if you’re  like David [Pastrnak], you’d think he was 24 because he’s way more mature than I think most  year-olds. But if you’re older,” he paused, jokingly lifting his head to glance at 34-year-old defenseman Dennis Seidenberg’s locker room stall. “Like Seids, you know, you’d think Seids is 24.”
“So I think age is such a mindset, a label that is put on players,” said the 34-year-old Kelly. “But I feel good with the young and the old guys that are mixing and gelling.”
WILMINGTON, Mass. - While it has been an offseason of change for the Black and Gold, some things never change - like Tuukka Rask pulling out stops on the ice and his teammates jokingly erupting into cheers during practice when they are able put pucks past him.
Such has been the case at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass., where a small group of Bruins have started gathering for informal practices led by Captain Zdeno Chara. The first skate took place on Monday, Aug. 31.
The tone is relaxed, though there is no shortage of competition.
There’s an air of optimism around this time of year. Players start returning and new teammates meet. There are no losses yet, just wins yet to come.
Rask was especially upbeat and smiling after Tuesday’s informal skate, when he spoke with local reporters in the locker room.
Nearly five months have passed since the team’s disappointing end to the season. This Rask was much different than the frustrated one who spoke back in April.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Five months from now, the field at Gillette Stadium will be transformed into an ice rink, with close to 70,000 fans in attendance on Jan. 1, 2016 for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens.
On July 29, with the scorching summer heat in full effect, the NHL held a press event at Gillette Stadium featuring Bruins, Canadiens and League personnel, along with New England Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft.
Even with the 90-degree temperatures on the field, it was not hard to imagine how historic New Year’s Day will be, with the two historic franchises meeting for what will be the 910th time.
The very first meeting between the rivals came on Dec. 8, 1924 at the old Boston Arena. Even amidst endless regular season and playoff games, the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will mark the first time the teams are playing each other outdoors.
BostonBruins.com - The puck will drop on the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® in about five months at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass, when the Bruins face off against the Montreal Canadiens on New Year’s Day.
In anticipation of the outdoor game between the two longtime rivals, the NHL is hosting a press event at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, July 29.
The event, which is slated to begin at 2:00 p.m. ET, will feature League personnel, as well as representatives from the Bruins and Canadiens.
Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs will be on hand, along with Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs, Bruins President Cam Neely, Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney, New England Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, and Bruins players Patrice Bergeron, Torey Krug and Jimmy Hayes.
WILMINGTON, Mass. - The Bruins’ ninth annual Development Camp continued on Wednesday with the second day of on-ice sessions at Ristuccia Arena.
Following the first day of camp, Bruins Development Coach Jay Pandolfo stressed the difficulty in judging the players right away, especially with intense off-ice testing affecting their energy on the ice.
As the camp goes along, it presents more of an opportunity for the prospects to showcase their skills on the ice to the Bruins’ management and scouts, fans and media.
Wednesday saw the roster of 37 players separated into two groups, with each spending an hour and a half on the ice. The first half of the session consisted of skills work with forwards and defensemen at opposite ends of the ice. Dynamic Skating’s Kim Brandvold ran the prospects through various power skating drills, while the other coaches set up battling and one-on-one drills and shots from the blueline for the defensemen.