WILMINGTON, MA - The 2014 Bruins Rookie Camp presented by AT&T kicked off on Thursday with off-ice testing and an on-ice session at Ristuccia Arena for the 22 players participating.
The camp shifts to Tennessee on Friday for a tournament hosted by the Nashville Predators, with Bruins' rookies competing against Nashville, Tampa Bay and Florida rookies.
This time serves as an evaluation tool for Boston. It's a step up from the club's development camp that takes place in July. That's about getting comfortable and making an impression; this is about competition.
It's also the first official order of business for the Bruins to begin the lead-up to the 2014-15 season.
"It's an exciting time. Obviously, it kicks off a training camp environment," said Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney, following the first day of action. "These guys have worked hard to earn an opportunity to come. We talked a lot about opportunity [with them], with the organization itself and the competitiveness."
"[This is] about jobs now, and your career and the path you're choosing as a professional hockey player. So, it's time to put your best foot forward."
BostonBruins.com - Like his teammates, Brad Marchand didn't want to spend the summer dwelling on what happened last year.
"I wanted to focus more on how we can improve and get better, and I think that’s the goal every summer," Marchand said Tuesday following his first informal practice back at Ristuccia Arena.
"I think I had good summer training - lots of rest, we had a lot of time off and I’m really excited to get the season going."
Marchand may not dwell on last season, but the way it played out for him and the Bruins is what sparked a shift in his offseason training.
"I felt like my conditioning had to be up a bit, I thought that was where I kind of struggled last year," said the winger. "So I tried to focus a little more on that and more on mental aspects of the game, and hopefully that’ll help me improve."
While Marchand posted the second highest goal (25) and point (53) totals of his NHL career in 2013-14, along with a career-best 28 assists through his first full 82-game season, the forward faced inconsistency.
WILMINGTON, MA - The group for informal practices is growing larger at Ristuccia Arena, as players continue to filter back to the Boston area before rookie camp begins on September 11 and training camp opens on September 18.
Krejci had spoken with reporters at TD Garden on Monday afternoon upon returning to Boston from the Czech Republic, but he had not yet skated with his teammates. Tuesday gave him that opportunity.
Milan Lucic has been skating mostly on his own, but Tuesday's informal practice marked his first time staying on the ice for the full session. He's heading into training camp following offseason surgery on his left wrist. He did not appear limited.
The practice also saw Lucic, Krejci and Loui Eriksson all on the ice together at Ristuccia Arena for the first time since returning to Boston. Eriksson has an opportunity to earn the open spot on Krejci's right wing during training camp. Though the trio played a couple of games together at the end of the 2013-14 regular season, these informal practices will give them a chance to test their chemistry.
BOSTON, MA - David Krejci has arrived back in Boston for the 2014-15 season, having signed a six-year contract extension that keeps him a Bruin through the 2020-21 season.
On Monday afternoon, he met with media in front of his locker room stall at TD Garden, politely spending 15 minutes answering questions about the contract, the upcoming season and a summer full of training.
Krejci was being Krejci. The Czech was soft-spoken, honest with his words, and even smiled and bantered back and forth with reporters, in his usual thick accent. He was comfortable, and he had plenty of reasons to be.
"It’s awesome, you know, that they believe in you, that they trust you - that means a lot. You just go out there and play the game," Krejci said, of the commitment shown by the Bruins and General Manager Peter Chiarelli with the new contract. "You don’t think about anything else."
"To have Peter, Cam [Neely], and the whole organization behind me, that’s awesome, that’s perfect."
Krejci joins Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask as Bruins signed through at least the 2020-21 season. Bergeron and Rask signed eight-year contract extensions last summer. Bergeron's deal goes through 2021-22. Zdeno Chara's current seven-year deal runs through 2017-18.
WILMINGTON, MA - A group of Bruins and Providence Bruins was back on the ice at Ristuccia Arena on Monday morning for informal practice.
Johnny Boychuk was the latest veteran to return to Boston and join in the skate. Forwards Jordan Caron and Matt Lindblad were also newcomers, in addition to Providence Bruins' defenseman Frankie Simonelli (signed to an AHL deal).
Milan Lucic skated on his own prior to the practice. He's coming off surgery on his left wrist in the offseason. He has yet to take part in a full skate with the group, but has been on the ice, stickhandling, passing and shooting.
Monday's full group included forwards Caron, Lindblad, Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly, Carl Soderberg, Loui Eriksson, Matt Fraser, Justin Florek, Bobby Robins, Alex Fallstrom, David Pastrnak and Brian Ferlin, along Cory Kane, who is signed to an AHL deal.
WILMINGTON, MA - Heading into the offseason, General Manager Peter Chiarelli and his staff had a host of decisions to make for the 2014-15 season.
Beginning with the draft and free agency, the Bruins' brass began to work their way through that process.
With the departure of unrestricted free agents Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton, the Bruins knew they would have openings to fill on the right side. Heading into training camp, Loui Eriksson has been pegged as having an opportunity to earn the right wing role alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
The bottom six will fill out with competition from young players like Matt Fraser, Justin Florek, Ryan Spooner, Jordan Caron, Alexander Khokhlachev, Matt Lindblad and David Pastrnak, among others. Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell could be asked to take on different roles, whether that means playing an off-wing or moving from center to the wing.
With nine NHL-caliber defensemen signed for 2014-15 and all competing for roster spots, that situation will play out during camp.
This summer, the Bruins re-signed a number of restricted free agents. Fraser was the latest contract to be announced.
But there was one deal that was top of mind for Chiarelli heading into the offseason, even if it doesn't affect the Bruins' salary cap situation for 2014-15: Krejci's extension.
On September 4, the Bruins signed the alternate captain to a six-year contract extension through the 2020-21 season, keeping him in the Spoked-B for seven more seasons along with Patrice Bergeron (signed through 2021-22) and Tuukka Rask (signed through 2020-21).
WILMINGTON, MA - Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced to media on Friday that forward Matt Fraser has been signed to a one-year, two-way contract.
Fraser was a restricted free agent. He made his first appearance at the Bruins' informal practice on Friday at Ristuccia Arena.
The winger appeared in 14 games for the Bruins last season, in addition to playing the first four Stanley Cup Playoff games of his career and scoring the overtime game-winner in Game 4 against Montreal to even the series. He played through a broken right foot in the series.
Following the informal skate, Fraser said that he's ready to go for training camp, though he had to make modifications to his offseason training after surgery. He had a plate and six screws inserted.
Chairelli also disclosed that defenseman Steve Eminger has been signed to an AHL deal with the Providence Bruins, and will be attending training camp with Boston. He's been skating at the informal practices all week.
WILMINGTON, MA - Milan Lucic was the latest Bruin to make an appearance during informal practice at Ristuccia Arena on Thursday.
Bruins and Providence Bruins alike have been holding informal skates all week and will continue to do so until training camp opens on September 18.
Lucic underwent offseason surgery in May on his left wrist after it was slashed during the playoffs. While he has not yet addressed the Boston media about his offseason and the status of his wrist, Lucic has been skating and stickhandling for the past two days (he skated on his own on Wednesday before the group).
Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Daniel Paille and Loui Eriksson were not on the ice for Thursday's practice. With no official practices and workouts until training camp opens, the Bruins are still amidst their individual training routines.
As such, Thursday's group included Lucic, Chris Kelly, Tuukka Rask, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid, David Warsofsky, Zach Trotman, Justin Florek, David Pastrnak, Brian Ferlin, Bobby Robins, Tommy Cross, Cory Kane, Andrew Ammon and newcomer Alex Fallstrom.
BostonBruins.com - The Bruins have locked up David Krejci through the 2020-21 season, with a six-year contract extension officially announced by the team on Thursday.
Krejci's salary will be worth an annual cap hit of $7.25 million, when his next contract kicks in for the 2015-16 season. He has one year left on his current three-year deal. He would have become an unrestricted free agent in July.
The center will speak with media regarding the extension on Monday at 3:00 p.m. ET when he's back in Boston. General Manager Peter Chiarelli is addressing the media on Friday morning at 11:00 a.m.
BostonBruins.com - A look at Chris Kelly's game-by-game summary from 2013-14 shows a lengthy gap in the middle of the season. Instead of a statline and ice-time, the letters "INJ" sit next to a list of 22 games from December through January.
But the injury that kept Kelly out for those two midseason months - a broken fibula in his right lower leg - didn't take a toll on him as much as the injury that forced him to miss the entire 2014 postseason.
The alternate captain was sidelined by a herniated disk in his back at the end of the regular season, and never had the chance to suit up for the playoffs. He had back surgery to repair it in May.
"It was probably one of the worst pains I’ve ever had," Kelly said Wednesday following the Bruins' informal practice at Ristuccia Arena. The captain-led practices are taking place before training camp begins on September 18.
"I’ve broken a lot of bones, separated shoulders, but this just kind of crippled me."
Kelly tried to work towards a return during the posteason, but he realized he was fooling himself. The atrophy in his leg caused by the herniated disk was too great; he couldn't get back to playing.
It was night and day for the forward post-surgery. He felt great afterwards. But there was one caveat before getting back into his training routine in his offseason home of Ottawa: six weeks of doing absolutely nothing.