ANTIOCH, TN - As the Bruins' rookies have been showcasing themselves in Tennessee during a three-game tournament, General Manager Peter Chiarelli has been perched up top, watching their every move.
The GM's focus, though, isn't only on watching the young prospects prove themselves to the Bruins' brass.
Boston's main camp opens on September 18, and Chiarelli still needs to fill out his 2014-15 roster.
The Bruins re-signed several restricted and unrestricted free agents in the offseason who will fill out the competition at training camp, including Niklas Svedberg, who will push for the backup role behind Tuukka Rask, defensemen Matt Bartkowski and David Warsofsky, and forwards like Justin Florek, Jordan Caron, Craig Cunningham and Matt Fraser, who will all ramp up the competition up front.
David Krejci, who was set to enter a contract year, was signed to a six-year contract extension - a deal that Chiarelli deemed his top priority of the summer.
ANTIOCH, TN - The Bruins' rookies fell to Tampa Bay 3-2 in overtime on Sunday in their second game of the Nashville Predators Rookie Tournament at Ford Ice Center.
Center Ben Sexton gave Boston its first goal of the tournament to put the Black & Gold up 1-0 in the first period. After Sexton was kicked out of the faceoff, Matt Lindblad won the draw cleanly back to the forward, who quickly released a shot from the top of the circle. Lindblad called the play. It came on Boston's second shot of the game.
Sexton is entering his first full season as a pro. He finished up his fourth season with Clarkson University in 2013-14, before being signed to an entry-level contract in March and playing nine games with the Providence Bruins.
"He's come to camp in terrific shape," General Manager Peter Chiarelli said of the gritty two-way center, when he addressed media during the first intermission in Tennessee.
With the score knotted at 1-1 after the second period, Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead in the third. The goals came from Michael Aviani and Cody Kunyk.
Defenseman Frankie Simonelli - signed to an AHL deal with Providence - ripped in a shot past Tampa Bay goalie Kristers Gudlevskis from inside the blueline to tie it up 2-2 in the final frame, eventually sending the game to a seven-minute overtime period.
Brian Ferlin powered down the wing early in the extra frame and nearly made the cut towards the goal. After losing possession, he sped up ice on the backcheck, only to pick the puck up off a turnover and head back the other way on a breakaway. His legs were gone, though, and the defender caught him.
ANTIOCH, TN - The puck dropped on the Nashville Predators' Rookie Tournament Saturday at the Ford Ice Center, with the Bruins' rookies facing the Panthers' rookies in the first tilt.
Boston ended up falling 2-0 to Florida, with Malcolm Subban stopping 19 of 21 shots.
The group wasn't too thrilled with the outcome and starting the weekend off with a loss, but two more games still await. The Bruins' rookies play Tampa Bay on Sunday and Nashville on Tuesday.
Boston had most of the chances throughout the game, with 30 total shots to Florida's 21. Subban only faced three shots in the first period.
ANTIOCH, TN - The Bruins' prospects kick off the Nashville Predators Rookie Tournament today at the Ford Ice Center with a 1:00 p.m. (2:00 ET) game against the Florida Panthers rookies.
The team arrived on Friday and hit the ice for a practice in preparation for the tournament, which is part of the 2014 Bruins Rookie Camp, presented by AT&T. Providence Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy and Assistant Coach Kevin Dean are at the helm behind the bench, with Goalie Coach Bob Essensa also on the trip.
The Bruins' 22-player roster features 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders. Eight players competed in last year's rookie tournament put on by the Panthers in Sunrise, Fl., including Anthony Camara, Mitchell Dempsey, Alex Fallstrom, Seth Griffith, Matt Lindblad, Chris Casto, Adam Morrison and Malcolm Subban.
Prospects like Brian Ferlin, David Pastrnak and Linus Arnesson have worn the Spoked-B during development camp, but have never suited up in real game action wearing the Black & Gold. Ben Sexton wore the P-Bruins Black & Gold at the end of the 2013-14 season, but like Ferlin, this marks his first ever rookie tournament with the club.
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).