BOSTON, MA -- It just got approved and the itinerary is still in flux, but the BostonBruins.com and bostonbruinsTV crew is going back on the road to catch up with some more members of the Black & Gold!
This time out, the minivan will head south to meet up with Torey Krug in Connecticut and then head back north to the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) to spend some time with Gregory Campbell, Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin.
Obviously, last year we had a chance to visit the boys in Ontario, but just like we did when we visited Brad Marchand in Nova Scotia, Adam McQuaid in Prince Edward Island or Patrice Bergeron and Jordan Caron in Quebec, we thought there was plenty of material left in Canada.
And, after spending a big chunk of Development Camp with Mr. Krug, it'll be great to see how the former Spartan has adjusted to summertime in New England.
So, with that in mind we are hitting the road again this Friday, August 17th and we want to take you along with us as we traverse New England, New York State and Ontario.
You can follow our progress here and on Twitter (@NHLBruins) throughout the trip and through our final stop back in Lowell, MA for Milan Lucic's Rock and Jock Softball game on Wednesday, August 22nd.
Just like during our trip in July, we'll be counting on our fans throughout Ontario and New England to help get us around, so please make sure to send comments, questions and suggestions to us via @NHLBruins or here on the blog.
Sights around historic Quebec City, Patrice Bergeron's home away from Boston.
QUEBEC CITY, Quebec -- It might be famous for its fortifications, but Quebec City's walls hold no metaphorical value in terms of its people, whose hospitality seems boundless.
Case(s) in point: the capital of le belle province boasts two Bruins as current inhabitants, and both Patrice Bergeron and Jordan Caron's willingness to show us around their home away from Boston was yet another major impetus to our packing up computer and camera to head north.
Like their B's brethren in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, both Bergeron and Caron showed immense pride in being from their province and went out of their way to make sure that bostonbruinsTV's cameras captured the essence of their home.
And hey, let's face it, after watching the Bruins Beat footage from Halifax, NS and Charlottetown/Cornwall, PEI, there might just have been a little bit of intra-Canadian competition brewing, too.
"I guess my favorite thing just for the city itself is probably old Quebec," said Bergeron, who was born in nearby Ancienne-lorette. "The way that we kept it as it is with all the history behind it.
"I’m very proud of that and I think everyone takes pride in it."
Although Caron grew up about four hours north of here, in rural Sayabec, that same pride in his Quebecois roots was apparent, as well.
"It’s a small town – like 2,000 people," explained Caron. "It’s a half hour from Rimouski.
"There’s a lot of farm, a lot of woods…there’s a lake; nice little houses by the lake, and you can go fishing - stuff like that.
"It’s always nice to go there and just relax," he said.
But the relaxing setting wasn't necessarily apparent as Caron worked toward a career in hockey and he thinks his upbringing in the Quebec countryside led him to the NHL.
"Well, there’s not much to do [in the winter] except playing hockey where I’m from," laughed Caron about the less than nice winters here. "I had to drive up to school for 30-minutes, because that’s where my team was and then I went to school there.
"I was driving up in the morning and then coming back for dinner, so I didn’t have much time to do anything else than playing hockey."
Bergeron may have lived closer to the big city, but he also thinks that the culture in greater Quebec and around Quebec City certainly influenced his career.
"Yeah I think so. I mean growing up in Quebec city back in the nineties the Nordiques were a big part of our culture and hockey was a huge part of our culture," said Bergeron. "Now that they’re gone, the hockey culture and hockey community is still there; people still love the game it’s still part of our childhood.
"That’s what we saw today," added Bergeron of the many children who sought out Patrice and Jordan as they worked through their off-ice and on-ice practices.
"They want to learn and they want to improve and they just love the game.
"I think it’s neat to see that," added Bergeron. "Kids need that when they grow up –- is to have a passion and to have a goal and to go for it."
Big kids need goals (on and off the ice, too) and Bergeron and Caron made their desires clear both in their words and their actions on the football field and in the rink.
"I didn’t have the chance to play in the playoffs two years ago, but…I was there and I saw everything and it makes me want to be a part of it," said Caron. "It wasn’t fun this year coming back [home] after the first round, and it makes you want to go all the way again."
Bergeron's smile, which had been omnipresent since the pair finished their workouts, diminished when he talked about last spring's short playoff run.
"Well obviously there’s some unfinished business when you’re done in the first round and that’s something that you want to bring in your workouts and bring over the summer and try to work on things and get better," said Patrice. "You want to be hungrier when you come to training camp and obviously during the season.
"You know, it’s a long season but it’s something that you want to accomplish again," continued Bergeron. "Winning the Cup in 2011 was something very special, a dream come true, but once you taste it you want more and you want to relive it because it’s the best feeling ever and that’s the only feeling that you’re satisfied."
Porte St. Jean. bostonbruinsTV made it to Quebec City to visit 37 & 38.
CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island -- My understanding of the B's Adam McQuaid was perfectly illustrated during a drive from Charlottetown to Cornwall on a blustery, rainy afternoon.
I asked the defenseman if his career had been enhanced by his upbringing on Prince Edward Island and he looked out the window of his truck, noticed farmers working out in the open on a nasty day and said, earnestly, with a slight shrug, "When you see these guys working in the fields on a rainy day, it makes it seem pretty easy to give 100% and leave it all on the ice."
None of that exchange was surprising to these ears or eyes, but the setting of the statement just underlined the blueliner's obvious love of this island and it's population as well as McQuaid's own desire to be true to his roots.
"I don’t do the touristy thing too much myself, but when people come here from away they’re always commenting on how beautiful everything is, how well everything’s kept up," said McQuaid. "It’s the birthplace of the confederation so there’s a lot of history here.
"I think people that are from here take pride in being from here and representing ourselves well. So I try and be welcoming to visitors when they’re here."
McQuaid always represents his home very well and he and his family were extraordinarily welcoming to a weary bostonbruinsTV crew invited into their home. But before we all sat down to a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings care of McQuaid's mother Dianne, Adam made sure we got an eyeful of his hometown of Cornwall and the nearby city of Charlottetown.
"There’s a lot of history, a lot of neat little restaurants and boutiques and stuff," said McQuaid. "It’s a fairly laid back feeling and I’m pretty lucky that I train right downtown [in Charlottetown] so, most days, after a workout we look forward to picking a different spot to go for lunch.
"When you're exhausted at the end of the day, it’s nice to go just relax and get a good meal."
It's also nice to read a good book, and while I'm pretty sure Adam hasn't picked up Anne of Green Gables too recently, he talked at length of the famous novel's setting in and around his home.
"Lucy Maud Montgomery…she’s from the island and she wrote the book," he said. "It's just a fictional book, but it’s funny - you get a lot of people that come to the island that want to see the exact locations that the book took place.
"It’s pretty well known around the world and something that a lot of people associate the island with."
Despite the storybook setting, P.E.I., thanks in large part to the modern architecture of Charlottetown mixed into a historic setting, also has a vibrant modern feel, too - a true testament to its people, who, like Adam McQuaid, seem very able to make an impact on the mainland, while keeping one foot firmly planted in the old fashioned, hard-working traditions of this island.
And even though McQuaid said he never felt as if he "shined" as a youth while playing on the island's rinks, as Adam talked about his rigorous offseason workout routine, which includes almost daily off-ice, weight training and on-ice components, his own hardscrabble mentality shone through.
"Getting out to the track a couple times a week and then the gym and then getting on the ice - sometimes they can be long days," said McQuaid. "But it’s worth it when you come to camp and you’re ready to go."
From where I sit, Adam is always ready to go, and a new display at his old rink in Cornwall speaks volumes to visitors who wonder about his roots.
But McQuaid's own reaction to seeing that commemoration for the first time said it all.
"You never expect something like this..."
Maybe, Adam. But it's a safe bet that your friends and family on Prince Edward Island certainly did.
A more aerodynamic Quaider? AM54 starts the day working hard at the track.
RIP McQuaid Mullet. Adam said: "I'm actually due for a haircut!"
"Welcome to Charlottetown," says Sir John Macdonald, first Prime Minister of Canada.
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – Thanks to numerous preseason games in the Metro Centre, for those of us working on the Bruins travel party -- and especially those of us who traveled hither and yon to cover the B’s Cup parties last summer -- Halifax has become a veritable home away from home.
But for Brad Marchand, Halifax is home and the B’s forward intends to make Nova Scotia his offseason base for the foreseeable future.
“It’s nice,” said Marchand, as he drove through the city’s streets after a brutal day-starting workout. “I live outside of town so I can come in and do my training and then, for the most part, I’m with my family the rest of the days."
“It makes being home really nice.”
His family -- and his neighbors -- make it the ideal location to recoup and regroup after the hockey season.
“For sure,” said Brad. “It’s always a lot easier when you have people around you supporting you.”
For Marchand, who is away for much of the year, having his family around is important.
“As we get older my siblings have more that they have to do, too. More responsibilities,” explained the forward. “So we do our best to spend time together.
“But the summers – you really have to dedicate it to your training and making sure you’re doing the right things for your body. So, you do have to focus on putting those first, those priorities first.
“But at the same time all that other free time goes to family and friends.”
As Brad spoke about his home base in Halifax, and his memories of last summer, he sounded as if he were talking about another old friend.
“Halifax is a big hockey city,” he said. “Everyone loves the game here and really enjoys anyone who has had success.
“There’s a lot of support for those people so we just knew that after winning the Cup it was definitely going to have to be a priority to share it as much as we could with the city and allow them to spend time and enjoy it as well.
“That’s what we did and everyone really enjoyed it, so it worked out great."