BostonBruins.com - The league announced today (July 19) that NHL players will be participating in the upcoming 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia,
The agreement was reached between the league and NHLPA with the International Ice Hockey Federation and International Olympic Committee.
The Olympic Break in the 2013-14 season will run from February 9-25. The preliminary round begins on February 12, with the gold-medal game slotted for February 23. NHL season play resumed on February 26.
"The National Hockey League features the most international player population in professional sports, and our outstanding athletes take tremendous pride in representing their homelands on the global stage," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in the league's press release announcing the agreement.
With the Olympics, the preseason schedule gets pushed up to September 13, with the regular season campaign opening on October 1 league-wide and on October 3 for the B's.
BostonBruins.com - The 2013-14 Bruins' schedule (as well as the entire NHL schedule) is out, and you can view it in its entirety by clicking here.
Seems like we just finished, doesn't it? Well, get your countdowns ready because Rookie Camp opens on September 3, Training Camp opens on September 11, preseason starts September 13, and the B's season kicks off on October 3 in Boston.
Have all of those dates written down? Good. Now I'll suggest a few more to make note of as well….
Before we go through a list of "notable dates," the biggest change heading into 2013-14 is the new divisional and conference format from geographical realignment that went into effect with the new CBA in January.
The NHL now has two eight-team divisions in the Eastern Conference and two seven-team divisions in the Western Conference. The Black & Gold remain in the East, but we say farewell to the Northeast Division.
The B's will be in the new "Atlantic Division" with Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Toronto.
BostonBruins.com - When the NHL Draft was all said and done this past June, just about a week after the end to the 2013 playoffs, the Bruins had drafted three players from Sweden's junior leagues.
You'd have to go back to 2005 to find three or more European players selected by the B's in a single draft year (from the Czech junior leagues), and back to 2004 to find the last player chosen from the Swedish leagues (Anton Hedman, Sweden 2nd Division).
Chiarelli, of course, knew the trio of players from their extensive draft meetings.
But the Black & Gold's seventh annual Development Camp last week in Wilmington gave General Manager Peter Chiarelli - and fans - a closer look at their style of play and potential.
"Well, it’s been awhile since we’ve had that many European players in one draft so I think I was watching them a little more closely just for that reason," said Chiarelli, of following them through the week at Dev Camp. "And I was happy with what I saw."
BostonBruins.com - Throughout the past week, we saw the next crop of B's hopefuls make their way through Development Camp, ending with a team-building day off the ice and out of their element on Thompson Island in the Boston Harbor.
During the six long days at camp, some prospects were experiencing the Bruins' culture for the first time; others had been through several camps before and had been exposed to the organization's core values, and the emphasis of both on and off ice professionalism.
Seeing the way the prospects carried themselves, and even improved throughout the week, it's easy to see how the Bruins' "team-mentality" trickles from the top down.
"We talk about, during the first part of the week, the culture of the Boston Bruins and being a family," said Bruins Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney.
"I think you should feel that as part of our group, now, whether it’s by invitation or whether or not you’ve been drafted and have returned here four times over."
BostonBruins.com - As I stood on a platform 60 feet in the air on the final day of Development Camp, atop an alpine tower full of climbing logs, ropes, twists and turns, I watched a stream of Bruins' prospects make their way through the tough course and up to the top, with the nearly 100-degree heat steaming down.
With the Bruins' seventh annual Dev Camp nearly in the books, the prospects had been through five days of tough running tests, off-ice fitness testing, on-ice workouts and scrimmages. They had learned about nutrition, strength and conditioning, and how to represent the organization off the ice. They had embraced every moment and left Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney impressed with their collective enthusiasm and effort.
So, when day No. 6 rolled around, the group of prospects also embraced a team-building day on Thompson Island in the Boston Harbor, about a 20-minute boat ride from downtown Boston.
"They sort of gave us the perfect setting, environment to close camp off. Nice, challenging day," said Sweeney of Thompson Island Outward Bound Professional, the non-profit organization that operates the island and its customized leadership, team-building programs for all ages.
THOMPSON ISLAND - After finishing up with the on-ice portion of Development Camp, the prospects traveled into Boston and out on the water for team-building activities on Thompson Island, part of the Boston Harbor Islands system.
In years past, the prospects have taken part in The Program, a military training based challenge that is physically grueling. This year, the "team bonding" time is happening on the final day of camp. On the island, they're taken through various challenges that test them with problem solving, leadership, and most importantly, teamwork.
"To serve and not to yield" is the motto for Thompson Island Outward Bound Professional, who organizes the programs for young kids, as well as specialized programs like the one today for the prospects.
Before the day started, the prospects were asked what they've learned this week throughout camp.
"Sky's the limit," said Anthony Camara. "You take out what you put in," added Wiley Sherman.
BostonBruins.com - In what is likely to be his final media availability before the preseason kicks back into gear, Bruins' General Manager Peter Chiarelli was content with where his club stood heading into 2013-14.
With the re-signing of Tuukka Rask and extension for Patrice Bergeron - both eight-year deals - complete, and the right side nearly filled out with the offseason additions of Loui Eriksson and Jarome Iginla, it doesn't appear that the Bruins will be making any more transactions this summer.
"We’re done for now," said Chiarelli from Ristuccia Arena on Sunday, where the last day of on-ice workouts for the prospects at Development Camp had wrapped up.
"There’s some little things that you need to take care of but nothing significant."
It was a busy end of the season for Chiarelli and his staff, going from the Stanley Cup Final, to the draft, trade with Dallas, free agency and into Development Camp. The GM was prepared for the busy offseason, though.
WILMINGTON, MA - As Development Camp hits Day 4, the prospects have now gone through session after session of on-ice drills and scrimmages, along with off-ice fitness testing.
On Saturday, the competitiveness began to reach a higher level, and the scrimmages and game-like situations showcased a quicker pace to the game. Most of the attendees haven't skated in weeks or even months, so as they get their legs under them, the tempo picks up as well.
"We’re here to develop skills and the off-ice [part of the game]," say Providence Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, who is helping lead the camp this week, said following Day 4's workouts.
"Scouts obviously love to see that to see what they’ve drafted and as coaches we like it, too."
The prospects are given a chance to display their skill sets on the ice, but they're also tested off the ice. They are faced with new challenges every day, and every day gets progressively harder.
BostonBruins.com - On Friday, General Manager Peter Chairelli announced that the Bruins Patrice Bergeron to an eight-year contract extension, that makes him a Boston Bruin until at least the 2021-22 season.
As voiced numerous times by everyone in the Bruins' organization, from Chiarelli, to Head Coach Claude Julien, to the assistant general managers, to his teammates, Bergeron epitomizes the spoked-B on and off the ice everyday. He's the model, the example they use, when described what they want in a Bruin.
The constant preaching came to fruition for the entire hockey world - and beyond - in the Stanley Cup Final, when Bergeron ended up playing through a broken rib and torn cartilage on his left side, along with a separated right shoulder, and a puncture in his lung.
When Bergeron and Chiarelli joined media on a conference call Friday to discuss the new extension, the alternate captain said his recovery for the aforementioned injuries is "going well."
BostonBruins.com - Patrice Bergeron has been a Boston Bruins for 10 years. Do you believe it? A decade in the Black & Gold.
Now, the 27-year-old leader will be wearing the spoked-B for at least nine more years.
Fresh off Tuukka Rask's new eight-year deal that was announced by General Manager Peter Chiarelli on Thursday, the Bruins signed Bergeron to an eight-year extension on Friday that will keep him a Bruin at least until the 2021-22 season.
The centerman still has a year left on his current three-year deal that was signed during the 2011 preseason, before the run to the Stanley Cup. The new contract will kick in for the 2014-15 season.
An eight-year deal is the longest length a contract can be in the NHL.