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.
BostonBruins.com - Tuukka Rask will be a Boston Bruin between the pipes until at least the 2020-21 season.
After signing a new, eight-year contract with the Black & Gold, the goaltender addressed media via conference call on Thursday from Finland, where he's relaxing and regrouping for the 2013-14 season, one that will mark the first of his long-term status. The contract comes on the heels of a solidifying season, in which he took the reigns of the No. 1 role.
Rask gave opening remarks, first and foremost, thanking the organization for giving him the opportunity to be a Bruin in the first place.
"We all know it’s a huge honor to play for the Bruins and I’ve had such a great time throughout my years with the Bruins," he said. "I’m looking forward to keep that going and hopefully bring the Cup back to Boston where it belongs."
Before the long-term deal, Rask had infamously said it would be ideal, of course, to be a Bruin "forever."
BostonBruins.com - During a conference call with media regarding Tuukka Rask's new eight-year deal on Thursday afternoon, GM Peter Chiarelli told media that the Bruins are "very close" on a contract extension for alternate captain Patrice Bergeron.
"Last [conference] call, we were very close with Tuukka and Bergy, and we’re very, very close now," Chiarelli presumably smiled through the phone.
We know it's coming soon. And whenever ever it does indeed happen, Head Coach Claude Julien, who also spoke with reporters Thursday, knows it will come with grand fanfare.
"Probably the same thing it means to you and the fans," Julien told media, when asked what Bergeron's extension would mean to him. "He’s such an elite player for what he does and I don't know that there’s too many guys in this league that does what he does as well as him."
WILMINGTON, MA - The second day of the Bruins' seventh annual Development Camp kicked off today, with the 24 prospects hitting the ice for long sessions of stickhandling work.
In between sessions, Bruins' Head Coach Claude Julien addressed the slew of media gathered at Ristuccia Arena for camp.
Julien, along with his assistant coaches, and nearly the B's entire scouting, management and coaching staff has been perched on the top bench of the arena for the past two days, peering down, watching the prospects closely.
But on Thursday, there was more news to discuss than just the latest crop of Bruins' hopefuls making their way through drills.
Here's a look at what was discussed...