WILMINGTON, MA - It was a long summer for the Bruins. It came too soon, and couldn't end soon enough. They don't like it that way.
But when the Black and Gold reported for training camp on September 18, they came stronger and more refreshed after four long months of training.
When they hit the ice for their first formal practices on Friday at Ristuccia Arena, they were energized with a renewed purpose.
Bruins' bench boss Claude Julien had an up-close view, as he ran the on-ice sessions for four hours.
"I think the guys skated well, the work ethic was good, the energy level - the guys were excited to get back on the ice," Bruins' bench boss Claude Julien observed.
WILMINGTON, MA - The first day of on-ice sessions for the Boston Bruins Training Camp presented by AT&T kicked off on Friday.
The camp features a 52-player roster, split into two groups with a mix of veterans and prospects. Each group hits the ice for about two hours, with a break in the middle to resurface the ice.
All of the sessions had plenty of conditioning. The first half of the high-tempo, intense skate included one-on-ones and board battles. The second half featured system implementation and wrapped up with sprints.
Following Thursday's off-ice fitness testing and timed shuttle runs, and Friday's heavy skating, one might assume that the Bruins are feeling the effects of the first few days. Zdeno Chara dispelled that notion.
While nearly the entire group is healthy and ready to go, a few Bruins are still limited at the skates.
Milan Lucic looks like himself on the ice following offseason wrist surgery, but is still being cautious.
"He looked fine. I think it's going to be up to the trainers to kind of give me the heads up on when he should be ready [for games], but I think they're anticipating very soon," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told media following the skates.
Both restricted free agents, Krug and Smith remain unsigned.
"Won't comment on negotiations," General Manager Peter Chiarelli told media following the testing. "We want them in our mix. As it's been chronicled, we've never had that type of player not signed and not come to camp."
Chiarelli is entering his ninth season with Boston. His experience with players not reporting to camp stems from his time with Ottawa.
"I've been through a few of them in my time, so - they're not very pleasant, but that's what we have right now," he said.
In the days leading up to the opening of training camp, the GM had remained hopeful that both players would be in camp. When they'll be in camp, if at all, remains to be seen. The season officially opens for Boston on October 8.
"You know, in an ideal world - to have all of your players healthy and present, that would be ideal," Chiarelli said. "Younger players, older players, if they miss time, they're going to fall behind."
BOSTON - Bruins' alternate captain Patrice Bergeron was at TD Garden on Wednesday night, being honored by The Sports Museum during their 13th Annual "The Tradition." He was the recipient of the Community Service Award, presented to him by his friend Matt Brown.
The celebration of Boston sports has honored legends like Cam Neely and Larry Bird. For the past two years, a current Boston athlete who gives back to the community has also been recognized. The Patriots' Vince Wilfork was the first recipient of the service award in 2013.
"It means a lot - definitely a huge honor. Very grateful to get recognized like that," Bergeron said. "You know, it's definitely something I do, first and foremost, for the kids. I like to be involved, but I definitely don't do it for the awards."
"It's nice to get it, but that being said, I've established great relationships with some of the kids throughout the years and to see the difference it makes to some of the kids and their smiles on their faces after the game, it's definitely worth it every time I see that."
Win or lose, Bergeron meets with his "Patrice's Pals" after home games.
It's just one of the several charitable endeavors that Bergeron has been involved with through the years, since joining the Bruins as an 18-year-old in 2003.
His Patrice's Pals program brings patients from local hospitals and other children’s organizations to TD Garden to experience a Bruins home game. Children invited to the game watch the Bruins play in the official Patrice’s Pals luxury suite and meet Bergeron postgame where he meets them, signs autographs and takes pictures.
BostonBruins.com - There are steps David Pastrnak has to take.
Since the moment the Czech was drafted by the Bruins 25th overall in the first round in June, he started his climb in Black & Gold.
Putting on the Spoked-B for the first time was just the beginning for the flashy, skilled winger.
The club's development camp in July was another step. He made enough of an impression that the Bruins wanted to bring him back to Boston for rookie camp in September.
On Tuesday, Pastrnak completed that step, scoring his first goal en route to Boston's 4-2 win over Nashville in the final game of the rookie tournament in Antioch, Tenn. His dynamic play was on display, earning him all-tournament honors from team officials and scouts.
Now comes main training camp and then preseason games, but Pastrnak is not getting ahead of himself.
"I don't know, I feel like I'm on second floor, and NHL is on fifth," Pastrnak said following the game, when asked where he feels he's at after rookie camp.
"So I have three more floors," he added with a smile.
That analogy didn't come from anyone except Pastrnak, but General Manager Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins' brass have the same approach for the forward: to manage expectations.
ANTIOCH, TN - Boston's rookies capped off their tournament in Tennessee with a 4-2 victory over Nashville on Tuesday. They finished with a win and two losses, falling to Tampa Bay and Florida.
Griffith got Boston on the board midway through the first period. Mitchell Dempsey stole the puck at the offensive blueline and sent a chip pass up to Griffith, who punched in his first of the tournament from in tight.
Nashville tied it up 1-1 in the final minute of the period, after Griffith took a high-sticking penalty behind the play. Tournament MVP Filip Forsberg then put a power-play goal past Malcolm Subban through traffic.
The Bruins ran into penalty trouble in the second period. With eight seconds left in a Predators' 5-on-3 opportunity, Subban made a split save, stopping the puck under his left skate blade. He followed that up later on the penalty kill with sprawling glove saves that showcased his athleticism.
"That's a good sign that my timing is coming back, so I'm just looking to keep doing that consistently throughout main camp," said Subban.
ANTIOCH, TN - The Bruins rookies practiced on Monday morning at the Ford Ice Center, in preparation for their final game of the tournament on Tuesday against Nashville's rookies.
This year's setup gives the teams a beneficial day of rest and practice following back-to-back games, instead of three games in three days like last year's tournament in Florida.
Forward Brian Ferlin and defensemen Linus Arnesson both took maintenance days. A frustrated Anthony Camara had to leave the skate about a half hour early after catching a stick up high, and went to get stitches as a result.
It's been a tough start to camp for Camara, who is trying to shake off the rust from being out of competitive game action since March when he sustained a concussion with Providence.
David Pastrnak has also been victim to an errant stick this week, catching one up high during the first game against Florida. He was missing half of a front tooth afterwards. Seth Griffith has also needed mouth repairs during the tournament.
"We've had a couple guys already visit the dentist down here, so we don't need any more," Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney said with a smile following practice.
The puck drops for Boston's final game of the rookie tournament on Tuesday against the Predators at 1:00 p.m. local/2:00 p.m. ET. While the games are not live streamed, a postgame recap will be posted to BostonBruins.com.
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.