Training Camp Day 3: Zee in Front, Bergeron Line's Forecheck, Shallower Nets, Campbell Doesn't Miss a Beat
Group 1 Lines/PairingsMarchand-Bergeron-Eriksson
10:18 AM - First group on the ice. Definitely a different feeling to have fans in attendance with the cheering, "oohhs" and "ahhs." During drills, a great feed from Patrice Bergeron to Loui Eriksson. The newcomer's first shot doesn't make it, but he's in a great spot for the rebound, powers it home. Cheers from the crowd.
10:23 - Loui feeds Chris Kelly cross-ice; Kells fires it in net. Cheers from crowd; stick taps from Bruins.
10:24 - Alexander "Koko" Khokhlachev races over the blueline with Jared Knight, who snipes one from the left faceoff circle.
10:27 - Tuukka slides left to right to thwart Eriksson. "Ohhhs" from the crowd.
10:38 - There it is. The first "Tuuuuuuuuk" chant from the thousands in attendance.
11:23 - In the midst of cycling and screening. Jordan Caron's big body in front. He battles down low and bats in a rebound from mid-air. Chris Kelly also manning that spot during drills, with "teaching moments' throughout for all B's.
11:35 - Scrimmage time! ... Scott Campbell nets the lone goal, a gritty one from a rebound in front. He's been skating on a "grinder line" with invite Jack Downing and Bobby Robins. P-Bruins 'tough guy' Robins gets into it with the Little Ball of Hate. "All in good fun out there," Marchand later says to media, smiling.
11:50 - First group heads off the ice. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand stop to sign autographs on their way out.
12:15 PM - Group 2 hits the ice, as the players from the first group finish up media availabiilty in the locker room.
Group 2 Lines/PairingsLucic-Krejci-Iginla
Johnson, Subban, Morrison
1:45 - Power play work. David Krejci up top with Torey Krug, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla down low. Zee's big body in front.
1:50 - Scrimmage ensues for the second group. No goals during this go-round, but seen throwing a big hit on 6-foot-2, 200-pound winger Nick Johnson near the boards: Torey Krug.
2:10 - Jarome Iginla leads his first center-ice stretch on TD Garden ice as a Bruin. It might seem like a small gesture, but for the past three days, the leaders of the stretch have been Bergeron, Chara, Kelly, Lucic, Marchand, and now, Iginla. Sometimes a guy is goaded into leading the stretch (like, when the team is on the road and a 'B' leads the stretch in his former barn e.g. when Jarome visits Calgary with the B's), but having seen the sequence of stretch "leaders" these past few days, I took it a pretty nice gesture to "Iggy."
Day 3 Notebook
Bergeron Working to Get Core Back- Bergeron's brief discomfort he still experiences (lasts no more than 30 seconds after contact) isn't stalling his progress at all. No setbacks, but he's just working extra hard to get his core stronger and where it needs to be, considering he couldn't do much with the area this summer, as his rib was healing.
Marchand-Eriksson-Bergeron's Forechecking Magic
- Three days in the books, and the line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Loui Eriksson - albeit in practices and not games - is started to gel. They were able to talk off the ice on Friday about their tendencies on the ice. Marchand was extra vocal with his linemates today, a result of that talk, no doubt. But, of course, when asked about the uptick in communication, Marchand's response was, well, Marchy being Marchy: "I'm always yapping about something..."
On a serious note, this line's two-way play is going to be impressive this season.
"Playing with him [Loui] and getting used to one another on the ice, I really feel like on the forecheck we’re going to do some good things," said Bergeron. "And it’s just about getting used to each other offensively."
Zee Down Low on the PP- It's something many have been calling for on a regular basis (fans, I'm looking at you) - Big Zee in front on the power play. We saw that during extra attacker plays during the playoffs (most notably, Game 7 vs Toronto). And we saw some tinkering with that during today's session. Of course, there are different formations to the PP, which become pretty fluid in game situations, but this one saw Torey Krug and David Krejci on the points, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla down low, with Chara's 6-foot-9 frame in front.
"You know what, it’s something that I’ve done before but it’s going to be part of getting used to each other in those different spots," said Chara. "And we can always rotate to, again, a new formation but, again, we’re going to be practicing in that formula and we’ll see how it goes."
When it comes to Loui Eriksson, Julien agreed he could picture the winger possibly in the halfwall spot on the power play, as well as Carl Soderberg on a unit with Eriksson and Bergeron. Since Soderberg is in a separate group than those two, he hasn't been able to mix and match all options yet.
Shallower Nets- Saturday's sessions at camp saw the debut of the new, shallower nets being on the ice at TD Garden. They're also being implemented at training camps throughout the league. The depth of the net was decreased by four inches, from 44 to 40, leaving a bit more room in "Gretzky's office" (or, Jagr's, if you saw his PP work last season with Boston). It's going to be tested during the preseason, and could be carried over into the regular season.
"I didn’t notice any difference, I don’t know, it probably looks [like it] to the fans but I didn’t feel any difference, it doesn’t even look that that much different [to be honest], I don’t know why they changed it," remarked Rask.
"At first no, but then when you take a closer look, yeah, you notice it’s a few inches more narrow behind that," said Chara, of the space he frequently occupies before breakouts. "So it’s going to give more room to work with either for D or forwards."
Soupy Doesn't Miss a Beat- Gregory Campbell said following his first on-ice session at Training Camp that he wasn't feeling out of place conditioning-wise out on the ice; just that he was still getting used to the screws and plate that he feels from the surgery to repair his right leg in June.
From his Merlot linemate Daniel Paille's point-of-view, Campbell hasn't missed a beat. "Ah, Soupy looks great," he smiled. "He's definitely one guy you don't have to worry about when he's injured, not being in shape. He keeps himself fit all year round and I don't think he looks a step behind at all. He looks actually really good speed for us and he looks confident.