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The quiet before the storm...

Saturday, 09.16.2006 / 3:12 PM / News
Boston Bruins
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The quiet before the storm...
Your intrepid scribe braved the unknown called “getting up on Saturday before 10 am” to bring you these humble words. However, I am happy to report that three Bruins goalies beat me to the rink and were in the heat of practice at 8:30. Jordan Sigalet, Tim Thomas and Mike Brown were already being drilled by goalies coach Bob Essensa. Head coach Dave Lewis confirmed later that they were working on rebound control.

There were a lot of kids in the rink from the get-go, and they looked so excited that some of the players couldn’t help themselves from sneaking out of the rookies room to sign autographs. With black and gold balloons floating around, coupled with the high number of young fans, you had a party-like atmosphere in Ristuccia right off the hop. Bravo the Bruins marketing team who gave the 700 plus who showed up to the rink today a nice morning of hockey.

Even though I was bleary eyed, it was nice to talk some hockey with Bruins Director of Player Development, Don Sweeney. Next time I will be awake, Don.

Over the last few days I was intrigued to note that many, many of the players constantly tinker with their sticks using the various tools on the Bruins hardware bench – vice, blowtorch, and saws are among the most common implements. I am wondering how unique this is to major league sports.

As the first practice started Team B’s drills seemed to continue the puck control theme.

By the way, not all of training camp is grim, stone-faced, determination laced, drilling. It seems to this reporter that a lot of players are having a ton of fun. There is yelling and screaming and joking which belies an almost jubilant mood, on the rink and in the room. Sometimes, you can imagine that you are in the backyard watching a pick-up game. Sometimes...

Little fans stared a “Chara! Chara! Chara!” chant as the big man patrolled the ice. The chant broke into a cheer from the adults when “Z” stopped a breakaway.

Special Assignment Scout Cam Chiarelli made an appearance – notebook, pencil and all.
Cam is General Manager Peter Chiarelli’s young son and Dad explained some of the finer points of the game to the would-be scout throughout the morning. As reported by the Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont, Cameron Chiarelli is named after his dad’s favorite Bruin player.

By the way: Ladies, please do NOT wear mini-skirts to the hockey rink. Same goes for shorts, gentlemen. You will catch your death of cold in Ristuccia. Seriously. Brrrrrr!

Bruins legends who stopped by today: Ken Hodge and Johnny “Pie” McKenzie. Old Time Hockey!

Many of the drills pit a D-man versus a forward, with the object for the D to keep himself between the goal and the shooter. Variations on this theme are created when you give the shooter a head start, or vary the number of shooters and D. Yah, sounds elementary, but I’ll bet that more than a few of you haven’t seen a whole hockey practice. Most interesting is the interaction between the defenseman and the goalie. Also, I enjoy seeing the defense as they practice starting a rush.

The Storm

Again, a nice round of applause greeted both teams as they hit the ice. Many of the fans were in full Bruin regalia and this morning’s scrimmage had a slightly mid-season feel. The fans were ready to go, and for the most part so were the players.

There was an obvious uptick in physicality on the ice during the scrimmage and several big hits punctuated the hour.

The ice seems tilted toward Team B (white jerseys) this week and Tim Thomas was tested several times early.

Hannu Toivonen has not allowed a goal in scrimmage during training camp. The big goalie has also been one of the loudest players calling out instructions and encouragement with the ferocity of a football quarterback during an audible.

There is beautiful quality to the goalie clearing the puck along the glass out of the zone without it being touched by the attacking team. The “thut, thut, thut, thut” sound that the biscuit makes on its way out is very calming, don’t you think?

Martins Karsums continued his notable play. Meanwhile, one of the best collisions of the day was the aforementioned K-man versus Jeremy Reich.

Mark Mowers also had a heck of a morning, dazzling the big crowd with some speed and tenacity. Mowers also took a puck in the face, just below the eye. As we expected, he checked for some blood, finished his shift and was back out on the ice shortly. He sported a nice welt after the game.
All together now: Mark Mowers, he’s a hockey player!

The goals looked like this: Pelletier, Reich, Thompson, DiCasmirro for Team A. Brookbank for Team B.

Team A (in Black) won 4-1.

And another thing...

Goalie Brian Finley is still wearing his Nashville Preds gear and his blue and yellow mask features the monster from the Predator movies. Spectacular mask. The best since Stephan Fiset’s King Tut mask, worn when he was with the Kings.

Heard around the locker room...

“It’s incredible [to come home to Boston]. First of all playing at home is a big thrill. Moreover I think that the team we have here in Boston is fantastic with the guys they brought in here. They’ve built this team to bring a Stanley Cup home to Boston.”
Defenseman, Paul Mara

“It’s a very fine line between winning and losing. It’s just doing all the little things. You know, paying attention, being focused. Hockey is an easy game, you don’t have to make it tougher than what it is.”
Forward, P.J. Axelsson

“I have learned [from Chara] for sure. He’s one of the top defensemen in the league so I have to learn a lot from him – just by playing next to him.”
Defenseman, Milan Jurcina

“Overall I am excited to get exhibition season started...Everyone is very optimistic coming in. It shows when guys start skating a week before. Normally it really isn’t like that and almost everyone was here. I think the guys are looking forward to [the season] and I think there is an excitement in the room.”
Forward, Brad Boyes

“The fans have been unbelievable. I mean this is only like intra squad games. And for them to come out to show their support for our team has been fantastic. It’s a great sign for this year to come.”
Forward, Glen Murray

“I was a big Bruin fan...It’s neat [to be here]. My dad was an Orr fan so I am sure that rubbed off on me. It’s cool to get to wear the “B”. I had a Bruins jersey when I was younger, so I can’t wait to wear one in a game.”
Forward, Shean Donovan

“[The fan participation] is excellent. I can’t wait to get going again and get into that atmosphere. It’s really exciting when people really know the game and hopefully we can produce [for the fans].
Forward, Marc Savard

And by the way...

Marc Savard, thanks to his new navigation system, did find his way home yesterday.

Shameless plug

Check this space later as the Bruins thought there might be a couple of announcements later.
Coors Light - To the Black, The Gold, and The Cold

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