Boston Bruins Development Camp: Day 3
Neely joins new B's on the ice
Thursday, 07.10.2008 / 10:10 AM ET / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com
We're under way on a beautiful (but very hot) day in Wilmington, MA. JB
8:59 a.m. -- Patrice Bergeron is out the ice with Nick Tremblay helping goalie Adam Courchaine get warmed up. Manny Fernandez joins a few minutes later to get warmed up himself.
9:15 – Cam Neely steps out of the locker room with skates on. Heads on a swivel, guys!
9:30 -- It is time to get practice under way. The players start off the morning with three-on-two drills, followed by full-ice passing drills.
Uh oh. Looks like there is going to be a lot of skating this morning! Coach Scott Gordon is fired up, too. I hope nobody had too much to eat at the game yesterday!
10:00 -- Our Boys switch to one-on-ones, which are getting pretty physical.
BTW: It’s not every day you walk into Ristuccia Arena and see a hall of famer (Cam Neely), standing by the side boards, leaned on his hockey stick.
But both the new B’s and fans who sat watching from the stands were treated to something special when Neely took to the ice this morning to assist with practice.
- He behaved almost like a player early on, participating in the skating drills around the rink, while many of the other coaches stood in the middle.
- Cam watched carefully over the down-ice passing drills.
- Neely talked near center ice to Blake Wheeler, and offered some advice to Maxime Sauve.
- The VP also grabbed Mikko Lehtonen out of line during another drill and explained a technique to him.
|Cam Neely, Mikko Lehtonen
10:45 -- Hamill, Penner, Marchand, Wheeler, Marquardt, McQuaid, and Colborne are eager to get out on the ice, waiting around outside the locker room for five minutes before they hit.
10:56 – The groups head back out onto the ice. After two practices of D-men in black (plus Patrice) and forwards in white, the boys seemed to have split into equally mixed teams.
Scrimmage coming up, maybe?
11:00 -- The guys start off their second hour with some one-on-ones in front of the net, followed by the same hitting drill along the boards from yesterday. Seems like this morning practice session was meant for hitting. That seems fitting, particularly with Neely out there to give them some pointers.
BTW: There is going to be a scrimmage!
Black Team: Lehtonen, Bergeron, Loprieno, Reul, Knackstedt, Bodnarchuk, McQuaid, Read, M. Goggin, Arniel
White Team: C. Goggin, Colborne, Marquardt, Goulet, Penner, Nelson, Suave, Tremblay, Hamill, Wheeler, Marchand
11:45 a.m. - Scrimmage, to be followed by media availability, off-ice practice and lunch.
2:49 p.m. Scrimmage synopsis from intern Angela Stefano, who watched from the press box: After a couple hours of practice, the B boys were still ready to show off their skills for the crowd – and what better way to do so than a scrimmage, Black & Gold v. White & Black?
Sibling rivalry heated up only a few seconds after the puck drop when Mark, the younger of the two Goggin brothers, got in a good hit on the elder Connor, who fell to the ground with the boards shaking.
|Click here to watch a conversation with Kevin Regan.
A new set of players headed onto the ice, and, not to be outdone by his younger counterpart on the other end, Manny Fernandez stopped a shop from Brad Marchand, who had found his way past the black-and-gold team’s defensemen.
The score was 1-0 in favor of the black-and-gold team as Fernandez and Regan got a breather and were replaced by Adam Courchaine and Michael Hutchinson, respectively, only to have veteran Patrice Bergeron – no surprise there – make the score 2-0.
Moments later, Courchaine found himself stopping a puck with his face mask – probably a little jarring, but he simply re-adjusted his helmet and got right back in net (that’s good, he’ll fit in well here.)
Joe Loprieno’s hit to Brad Marchand – another board-rattler – evoked some cheers from the stands.
End score: 2-0, with Black & Gold as the winners…but who’s really counting?
3:12 -- And from ice level, interns Hannah Goldman and Mark Nugent weigh in:
The Black and White teams line up at center ice from the drop of the puck.
Manny Fernandez started as the backstop on the Black side, while Regan was in net for White.
From the get-go, it was a fast moving game. Possession went back and forth for the first few minutes until Mark Goggin got the first shot off. Regan came up with the save.
Just a minute later, Regan stops another shot from Denis Ruel at the point.
|Black vs. White Scrimmage|
Midway through the first half, Manny made his big first save on a shot from Matt Read at the top of the circle.
But on the next rush the other way, Black gets the 1-0 lead. It was a strange bounce into the air after an original shot from Mark Goggin, but the puck found its way behind Regan’s head to get them on the scoreboard.
The rest of the half didn’t feature too much action in front of the net, but Marchand is made his presence known out there by playing very physical along the boards.
At half time, Fernandez made an exit off the ice and Courchaine took over in net for Black. Hutchinson gets between the pipes for White.
A few minutes into the second half, Black grabbed a 2-0 lead.
Loprieno had the original slap shot from the top of the circle off a nice pass from Knackstedt. Hutchinson made a great pad save, but Bergeron picked up the rebound and sent the puck home.
Back in action, Loprieno attempted a big hit on Marchand, who was able to avoid it, but couldn’t keep his balance.
Unfortunately, nothing evolved from the play for the White team.
With the game coming to a close, the Black team strung together a pretty pass play when Bergeron skated up the left-wing and sent a cross-ice pass to Ruel who passed it back to Jamie Arniel, but the shot went wide.
After just over thirty minutes of play, the Black team came out victorious and all of the new B's headed into the locker room looking pretty tired, with an off-ice workout session scheduled with Strength & Conditioning Coach John Whitesides just a few minutes later.
3:21 -- Off to join the new B's bowling! Click here to read that story! JB
We just wanted to add some of Don Sweeney's comments from his presser on Wednesday:
On the players who left college and junior teams to go pro early…
I’ll use my experience to be honest with you. Going back a long time ago, I had left during my senior year to go and play and I just think that it accelerates things and that’s what rolls into this camp and why we are setting it up in a way these kids can benefit from it. Obviously last year, as we talked about before, there were a lot of kids that were likely going to Providence to spend time there and we spent a lot of time in terms of familiarity with their coaching staff, but now we also have guys that came out of our camp and made our big club. This year’s camp is obviously a little younger, but you can see the confidence, whether it’s in Andy [Bodnarchuk] or Zach [Hamill] or Jordan [Knackstedt] all those guys who were able to go into Providence where they could hear Scott Gordon or Rob Murray and what they were trying to do there and it’s kind of the pieces of the puzzle that allows these guys to continue to get acclimated. It’s not a comfort but a familiarity thing.
On the particular lines used during the scrimmage…
Obviously I think you’re trying to put guys in situations that. Down the road here, they may see each other. Again, its about building blocks and those guys maybe have a chance to play as a line together at some point in time up in Boston and that’s what we’d like to see. You’ll mix and match, the next time it will be different pieces, putting guys who we’re trying to take a look at, with Patrice (Bergeron) to see how they can line up to the hockey sense and a feel for the game, so to speak. It’s just different mixes and matches to see what kind of shakes out and who we might like to see play with somebody and how they both play together.
On Patrice’s performance during camp…
Certainly I don’t want to speak for how Patrice is feeling and what not. A bunch of us made the comment that, I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sure that there’s a lot of guys in the NHL who would come in and do what he’s doing right now, and compete and test himself. Maybe it is part of the process for him to continue to go through, having been out so long and if that’s what is motivation for was, that’s the type of kid he is. I’ve had observations from other guys and it speaks volumes for him as a person, as a teammate and as a leader, as a young, young leader for our organization.
Obviously he had a chance to play in the Russian series and Zach would probably be the first one to admit to you that he’s extremely disappointed not to be apart of the World Junior Team that went overseas, but he used that as motivation, I spoke to him about that. I think that he would describe his year, and we would probably agree to that, as being more up and down than the previous year when he kept it there and obviously led the entire league in scoring. If his production wasn’t quite where it was the year before, it’s not necessarily an indication that he had an off year. It’s just that it was a different dynamic with his team and maybe he wasn’t as consistent as he would have liked to see it. I believe that the Providence situation helped him greatly. He came in having a much clearer understanding of how much stronger (he needs to be). He’s a guy who has great hockey sense and has the ability to find the time and space that he needs to, at whatever speed the game is. He just needs a little bit of time to acclimate himself but that being said, he also went through a playoff series in the AHL and realized that the pace is picking up again so it’s a great series of steps to have to go through to get to where he wants to be. He’s come back now, he’s in better shape and I think you’ll start to see him play with different types of players he can adjust his game. We’d like to see him shoot more, when he gets in the area he looks to make a play first and there have been a lot of great players to have done that. Zach’s got to continue to get stronger and he understands that. So I don’t think you need to rate his year because I’ve seen where he was and where he is now and I think we’re pleasantly good with that…We don’t consider the year a disappointment for him. He was certainly disappointed not to participate in the World Juniors. Would you have liked to see him win the scoring title, of course. You’d like to see all your guys have the most successful year they possibly can but I think that he was anxious to get the pro side of it underway and I think he was anxious to come in and play and he played a lot of minutes in all key situations down there. Like I said, I think you get clear indication of how much bigger, stronger and faster the guys at the next level are and I think that’s only going to help…You don’t always necessarily label a highly skilled player as being an energy guy but Zach played with energy. I think he went in and proved that, “no matter what role you put me in, I’ll play” and earn the primetime ice-time of power-play situations and stuff like that and that’s what you love about players that just want to go out and stick their nose in there and say, “I’m here to play hockey, and it doesn’t matter what I’ve done before.” He’s one of those kids.
Dev Camp 2008: Don Sweeney, Day 3
One more set of quotes:
On how their morning skate felt…
“It felt awesome. There was a lot higher tempo today but with the skate we had yesterday, everyone was just going right off the bat. It was real high intensity. It was a real good practice.”
On how the physical aspect of their practice felt…
“It felt awesome (to hit people again). It is a whole process getting back into the physical play. When you are playing in the summer it is usually just with some friends working on your skills. But getting back to the physical sides of things is really fun, especially for guys who use it in their style of play, like Blake Wheeler (who is standing next to him, listening in). But it was to good to get back into and it is going to set the tone for the rest of the summer and going into our main camp in September.”
On if people are nervous hitting Patrice…
“Not really. He is someone that everyone respects and he respects you if you go in and battle him hard because he is trying to get ready for camp to and we are doing our best to try and push him as well. It shows a lot that he is taking the time out of his summer to come here and play with us, but it just shows that he is trying to get ready for the season as well. But he is pushing us big time so we are just trying to push him as well. It was unfortunate with the injury he had, but it is good to see that he is getting into and playing physical and playing his style, and it is awesome to be on the ice with him.”
On what he hopes to get out of his week in Wilmington…
“Just to make a good first impression. You do not get a second chance of that. So this is my first camp with the Bruins, so I am just trying to play my game, keep it simple, do the things that I do well. I am not trying to go out of my comfort zone to do things that I am not used to doing. I am playing my style of game and make a good first impression. I am trying to get the most out of it – meet the guys, we are creating good friendships here. Those are the kind of things that carry into the season too. The fact that we know each other will make it much more comfortable come the season, so it is great to be here and it is a ton of fun.”