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Training Camp Continues...

Sunday, 09.21.2008 / 4:14 PM / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop  - BostonBruins.com
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Training Camp Continues...
John Bishop is the beat writer for BostonBruins.com. He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
Sunday Update...
This morning’s practice session had yesterday’s second group (Group B) on the ice first, but the lineup remained the same: Johnny Boychuk, Mike Egener, Zach Hamill, Matt Hunwick, Martins Karsums, Jordan Knackstedt, Matt Lashoff, Mikko Lehtonen, Milan Lucic, Matt Marquardt, Petteri Nokelainen, Tuukka Rask, Michael Ryder, Martin St. Pierre, Marc Savard, Peter Schaefer, Mark Stuart, Tim Thomas, Aaron Ward, Blake Wheeler, Dennis Wideman, Stephane Yelle.

A couple notes from group one…
Tim Thomas made several excellent saves during some three-on-three drills, including a half split where he gloved the puck right out of the air at the last second to stop a score.

Forwards Marc Savard and Blake Wheeler both had notable goals as well. Savard stealthily slipped the puck into the right side of the net during a small scrum, and Wheeler turned the same trick while being closely guarded by a veteran defenseman.

Milan Lucic, Savard and Michael Ryder continue to have excellent chemistry.

Some Sunday quotes from Group B…

Bruins Goalie Tim Thomas
On how much preseason game action he wants...
I don’t have an ideal (amount of time). It’s preseason and I’ve played a lot of games over the past few years. I think it’s necessary to get yourself ready. So it’s a fine line. I think I need some games, but I don’t need to overplay in preseason.

On how big Lucic got over the summer...
It’s scary. It’s great to see and he’s not just bigger and stronger. You can see his talent developing.

Bruins Forward Milan Lucic
On playing with Ryder and Savard...
When you’re with a high-end player like Savard, he’s a guy who you always have to be ready for on the ice. He’s good at finding guys when you least expect it. He’ll find you in those scoring areas. Ryder is one of the best shooters out there. Hopefully, he’ll get himself in some good scoring positions—he gets down low. I think we’re trying to find that chemistry as we go on.

On differences between this year and last year...
This year I feel a lot better than I did last year, knowing what to expect. I feel more confident out there and I think for me, it’s just working on the little things, just getting back the little things that got me here last year—shaking off the rust in the corners and those things will come as camp goes on and the season goes on. It’s definitely not as stressful. It’s me putting myself where I want to be in the lineup.

Bruins Defenseman Dennis Wideman
On working on offense...
I think it’s something from last year we’re trying to get involved in as much as possible. But you have to take care of yourself and stay in your zone, but he’s (Claude) been emphasizing that in practice, and we can get that going and hopefully we can create a lot more offense and score some goals.

On goals for the season...
We’re always trying to get better. I think you need to start with your defense. You can score six goals but if you give up seven you’re still losing the hockey game. We did a good job with that last year. We can still get better at it.

Bruins Forward Stephane Yelle
On waiting to get signed...
It doesn’t make for the best summer...it drags on and you’re waiting. After a couple of weeks if you’re not signed anywhere you know it might take a while and you keep that in mind and things are easier. I didn’t look at other options [other than playing in the NHL]. I was just hoping a team would put me up late and I’m happy to be in Boston. It’s an old team with a lot of tradition and industry. Being in the Eastern Conference is something new to me and I’m closer to my family and playing in the Northeast is an exciting time. We’re a young team with a lot of promise so I hope it’s a good thing.

On the first few practices...
The first couple of days have been really good. With the schedule you don’t have that many days to practice a lot of stuff so it needs to be effective and quick and I think the first couple of days were like that…all the guys have been really good with the transition. I knew a couple of the guys and Marc Savard, so it makes the transition a lot easier.

The second practice session also had the same lineup as yesterday: Andrew Alberts, P.J. Axelsson, Patrice Bergeron, Byron Bitz, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference, Manny Fernandez, Shane Hnidy, Phil Kessel, Chuck Kobasew, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Adam McQuaid, Kevin Nastiuk, Jeff Penner, Kevin Regan, Jeremy Reich, Maxime Sauve, Vladimir Sobotka, Ryan Stokes, Marco Sturm, Nate Thompson, Shawn Thornton.

Some highlights…
Coach Julien told the press that Group A (or the majority of Group A) would be the team that hits the ice on Monday night in Halifax. So that means that Haligonians (Thanks Beth and Carl!) Andrew Bodnarchuk and Brad Marchand stand a good chance of taking on the Habs tomorrow.

Plenty of drills today a practice. A one-on-one battle drill between Andrew Alberts and Maxime Sauve saw the veteran d-man giving the new-B a pretty hard time.

Patrice Bergeron continues to look good and had several nice goals on the weekend. He, Kessel and Marco Sturm are getting along almost as well as Lucic, Savard and Ryder.

Some Quotes from Group A…

Bruins Defenseman Andrew Alberts
On the opposition’s view of the Bruins...
I think teams will know what to expect this year from us. Last year we were trying to find our identity and we started to become that team that’s always hard to play against. Teams know that anytime they play us we’re going to make it tough on them, we’re going to play very physical against them, and we’re not going to be giving up very many goals.

On the team’s continuity...
I think it’s huge, especially with almost everybody back from last year’s team. Everybody knows the system; everybody knows what’s going on out on the ice, and off the ice guys are pretty tight. Most of the team showed up pretty early to camp, at least a week early, so that’s a great sign [of the team chemistry].

Bruins Forward Chuck Kobasew
On the team’s focus on defensive players getting more active offensively...
Getting our defense more involved on the offensive is a huge boost. Having one more guy creates a lot more chances for our offense and it gives the opposition more to worry about. It takes some practice but it’s worth it for the offensive success.

On the team’s preparation for the first exhibition game...
It’s been good so far; we’re just getting used to each other again and trying to find our timing again. We still obviously skate during the summer, but it’s on a different level. Getting back in here early helps us find our timing faster. With our first game only a couple of days after camp starts; we’ve got to be ready to play much earlier in camp.

Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien
On splitting up the team into two groups for the upcoming exhibition schedule...
That’s kind of what I’ve tried to do here, we do have five games in six nights so we have to use as many players as we can and I’ve just figured if we’re going to give them the best chance possible then we have to give them a few days to get used to each other. So basically there’s going to be some little changes here and there even for tomorrow.  It’s kind of the teams you’ve seen, A and B.  We want to give almost everyone an opportunity to play.

On which team will play in first preseason contest...
Tomorrow it will be team A, with a few changes. A couple of the guys from the B group are going to be going up.

On Manny Fernandez and Patrice Bergeron...
Manny will play goalie tomorrow. That secret leaked out yesterday...Patrice will be in tomorrow and he’s another guy who just wants to get going. He doesn’t feel any anxiety or anything, no reason to be worried. He feels comfortable. I’m absolutely excited. It makes our team a better team and once you can add those kinds of players to the roster and you look at the other couple guys we signed as free agents, the Yelle’s and the Ryder’s...to me it’s four players who will be able to excel in different areas. They all have good impact on the hockey club and they excel in the areas that they’re very good at. They definitely make us a better team on paper, now they need to show it on the ice. They [Manny and Patrice] set a great example by calling the NHLPA this summer and asking for permission to participate in the development camp. They needed permission because technically they’re not allowed...it showed their commitment to wanting to come back and be ready. They wanted to show they were ready and in good health. They were finding different ways to put themselves in the best position possible.

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