Friday saw the 53-man roster take the ice in two groups at the Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Massachusetts, for the first day of on-ice training of the Boston Bruins. Through the drills and the scrimmages the Bruins management watched over the ice, making notes of what they liked and didn’t like about the efforts, skills and competition playing out on the icy surface below.
Of course, with the mix of veterans, rookies, Providence Bruins and a few individual invitees, it will take a few days of interaction on the ice before systems are understood and communications and chemistries begin to make invisible connections between possible line mates.
Some of the line combinations that were displayed on the ice included Patrice Bergeron and his frequent “liney” Brad Marchand with Providence Bruins hustling forward Seth Griffith. As the camp continues it will be interesting to see who else plays along these two Stanley Cup-winning veterans.
And for David Pastrnak, the Bruins’ first round draftee this past summer, who has made it known that his hero is fellow countryman David Krejci—signed to a new and lucrative six-year contract. And while there may be idol worship from the eighteen-year-old Pastrnak for Krejci off the ice, during today’s one-on-one drills, Pastrnak had no issues with making sure he crowded Krejci in the corners.
For some of the players, this is a new experience, and may not be their only training camp while with the Bruins organization. As general manager Peter Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien said numerous times on Thursday evening, the hard part begins now and will likely take the majority of the camp. And as Krejci pointed out after practice, the number of open slots this season ensures that everyone is bringing their competitive spirit. He was also quick to point out that just because he and some of the others have their contracts, does not guarantee them a spot on the roster. They must prove that they have the right to remain just as the younger ones do their best to perhaps push someone out of a roster spot.
Unlike Development Camp, where the players felt each other out on day one, the drills and scrimmages on Friday showed a new level of intensity from most of the players—those who understand what is truly at stake. And for those few who didn’t seem to bring their full game, it will be interesting to see over the next couple of days—including Sunday’s Black and Gold Scrimmage to be held in Providence at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center—if they ramp up their performance. If they don’t, they will certainly make the jobs of Chiarelli, Julien and the rest of the coaching staff much easier.