Friday marked the first on-ice day of the Boston Bruins’ pre-season training camp, something they have come to know with as much familiarity as traveling at high rates of speed on skates. However, this year’s training camp is anything but the same old camp. The team has a bright, brand new practice facility and because of the World Cup of Hockey, which has entered it’s semi-final stage, some of the veterans are not there as they continue to represent their countries in Toronto. In fact, head coach Claude Julien isn’t even in Boston, as he is behind the bench as an assistant coach with Team Canada, the favorite to win the World Cup of Hockey tournament. However, Julien did hop a plane so he could be at the off-ice opening day of this season’s training camp on Thursday to let the players know he’s keeping an eye on them and that he has great faith in his assistant coaches.
The players being who they are, though they clearly miss their core leaders for the moment, their absence certainly hasn’t stopped the others from jumping in with true commitment on day one. And not all the veterans are in Toronto. Both defenseman Torey Krug and forward David Krejci were on the ice in Boston, having been cleared to play after going through off-season surgeries. For Krejci, his recovery forced him to make a decision to opt out of Team Czech in the World Cup of Hockey to ensure he would be at his best when the Bruins season begins.
“It is a little different obviously missing a few guys,” said veteran defenseman Adam McQuaid. “It’s still the beginning of training camp and there’s still that element of wanting to be ready for the season and get sharper and sharper and prove your worth out there.”
It’s a little bit different, for sure, you know, missing especially some of the important players,” concurred newly contracted forward Dominic Moore. “The most important players on the team—obviously everyone’s important on the team. But these are the guys that are leaders and so we’ll be excited when they get back.”
Captain Zdeno Chara (Team Europe), assistant captain Patrice Bergeron (Team Canada) and Brad Marchand (Team Canada) are those still actively playing. However, Tuukka Rask (Team Finland), David Backes (Team USA) and David Pastrnak (Team Czech), while eliminated, are traveling back to Boston and will be evaluated and slotted in. Pastrnak actually stopped by the training facility to say hello to his teammates and before he knew it he was back in a media scrum with everyone wanting to know about his game and his development. So some things never change.
Getting back to the new Warrior Ice Arena in which the team has now begun to call home, it is indeed a fine building. Everything is state-of-the-art and it is clear that the Bruins’ ownership believes in their team, having invested so much in the new site. With their own chef, dietician, and players’ lounge, one wonders if they will ever check in at home.
During the grand opening, which took place September 8, media were invited to wander around checking out all the rooms from the locker room to the equipment room, the strength and conditioning room to the medical room. Well, as most expected it has not taken long for the team to settle in and for that new building smell to be overcome by “hockey smell.” Of course, that just means that everything is on schedule for the coming season.
The team continues their on-ice practice sessions this weekend at Warrior Ice Arena beginning at 10:45am on Saturday and Sunday. It’s open to the public, so if you’re in the neighborhood, you may want to stop by and see the depth in the Bruins’s roster.