Having moved to the ‘burbs recently, I look forward to attending the Bruins’ regular-season practice sessions at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, now that it’s only a few miles away. The 2013 Training Camp, though, was held at TD Garden the weekend of September 14-15. Of course I was going to be there.
The 2013 season was a bit of a roller coaster ride. It was thrilling at times, but ultimately disappointing. It was a hard pill to swallow watching the Blackhawks celebrate with the Cup on our ice. Then came the off-season changes. The departures of Tyler Seguin and Rich Perveley were certainly shocking, particularly Seguin who were expected to be the next Bruins superstar. Then came the arrival of Jarome Iginla, whom most Bruins fans including myself were gleefully cheering against especially during the Penguins series. Seeing Iginla wearing the spoked B would be a little weird, to say the least. Even the anticipated free-agency departures of popular Bruins Nathan Horton (to Columbus) and Andrew Ference (to Edmonton) were hard to take. I like Ference in particular, for his leadership qualities and environmental activism. It didn’t help matter that a very solid goalie and likeable player in Anton Khudobin also left, which was a surprise.
Having endured the summer of baseball and the start of football season, I am beyond thrill at the return of hockey. Judging from the turnout for the training camp, despite the early weekend hours, many Bruins fans were feeling the same way. Part of the eagerness must come from anticipating the new faces on the roster. But for the most part, I just wanted to spectate the most exciting team sports invented by man.
The Training Camp consisted of 2 groups. With 50-odd participants and only a few open roster spots, it was clear that most of the new guys were going to end up elsewhere, whether with the baby Bruins in Providence, their junior/college team or some place like Saskatoon. Nevertheless, it was a chance for the coaches to evaluate players or for fans like me to familiarize ourselves with our prospects.
I’m guessing the opening-day roster will look something like this:
Milan Lucic (17) – David Krejci (46) – Jarome Iginla (12)
Brad Marchand (63) – Patrice Bergeron (37) – Loui Eriksson (21)
Carl Soderberg (34) – Chris Kelly (23) – ???
Daniel Paille (20) – Gregory Campbell (11) – Shawn Thornton (22)
Zdeno Chara (33) – Johnny Boychuk (55)
Dennis Seidenberg (44) – Dougie Hamilton (27)
??? – Adam McQuaid (54)
Tuukka Rask (40)
On defense, Matt Bartkowski (43) and Torey Krug (47), both left-shots, are likely candidates. Both played last season, Krug having stood out in the Rangers series. Local guy David Warsofsky is probably also in consideration. The empty forward and goalie spots are wide-open. That’s why we’re here.
Seth Griffith misses an open-net chance on Niklas Svedberg.
Dennis Seidenberg patrols the blue line on his unusual t-blade.
Crowd around Svedberg.
Chris Kelly cirling the net.
New signee Matthew Lindblad trying to get a bead on Tuukka Rask.
Brad Marchand buzzes the net as usual.
Patrice Bergeron looks to be in full form after the serious injuries sustained in the Blackhawks series.
Newcomer Loui Eriksson (21) drives to the net, guarded by Dougie Hamilton (27).
Another look at Eriksson. He seemed to be an open-ice player who isn’t afraid of going to the crease. He’s bigger than Seguin and has good speed. The demise of our team speed with the departures of Seguin and Peverley is greatly exaggerated.
Jordan Caron (38) and Reilly Smith. Caron has been up and down with the big club. Of all the young guys he probably has the most NHL experience. Maybe he can stick around this time.
Chris Casto in full flight. Hockey players can look like they’re sprinting. Actually, it’s not quite true. They’re much faster than a sprinter.
Marchand trying to shake off Hamilton. That’s probably not a great gap for Hamilton, but you can’t stay too close to Marchand or he’ll make you look bad.
Mike Moore finds out the hard way where the goal post is.
Hamilton should probably be between his check and the net instead of chasing him but, meh, it’s practice. He’s huge, at 6’5 he’s second only to Chara.
This gutsy display of sportsmanship and determination after his leg was broken by an Evgeni Malkin slapshot made Gregory Campbell a Bruin forever. This isn’t Lionel Messi crying after he got tripped.
Matt Bartkowski sees something wince-worthy. On the right is Carl Soderberg.
Adam McQuaid with a rare smile. In the background Shawn Thornton juggles the puck on the blade of his stick. The tough guy has mad skillz.
Milan Lucic having a laugh with (or at?) Bartkowski.
I’m going with “laugh with”. Bart is such a jokester.
Chara having a chat with Nick Johnson (32) and Alexander Fallstrom (59). Those are not midgets—both are listed at 6’2. Chara is just a monster, and I mean that in an admiring way.
He can move too.
New “old” face Jarome Iginla. He potted 2 against the Habs two nights after this in a pre-season game in Montreal. Welcome to Boston, Iggy.
Lucic with a wicked snap shot.
The 3rd member of the projected top line and my favorite player. The bruising line of Lucic-Iginla-Krejci is going to give defensemen nightmares. They have great hands, decent speed, hit like a train and are impossible to contain. They bring back fond memories of the so-called 700 Pound Line of Joe Thornton, Mike Knuble and Glen Murray.
Torey Krug with Mark Messier’s patented snap shot off the wrong leg. Which, by the way, everyone is using these days.
Fallstrom with a good flex of the stick.
A first look at Malcolm Subban. You know, the brother of Boston’s public enemy #1 PK Subban. He did say he never liked his brother anyways. The kid is all right.
Kevan Miller who hails from, get this, Los Angeles. That’s right, a California kid playing pro hockey.
Close-up of Daniel Paille.