Bruins training camp, to be precise. Welcome, Bruins fans. Welcome, fans starved for hockey who’ll look at any photos/read anything to do with the NHL. Sorry, those of you who loathe Boston.
The usual M.O. for the Bruins in past years has been to close camp and practices held at the TD Garden in Boston, and to open them at Ristuccia Arena, their practice facility in Wilmington (about a 20-minute drive northwest of the city). This year, however, they flung open the doors to Saturday and Sunday practice at the Garden, splitting the team and their hopefuls into two sessions (10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.) and inviting the public. That includes opening concessions (though only two stations were open, and mobbed – I think they’ll remedy that next time) and offering $15 Garden parking (it’s more than twice that for a game).
Sunday’s session was extraordinarily well-attended; if they’d had that many in Wilmington, they would have been turning them away at the door.
If line combinations are your thing, the early session featured David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla continuing their getting-to-know-you process. The second session belonged to Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Loui Eriksson. Those will undoubtedly be the top two lines for the Bruins, 1a and 1b, if you will. The so-called Merlot Line (named for the color of their practice jerseys) of Danny Paille, Shawn Thornton and Greg Campbell was together again and at times appeared in mid-season form, though Campbell still isn’t 100 percent after suffering a broken leg in the playoffs. Still, it was great to see them together. The lone line question is the third, where Chris Kelly will team with (probably) Swedish import Carl Soderberg, leaving a dogfight for one wing spot.
Thornton may come between Krejci and Lucic, but only temporarily.
On defense, Dennis Seidenberg was skating with Dougie Hamilton, Zdeno Chara with Baby B Zach Trotman, and Torey Krug with Adam McQuaid. I love seeing the veterans with the kidlets.
The vet and the kid (Seids and Dougie).
Actually, I just like seeing the kids.
Now coach, now? Kidlets Alexander Khokhlachev and Justin Florek wait for the go-ahead as coach Geoff Ward looks for a friend Patrice Bergeron apparently pointed out in the stands .
Oh, did we mention that Krug paired with McQuaid is only slightly less funny than the idea of Krug paired with Chara? Because Torey is listed at 5-9. But he’s more like 5-8. And Adam is 6-5. Adam was also smiling almost all the time Sunday. He looked happy as could be to just be on the ice, and healthy.
Krug and McQuaid remind me of Merry and Boromir. Yes, I’m a geek.
Meanwhile, just the thought of Krejci, Lucic and Iginla, if Jarome is anywhere near his old self, makes me tingle.
Some are calling this the KIL line. That’s certainly better than ILK, or LIK.
I would have a hard time in an NHL practice mainly because the drills confuse the hell out of me. Lots of criss-crossing, jumping into and out of processions up and down the ice, etc. etc.
“Hey Loui, we’re over here!” But that’s OK, he’s new.
Zdeno Chara makes it a point never to call anyone a “rookie,” because they’re all teammates, and all in this together. That even includes goalies.
Tuukka Rask and coach Claude Julien enjoy watching everyone else skate.
But even the different or the young or the new guys are welcomed with open arms. They even get the honor of leading the post-practice stretch.
“It’s OK, Loui, you don’t have to sing.”
It was a fun day. I wish I was a better photographer and could take some nice action shots, but that’s beyond me. Hope you’re all looking forward to the season as much as I am!
One more for the road:
Everyone is sure to look interested because Coach is speaking, except Tuukka, because he’s Tuukka ****ing Rask, and don’t you forget it.
(Photos by savvy)