Things feel 'a little different' for Bruins at training camp


Things feel 'a little different' for Bruins at training camp

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak made his way back from Toronto for a cameo appearance at Warrior Ice Arena following the second session at Friday’s training camp opener, the first day of main camp had an odd feel to it with so many key Bruins personnel missing from action.

Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, David Backes and Pastrnak were all missing from the player ranks due to World Cup duties, and Bruins head coach/Team Canada assistant coach Claude Julien was also absent on Friday after popping in for a quick “welcome to camp” chat with his players on Thursday.

So it was Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco addressing the media on Friday after the two camp sessions, and it will be a rotating group of B's coaches picking up the slack for Julien until he returns.

There was a certain level of personality and gravitas missing from the drills being performed on the ice, and a lot less recognizable faces on the ice for a mass of Bruins fans checking out the new practice arena for the first time. It was also a new feeling for Bruins veterans getting used to a new state-of-the-art practice home, and getting used to so many of their teammates missing while playing at the World Cup of Hockey tournament.

“It’s obviously a little different being here, and some of the changes that have been made and stuff. You get out on the ice and it’s still the same game, but we’re definitely fortunate to have this space. Guys feel good and are excited about a new year,” said Adam McQuaid. “It’s a little different missing a few guys, but it’s still the opening day of training camp with that element of wanting to get ready for the season.

“Guys are focused and excited about things. With a lot of the changes made it almost feels like you’re trying out for a new team in some ways. It’s just a new opportunity, and the way things have finished the last few years it goes back to the importance of being focused all year long. Guys are excited to get going, and put the past in the past. It’s kind of a fresh start and a new team in a way, so we can just play for one another and get it going.”

Things will start to get back to normal over the next week as the remaining World Cup players start to get assimilated into the fold - Pastrnak, Rask and Backes should be on the ice sooner rather than later after their teams were eliminated. But it will keep on feeling a little out of the ordinary for the Bruins in the short term as they wait for so much of their heart and soul to return from Toronto, and also get used to their sweet new digs at the New Balance complex in Brighton. 

Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

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Talking points: Ryan Donato's goal helps Bruins clinch playoff berth

GOLD STAR: Jaden Schwartz stepped up and won the game for the Blues with a couple of really good plays in the third period and overtime. He took advantage of a line change and a lax Bruins defense to snap a shot past Anton Khudobin from the face-off circle in the third period that tied up the game, and then went on a one-man rush in overtime before blasting a puck past Khudobin for the game-winner on a beautiful individual play. Schwartz finished with the two goals that represented all of the St. Louis offense, four shots on net, a hit and a takeaway in 20:02 of ice time while logging a plus-2 rating as well. The Blues clearly needed somebody to step up to the plate with Vladimir Tarasenko and the Schwartz was with St. Louis on Wednesday night.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins were quite literally black and blue after a physical, punishing game with the St. Louis Blues. A number of players took heavy hits against a St. Louis team that felt free to throw hits and take runs with Zdeno Chara and David Backes out of Boston’s lineup among other players, and that culminated with Brayden Schenn drilling David Krejci in the second period. It was a hit that earned Schenn a two minute penalty for charging midway through the period, but shouldn’t result in anything more for the Blues forward. The hit wasn’t late, his skates were on the ice when he made contact, and Krejci was crouched down when Schenn made impact on a heavy check with his elbows tucked in, so it looked like a relatively clean hit that isn’t going to be on the radar of the NHL’s Player Safety Department. That physicality for the Blues really seemed to slow down the Bruins a little bit as things went on over the 60 plus minutes of the overtime game.


TURNING POINT: The Bruins actually only got outshot by a 15-13 margin in the second period, third period and overtime, but it was clear that they slowed down in terms of attacking and creating chances as things moved on in the game. By the latter half of the game the Bruins were simply trying to hang on to their one-goal lead, and then after that simply trying to hang in there for the point earned by getting to overtime. They managed to do it, but it was a different wave of momentum in the game once the Blues tied things up in the third period on Schwartz’s first goal. After that the Bruins were scrambling and hanging on, and did just enough to hang in there for a single overtime point for the second game in a row.

HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan Donato made it two goals in two games when he stepped into a loose puck created by an Alex Pietrangelo turnover that bounced off referee Brad Watson after he attempted to throw a puck up the middle of the ice. Donato pounced on the fortuitous bounce and rocked a puck on edge past Jake Allen for the game’s first goal and another affirmation that the 21-year-old can both shoot and score. Donato was pretty quiet after that goal, of course, with a couple of shots on net, but it seemed like a big, heavy hit on him by Dmitri Jaskin in the second period kind of quieted the youngster down a little bit. Still, you’ve got to love the production from a player just getting his feet wet at the NHL level.

BY THE NUMBERS: 100 – The number of points for the Bruins after falling in overtime by a 2-1 score to the Blues, and in getting to the century mark the B’s clinched a playoff spot for the second season in a row.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s step one. Going into the season we wanted to make the playoffs and be a Stanley Cup contender. Right now we got in and we’re going to be a contender, right? Now it’s about being in the best position possible going forward.” –Bruce Cassidy, to reporters in St. Louis about clinching the playoff spot on Wednesday night.


Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

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Bruins celebrate playoff berth with hilarious video about fans

With a playoff berth in-hand, the Boston Bruins celebrated on Instagram with a playful video about their fans.

The short video put their fans into categories: the hugger, the faithful, the screamer, the loose cannon, the comfortable commentator and the emotional trainwreck.

No matter how the devotees enjoy Bruins games, they can all unit over their hockey team. Here's the vide for your enjoyment.

It's playoff time. Diehards unite. #InOurBlood

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