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.