WILMINGTON, Mass. – In the kind of inauspicious start the Bruins were probably looking to avoid at the opening of rookie camp, all three 2015 first-round picks by the Bruins – Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn – failed the conditioning test on Thursday morning. The test consists of a series of six back-and-forth 300 meter sprints with three minutes of rest in between each run, and all of them must be completed in under one minute’s time.
While Bruins general manager Don Sweeney gave the youngsters a bit of a pass because the runs were done on a wet, slippery turf surface, it’s also a clear indicator there is still work to be done for each of the talented teenagers. The conditioning test was the second time all the B’s prospects were put through this particular run after going through the same testing at July’s development camp, and none of three first-round picks were able to pass the test on either occasion.
“There’s still an educational process [here]. These are young kids, and they need to understand they are now being evaluated as pros,” said Sweeney, who said all players that flunked the conditioning test will still get a chance to play in the Buffalo rookie tournament this week. “They have to compare themselves against the pros and the established guys. If you don’t realize that there’s some work to be done then that will be pointed out.
“Really it’s about going forward for each and every one of them. Some guys will return to their junior teams with the expectation next year that they have to pass. We expect them to pass. They’ll have to do some work as a result of it. But it’s still an educational process as far as their personal growth.”
DeBrusk was the closest of the three to pass the conditioning run, but said the conditions made it even more challenging to pass the test.
“I was close, so I know what to expect and work on for next time,” said DeBrusk, who finished at exactly a minute on the third sprint to just barely fail the test. “I did way better than I did in the first time. I passed two out of the three. It was tough out there because we were on turf, and it was raining outside today. So sometimes you were slipping and falling out there. That cuts down a couple of seconds, but I was right there.”
Clearly, it’s not the end of the world as it’s not abnormal for 18-year-olds to flunk the grueling conditioning run in their first couple of times out of the gate. At the end of the day it’s not such a bad thing for the first-round picks to get a bit of a wakeup call after a charmed summer where their NHL Draft dreams became reality. Now each of the trio knows that it’s all business with the Bruins from here on out, and the expectations have been raised now that they represent the Original Six organization.