A number of Bruins players finally took the ice on Wednesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena after the NHL, at the beginning of this week, officially moved into Phase 2 of Return to Play.
Phase 2 allows small groups of six or fewer players to skate on the ice at NHL facilities on a voluntary basis and also allows them to begin off-ice workouts with a limited amount of NHL support staff.
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Brad Marchand posted a picture on Instagram of himself with longtime line partner Patrice Bergeron as the duo returned to start skating together this morning. Marchand punctuated the post with “The boys are back!!” as the Bruins players begin the long process of working back into shape with NHL training camps not expected to ramp up until the middle of July at the earliest.
It’s the first time that No. 63 and No. 37 have been together in person since the NHL went on pause in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and came to be after Marchand announced on his clothing company’s March & Mill Co Instagram account that he planned on hitting the ice for the first time today.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was also back in Boston over the last few weeks and took part in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Brookline over the weekend, so the 43-year-old may have returned as well. But there was no indication whether or not Chara was there with Bergeron and Marchand on Wednesday as the B's leaders kicked off workouts.
More Bruins players are expected to filter in over the next couple of weeks while getting back on the ice and preparing for a return to play that still doesn’t have an official date or a location while the NHL and NHLPA still hammer out the details.
Still, for this day at least it’s permissible to simply be excited at the sight of Marchand and Bergeron smiling, skating and beginning the road back to a return that everybody hopes will happen safely and successfully.