WILMINGTON, MA – The Boston Bruins concluded Training Camp today with off-ice workouts and meetings at Ristuccia Arena.
The only two B’s players that took the ice were Jordan Caron, who continues to rehab an upper-body injury, and Milan Lucic, who missed Thursday’s practice due to the birth of his daughter, Valentina. Strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides oversaw the skate.
Lucic, still donning his hospital bracelet after the skate, was glad that he can now focus solely on hockey and not have to worry about his wife, Brittany, going into labor while he was on the road or in the middle of a game.
“It was a long day, but thankfully everything went well and everything went smooth. Mother and baby are doing well,” said the first-time father. “I think the main thing is it happened before the season started, you never know when you’re on the road or you have a home game or something like that.
“It’s good that I don’t have to miss any games because of it. Now I can just sit back and get back to just focusing on hockey.”
Lucic, of course, sports number 17 on the back of his sweater. The date Valentina was born? January 17th.
“Ironically, the 17th. I guess it was just meant to be,” he quipped.
With the season opener against the Rangers on tap Saturday night, it will cap quite a week for the left winger.
“Definitely looking forward to it,” said Lucic of the start of the season. “These games are the ones that are easy to get up for. Just got to embrace the challenge, embrace the struggle and enjoy it.”
Tyler Seguin, who many believe should have a breakout season, is also anxious to get things started. He expects TD Garden to have quite the atmosphere on Saturday night, in what he thinks will be quite the game.
“I’m very excited,” said Seguin. “I think the Garden’s going to be bumping and it’s going to be a [heck] of a game. [The Providence scrimmage] was not like playing an NHL game and seeing that Garden packed, so I’m very excited for that. Can’t come soon enough.”
Seguin talked about the Bruins creating an identity early, that they can take build off as the season progresses.
“I think everyone is going to want to come out and show their identity right away. That’s our main game plan right now, going into tomorrow, is to establish an identity early on, in the first few games, and what we want to be for the rest of the year and start it off strong against a team like the Rangers.”
Late Thursday, the Bruins announced that defenseman Matt Bartkowski and forward Ryan Spooner had been assigned to Providence, forward Jamie Tardif had been placed on waivers for the purpose of being assigned to Providence, and that defenseman Aaron Johnson was joining Providence on a conditioning loan.
P-Bruins David Warsofsky, Chris Bourque, and Lane MacDermid, as well as rookie Dougie Hamilton and Burlington, Mass. native Jay Pandolfo remain with the Big Club.
Warsofsky, a Marshfield, MA native and member of Boston University’s 2009 National Championship team, is grateful for the opportunity to break camp with Boston.
“It’s exciting, especially for me growing up in this area and kind of cheering for the Bruins,” said the defenseman, who expects to have a large contingent of family on hand Saturday night. “It’s kind of a dream come true to be a part of it. I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
With camp lasting just five days, Warsofsky did not have much time to prove himself, but his time down in Providence is something that he believes helped his cause.
“It was a short camp, I think it’s obviously hard to impress when you have that amount of time,” he said. “But, I know a lot of the staff has been down in Providence this year, so I tried to take that into consideration, that they see a lot of the games down there.”
Pandolfo, a fellow Bay Stater and BU alum, is a two-time Stanley Cup champion (New Jersey Devils-2000, 2003) but he, too, said it "was a dream come true to be practicing with the Bruins right now."
"It feels great to be here," said Pandolfo, a native of Burlington. "Hopefully it lasts and it's a long term thing. But right now, I'm happy with the situation and we'll just go from there.The ultimate goal would be some day to play for them. If that happens then great."
With camp being so condensed, the players were thrown back into the fire with an intense, grueling week of preparation. For that reason, head coach Claude Julien decided to keep his team off the ice and focus on getting some rest in advance of Opening Night.
“I think we had a pretty tough five day camp here, as far as where players are this time of year, and I think we’ve succeeded in getting as much as we could get done,” said Julien. “Right now, to me, today was something I thought over, overnight a lot and this morning, and met with my coaches and shared what I thought we should do.
“I think we’re pretty unanimous in that the day off today would serve us well for tomorrow, giving us the energy and the jump that we need. You like to cover a lot of things, but sometimes you’re better to skip those things so that you kind of have the energy and give yourself the chance to win tomorrow.”