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Bear Essentials On The Road: St. John's, Newfoundland

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Bear Essentials On the Road: St. John's Newfoundland (Mile One Centre)

Hey folks. The Bear Essentials will be On the Road for several games this season and I will do my best to keep you informed about what is going on and where it is happening. Today, the Bruins travel to Canada for their first exhibition game of the 2007 preseason.

St. John's (photo: City of St. John's)
Where are we going?

The capital and largest city in Newfoundland, St John's is located on the eastern side of the Avalon Peninsula of southeast Newfoundland. Its landlocked harbor is approached through a long, narrow channel and is protected by the high hills on which the city is built. The origin of the name is unknown, but according to popular folklore, the city takes its name from the feast of Saint John the Baptist and the discovery of Newfoundland for England on June 24, 1497 by the Italian discoverer Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot).

Click here for a photo tour of St. John's on the City of St. John's website.
Where are we playing?
The Mile One Centre, formerly known as Mile One Stadium, is the main sports and entertainment center in the City of St. John’s, Newfoundland. It opened in 2001, replacing Memorial Stadium.

The arena is located at the beginning of the Trans-Canada Highway, hence the name, Mile One. The arena holds 6,250 hockey fans. Mile One Centre was originally home to the St. John’s Maple Leafs of the AHL, which then became the Toronto Marlies in 2005.

Toronto’s team left the area, and was followed by St. John’s Fog Devils of the QMJHL.

Who are we playing?
The New York Islanders began play in 1972 and rapidly developed a dominant team that won four consecutive Stanley Cup championships in the early 1980s. They are based in Uniondale, Long Island and call the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum home.

When are we playing?
The game, despite the many misprints, is actually at 5:30 pm ET.

John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
Who's playing for us?
Team A is making the trip.

57 Jordan Sigalet
30 Tim Thomas
33 Zdeno Chara
21 Andrew Ference
48 Matt Hunwick
49 Matt Lashoff
45 Mark Stuart
6 Dennis Wideman
11 P.J. Axelsson
43 Martins Karsums
12 Chuck Kobasew
46 David Krejci
32 Jeff Hoggan
62 Milan Lucic
63 Brad Marchand
13 Glen Metropolit
56 Petteri Nokelainen
91 Marc Savard
72 Peter Schaefer
22 Shawn Thornton

Is the game on?
No and yes. There is no radio or NESN coverage. However, the NHL Center Ice online preview is saying that the Bruins and the Islanders can be watched, for free, by signing up for a free trial of their Center Ice Online system.

Keep in mind, however, that the teams and the NHL are just getting this system online, so be patient.

Traveling Tuesday...
9:20 a.m. I am at the TD Banknorth Garden tying up some loose ends. Some of Team A is participating in game day skate at Wilmington. We are all leaving to head to the airport in a couple of hours.

To the many nice people from the St. John's area who wrote in to tell me about some things to do in Newfoundland -- no dice.

I will be on "The Rock" for approximately six hours.

There and back, folks! I won't even get to see the Cabot Tower...I do however hope to meet some nice people at the rink. Tom McVie, longtime Bruins scout, said that the folks in Newfoundland are simply the nicest people around.

10:00 a.m. Getting nervous. Do you get nervous when you fly? I haven't done it enough to feel comfortable every time.

I wonder if there are Tim Horton's in St. John's?

10:35 a.m. I have just been informed that "there are Hundred's of Tim Horton's in St John's, lol!" Thanks, Dustin!

11:04 a.m. Packing up the computer. We are outta here!

12:37 p.m. Got through customs without a hitch. I boarded on the plane and started filling out a Canada Border Services Agency Declaration Card and started to fill it out on the French side…my neighbor in the seat next to me pointed out that he was surprised that my first language was French (it's not), laughed and pointed out the English side.

So much for my college education!

It was really nice to see John "Chief" Bucyk meet us at the airport. The Chief is the Team Road Services Coordinator and he was smiling as the players entered the terminal.

12:43 p.m. Not sure what we are over at this point, but my guess is New Hampshire going into southern Maine. The sky is absolutely beautiful, with just a hint of whispy clouds. We are over the ocean, so I am able to see the New England coastline (which I have driven many times), but this is a unique juxtaposition.

The scouting staff is sitting around me, and if there is a nicer (and harder working) bunch of people in hockey, let me meet them. Tom McVie and I had a nice conversation coming over to the airport and he told me that when he played back in the day his meal money -- per day -- was only $5 and he took the train here and there; sometimes from Seattle to Calgary, and everywhere in between, no doubt.

Mr. McVie embodies the rest of the scouts we have on staff -- they just live and love hockey.

In the back of the plane, the players are getting their meals, and resting up for the game. The club looked to be in high spirits and there were lots of smiles going around.

More in a bit…

1:08 p.m.
Big Z just game by.

For someone who takes his place on the team so seriously (some have said that he cares too much) he was surprisingly loose this morning and looked to be excited to play.

I hope he does not put too much pressure on himself. He is only one guy -- albeit an important guy -- and he did not deserve the blame he took for last season. I just think he was the biggest target. I expect him to be a major factor in the team's turnaround this year.

Tim Thomas and I chit-chatted on the way from the terminal to the plane.

Spiffed out in a suit, Timmy looked worlds apart from the ice-bound dirt dog that he is. It will be nice to see what he brings to the table this evening, should he start. He has looked sharp in training camp.

Savvy said "Hello" as well, and was surprised to see me waiting for the bus to the airport.

I didn't tell him this, but I have been waiting to see him play all summer -- Marc is truly "the straw that stirs the drink" on this squad and deserves to be getting more respect around the league. Maybe another 90-plus point season and a trip to the playoffs will do the trick.

In any case, I figure that his all-star game campaign starts tonight.

There are a lot of people to root for on this club, by the way, and it's not just the superstars like Savvy and Z, Jeff Hoggan being one of the guys at the top of the list.

The hard working Nebraska-Omaha alum just lives for the game and enjoys every minute with that spoked-B on his chest. During the preseason he has clearly been pushing himself and will certainly look to have a big game this evening…

We are still over the ocean, and I am not even going to venture a guess as to where the heck we are, but we are being served lunch so I am going break off for a while…especially because the air is getting choppy and I am not the greatest flyer in the world.

The scenery continues to be gorgeous, though.

1:34 p.m. It's funny to watch people killing time on a plane. Some, like me, pound away typing. Some sleep, some read.

I wonder if everyone is as anxious to land as me. I figure that must be the case.

I've got to believe that we are over Canada at this point. And the estimated time of our arrival is coming soon, so that is good. I hope someday to come back this way, maybe with my dad, and take a look at some of the things I am seeing from the air -- it's all blue (water) and green (trees).

My guidebook (DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Canada) says that John Cabot, who around 1497 made a trip to these parts, started a fish-rush by saying that the "sea was so full of fish that a basket thrown overboard is hauled back brimming with cod."

That one sentence apparently made St. John's a bustling seaport. There are a bunch of fishermen on the club, so maybe I should fail to mention that until after the game.

2:07 p.m. (which is actually 3:37 p.m. in St. John's) Still in the air, but the flight attendants are starting to bustle around and there is actually land under us right now. We seemed to be over open ocean for quite a while, then some pretty lonely looking stretches of coastline appeared.

Now, I can see houses and towns here and there.

The air is getting choppy again and I feel like we are slowing down, with a little big of a decent.

Almost there, folks…

3:49 p.m. AT We are descending and try as I might to get any kind of signal to post, nothing yet. So you will get this in one fell swoop when I land.

5:58 p.m. AT I am in the process of trying to get some Internet coverage.

Thus far, I am not doing so hot. Word is that a tech person is bringing a router up to the press box in order to accommodate all of us technologically needy New Englanders. Unfortunately this is cramping my blogging style. Oh well.

Seriously, I never thought I would feel so hopeless.

Johnny Bucyk
6:12 p.m. AT
John Bucyk has joined us in the box, so things are looking up. Oh, and there is a router in a box behind me.

6:37 p.m. AT The boys are on the ice in their new jerseys. I am very happy with their looks. The goalies, in particular,  look very cool with their equipment and the new sweaters.

This arena, and the people, are VERY nice.


6:54 p.m. AT
It is sporadic, but we have contact!  11:10 until game time.

No surprises in the lineup.

The Islanders look like this:
35 MacDonald
33 Mike Morrison

10 Bergenheim
27 Bootland
37 Brennan
54 Dwyer
11 Hilbert
7 Hunter
64 Labelle
51 Nielsen
12 Simon
15 Tambellini
63 Vasicek
29 Walter

14 Campoli
49 Fata
2 Johnson
24 Martinel
44 Meyer
6 Spiller

7:01 p.m. AT (3 minutes to go)...

7:05 p.m. AT
The Boys are on the ice! Shawn Thornton was just greeted with a nice round of applause. He was a fixture here with the St. John's Maple Leafs.

20:00 on the clock. Your Bruins starters are Schaefer, Savard, Karsums with Stuart and Chara and Timmy Thomas in goal.

A little break in the internet. Thornton took down Kip Brennan in a fight. And the B's killed a Isles power play. By the way, I was just informed that we are being broadcast online on Center Ice. Go to our front page for details in Story 1.

Bruins on the power play...

4:06 on the Clock. Jeff Hoggan puts the B's up 1-0 stuffed it by Morrison. Great shot. Matt Hunwick gets the assist.

Catching up...Chuck Kobasew scores the second Boston goal. I saw it on the video monitor -- me and Chief needed hot dogs and he was paying, so I was walking.

B's lead 2-0 after one.

Rock dogs are pretty good, by the way.

Second Period
Axelsson, Krejci and Kobasew on the ice to start.

18:44 Hunwick off for hooking.

17:44 Jeff Hoggan has another goal! Shorthanded from Ference.

16:50 Chris Campoli scores to make it 3-1 at 3:10.

10:51 Bruins back in control and on the power play.

9:39 Timmy out. Jordan Sigalet in.

5:37 Big Z, who looked as if he wanted to go with Chris Simon, was obliged by Brennan. Z landed three but lost his footing on the final one. Brennan did not get his arms loose to land anything and the fight was over very quickly.

1:18 B's continue to be in control of the play.

0:00 B's 3, Isles 1.

Third Period
The boys are on the ice for the third...

Internet issues.
8:33 Andrew Ference just fought Vasicek.

2:50 Lucic fought Spiller -- Lucic scores a definite victory.

Final score 3-1 B's.

2:05 a.m. ET I got home a few minutes ago. Time for bed.

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