BOSTON, MA -- Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly are two of the B's that reporters consider go-to guys when it comes time to take the pulse of the Black & Gold.
Today that heart rate was racing as "Bergy" and "Kells" were on the ice within city limits as the B's assistant captains returned to the fold within the confines of Jack Parker Rink at BU's Agganis Arena.
"I came down last night," said Kelly this morning after an informal "captain's practice" on Commonwealth Avenue. " It’s great to be back in the city, back seeing the guys - a lot of them I haven’t seen since late April or May.
"It seems like forever ago."
"I’m very happy to be back," he said. "Last night I was just happy to be crossing the border and be back in Boston, back at my place, it just felt like home and it was a good feeling last night."
It was a good feeling this morning, as well. Bergeron and Kelly joined B's Captain Zdeno Chara as additions to the group of NHLers skating to prepare for the upcoming campaign.
Bergeron, like all of his teammates who had talked to BostonBruins.com this week, said he was ready for training camp and welcomed a return to action.
"I feel pretty good," said Bergeron. "I’ve kept busy.
"I played in Switzerland, I felt good, you have to adjust to the smaller ice but other than that, it’s good to see the guys.
"We’re looking forward to getting started."
"This is great," said Kelly, who also played in Switzerland this season. "We want to play hockey and we finally get that chance to and, like I said, it’s just nice being in the dressing room if only for a short time and seeing the guys.
"You really do miss them when you’re not around all the time."
Nobody will be missing anyone in the short run however, as a shortened season will surely put a premium on preparation time.
"It will be unique," said Kelly. "Obviously, a condensed season and a lot of games in a short period of time but I think the guys…are excited to play hockey and I think if you would have told us we had to play every day now until June, everyone would agree and said no problem.
"So, we’re happy to be back."
As for the B's chances, Bergeron hopes that the high number of Bruins players who played professionally over the past few months will make a difference.
"You would hope so," said Bergeron. "A week is not very long to get ready but at the same time I know at this level, guys are very good and very smart.
"I think it helped us to have that many guys playing real games, obviously it’s not as physical but, still, you get involved, it’s different than practicing so it’s a plus but you still need to bring your A game right away to be ready.
"I think the fact that we have all the guys coming back could help us with the chemistry."
But chemistry hasn't been an issue in the Bruins locker room for some time and that camaraderie was on display as Kelly searched for a jersey to wear for this morning's session.
Tyler Seguin had some extras - emblazoned with his name across the back.
"He had to pay me to put that thing on," said Kelly with a wide smile. "I asked him for the leading scorer [jersey] but he wouldn’t give it to me."