BOSTON - A day after getting Charlie McAvoy back in the mix, the Bruins added another body at practice on Monday as Patrice Bergeron made his training camp debut. Boston's top centerman donned a maroon non-contract jersey as he continues to work through a lingering groin injury.
"[Felt] good, it was great to be back with the group and starting to get the rhythm back slowly," said Bergeron, who had been skating separately with skills coach Kim Brandvold for the first three days of on-ice sessions. "That's still part of the program…get on the ice and start to get a feel of how I'm feeling with going full speed with the rest of the group, and obviously getting the rhythm and my hands back. Good first day, happy with how I felt, and everything is going according to plan."
Bergeron appeared to be practicing without any hinderance as he took his familiar place between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak during the session.
"This summer's been a slow ramp up," said Bergeron. "I had to go through a few things to make sure I was fully healthy. We had to kind of take some precautions early in camp…it's still pretty early. I'm here and I'm skating, so I'm happy with how I feel."
Video: Bergeron talks re-joining full group
The 34-year-old, who set a career high with 79 points in just 65 games last season, said that he is not quite sure how long it will be before he can switch out to a regular practice sweater.
"I know tomorrow is off for me and everyone else, so that was the whole point was for me to have a good skate today and take [Tuesday] off and make sure I felt good on Wednesday and go from there," said Bergeron.
"I'm not sure if I'm keeping that jersey on for the rest of the week, but there's a good chance, probably, that it's going to stay on for a little bit and slowly ramp things up."
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy made clear that he's not worried about Bergeron's progress, noting that he doesn't expect his veteran core to play in any of the first three preseason contests as the team guards against added wear and tear following last spring's run to the Stanley Cup Final.
"We'll go as Bergy goes, as he says he goes," said Cassidy. "If he says he feels good then wants to wear a white jersey on Wednesday, he does. If he wants to wear the maroon one, that's fine. I'm not worried about him, he'll kind of go at his own pace. When he's ready to go full go, we'll integrate him.
"I don't know when he'll get in a game. I highly doubt any of our vets who have been around a little bit will play this week. I just think that we have to be careful there. So, we might have to squeeze [someone] in - there's rules about certain numbers of vets [have to play in preseason games] - but otherwise we want to probably wait until next week."
Back in Business
The Bruins will kick off the preseason on Monday night in New Jersey, with Chris Wagner, Brett Ritchie, and Steven Kampfer the most notable veterans getting the call. For Wagner, it will be his first game action since fracturing his right forearm during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final.
"It's definitely better than practice, it's fun to play other teams," said Wagner. "I don't mind playing the games just because that's what you get judged on pretty much…[you] just kind of reacclimate to the pace of the game. I'm sure it will be fast."
Video: Ritchie, Wagner, Senyshyn Talk Before Game 1
Ritchie, meanwhile, will be looking to make an impression on the Bruins' brass as he attempts to secure a roster spot. The winger is expected to play alongside Paul Carey and Jack Studnicka.
"I'm just going to play my game," said Ritchie, who was signed to a one-year, $1 million contract on July 1. "I'm not going to try to do anything that I normally wouldn't do. Just using my body and trying to be physical, fast, try to increase scoring chance."
According to the Devils, No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes and newly acquired blue liner P.K. Subban will be in the lineup for the preseason opener at Prudential Center.
"Jersey plays hard," said Wagner. "They're hard to play against in the regular season, too, so I'm sure they'll be flying around, making decisions with the puck and kind of moving with the puck too."
Video: The Bruins gear up for the first preseason game
Monday's Camp Lineups
Paul Carey - Jack Studnicka - Brett Ritchie
Anton Blidh - Par Lindholm - Chris Wagner
Ryan Fitzgerald - Trent Frederic - Oskar Steen
Jakub Lauko - Brendan Gaunce - Zach Senyshyn
Urho Vaakanainen - Alex Petrovic
Jakub Zboril - Steven Kampfer
Chris Breen - Axel Andersson
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Karson Kuhlman
Anders Bjork - Charlie Coyle - Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - David Backes
Peter Cehlarik - Pavel Shen - Samuel Asselin - Joona Koppanen
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Josiah Didier
Matt Grzelcyk - Connor Clifton
Jeremy Lauzon - Cooper Zech