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Boston Bruins Development Camp: Day 1

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
The Bruins locker room is already filling up on Day 1 of Development Camp.
[Day 1 Gallery]

9:55 a.m.

Good morning folks. Patrice Bergeron and Manny Fernandez are in the building and the young B's continue to come in from town and their physicals.

There are already several people in the stands and the Zamboni is making its way around the ice.

Patrice and Manny showed up around 9:01 a.m. and went in the Bruins locker room to get dressed and to stretch.

At 9:20 a.m. the first batch of new B's entered Ristuccia  -- very quietly. They were joined by a second bus at 9:45 a.m.

Bergy and Manny are on the ice and just beginning to skate around.

The guys just started with a shootaround, with Bergeron skating all over the place -- very much like a kid in a candy store.

Manny looks sharp in goal.

Patrice Bergeron and Manny Fernandez.
Coach Rob Murray from the Providence Bruins came out around 10:35 and started some more formal drills -- mostly shooting drills.

Bergeron was taking slap shots and followed up on the rebound.

Then, Bergy would take a pass off the boards, shoot, collect the rebound and pass back to the boards. Then he would take another pass and shoot again.

Bergeron then took shots from the circles on both sides of Manny.

The bottom line was that seeing these guys play hockey was a sight for sore eyes.

Manny and Bergy are slowing down -- Bergeron just got Coach Murray to give him a little physical opposition in front of the net.

Manny continues to look good.

Manny Fernandez at Day 1 of Bruins Development Camp.
Fernandez was the first to talk to the media and to our own intern, Hannah Goldman.

Hannah reports:
It was undoubtedly one of the best sites to see this morning on the Ristuccia Arena ice -- Manny Fernandez and Patrice Bergeron in full gear.

Fernandez  looked like he was getting ready for any other day on the ice of practice. He looked good, and so did his knee.

”I felt good out there,” said Manny, “but it wasn’t my first time skating.

"I am ready to have a big summer; I have been skating a lot.

A big part is this summer is the camp here, I think it is going to help me out a lot to get ready for the training camp," he said.

After watching him for just an hour, it is clear how ready Manny is to be back in the net and he is ready to be a Bruin -- “A real Bruin” as he puts it -- after not getting the chance to show what he can do last season.

”Being a real member (of the team), that would be nice,” he said seriously. “It is going to be a step-by-step thing; it has been a long time (since I have played a game), but I want to get in there -- I need to get in there.

”I think I am going to try twice as hard, hopefully not too hard, but hard enough to help me out and come into camp in good shape and a good state of mind.”

The pain in his knee is gone, but the pain from having to sit out from last season is still there.
Fernandez knows what he wants to do, and it is clear that his drive, and his knee, are fully intact.

More from Manny Fernandez
On the status of the injured knee…
It feels good.  Really, really good.  Even at the end of the season, it still felt a little pain which has gone away over time so like I said, this is the best its felt for close to two years now.

On the commitment of the Bruins during his recovery…
It means a lot.  Since I got here, everyone’s been really nice and it wasn’t as easy a story for me by any means, but it wasn’t any easier for the team either.  For them to stick by me through this has shown me that the organization really thinks a lot of the players, so I want to give the organization as much as they have given me and that’s going to happen in camp; (arriving) in shape and ready to go and skating as much as I can to be in the best shape possible.

On the confidence that inspires other players…
I hope it’s like riding a bicycle, I hope that I can get back in there and play a lot of games in camp and go from there.  All I need is to get my confidence back and hopefully I can go from there; (I'll do) hard work on the ice and in practice and try to bring that into the games...I’m going to try really, really hard. I’ve shown a lot of commitment throughout the season, while I was hurt, and I think that is a big summer for me.

On watching the playoffs from the side…
I went through a lot of emotions through the season and after a while, (and despite not playing, the Bruins) sort of became like family to me...They had a great run and they surprised a lot of people. They also understand that …but hopefully next year we can get by the first round and the goal again is to make the playoffs.  There were some great results, and the goal is to make the playoffs and go from there.  The character (here) has brought us really far.  And You’re going to have a new team with some new players and a couple new acquisitions over the summer and that’s going to help us out.

Listen in on the interview:
 Dev Camp 2008: Manny Fernandez

Patrice Bergeron returns to Wilmington.
Just a few minutes later, Patrice Bergeron spoke:
On the difference in skating since April…
All the headaches and the symptoms were gone in April.  I had hopes of playing but the doctors had the right decision in the long run.  The biggest difference I think is growing better physically: I’ve put some weight back on and am in better shape cardio wise because I’ve been working out for longer.

On the excitement of being back on the ice…
Obviously (the injury) took away my passion, my sport, for six months and now that I have a chance to get back at it and skate, I think its great and I’m looking forward to September.  I wanted to come down this week to skate and to work out and make sure that I’m in the best shape I can be in.

On if he’s 100%, back to normal…
Yeah, I am.  Right  now I can say that I’m 100% and that I’m normal and feeling great…I wasn’t cleared to play during the playoffs...but if we had to play a game tomorrow, I’d be clear.

On appreciating the game and what was missed while injured…
Yeah, I said that at the end of the season last year and I’ve missed it so much.  The biggest thing that I’ve realized is that it is my passion and the sport that I love and I can’t wait to get back at it...I love playing the game and it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.

On the fans…
They’ve been there all year and they expect us to win and it’s up to us to do it.  We have to look at it game by game and you cant go ahead in the first game and say we’re going to go all the way.  You have to take it game by game and go from there and establish a chemistry and a winning attitude.

Listne to the interview, below:
 Dev Camp 2008: Patrice Bergeron  

Jordan Knackstedt
Hannah was also able to catch up with some of the Development Campers after their fitness tests:

The first morning of the Bruin’s second development camp is finished and in the books.

A morning of pull-ups, weight lifting, testing body fat and shuttle runs has the campers a little tired, yet strangely, still full of energy. It seems the guys are all in consensus -- they are hyped to be back in Boston (or Wilmington).

And belive it or not, everyone seems to have had a fun morning, testing included. However, the shuttle runs prove to be a tough test for the newcomers as well as the veterans of the camp.

They all seemed to say the same thing.

Exhibits A through D:
“It was good. It went well, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. Looking around the room, a lot of guys are just bagged. But it is a lot of fun and it is good to get ba
ck here today.”
Andrew Bodnarchuk

“This morning was pretty good. There was some huffing and puffing. That run test is not easy. But we all managed it and got through the testing. Everyone likes pushing themselves, it was good work.”
Levi Nelson

“It goes okay until you have to go outside and do the running. That is pretty tough. No matter what you do, that is always going to be tough.”
Kevin Regan

“Going into fitness testing, you always know what to expect but the shuttle run is tough. But everything else was good.”
Jordan Knackstedt

The vets knew what was coming, and were happy to pass their advise along to the newcomers although “vets” still seems like a funny term to use for the players, still in the teens and early 20's, who are really still rookies themselves.

23-year old Kevin Regan agrees.
“It is a little weird to tell you the truth,” he said. “I am definitely not used to (being an older guy). But I am probably one of the oldest guys here and I am from the area, so I will go and help out wherever I can.”

Returning campers like Adam McQuaid, Brad Marchand and Levi Nelson are ready to be leaders as well.

“It is weird coming in from last year,” Nelson said. “We were the young guys looking up to the vets and this year we are trading spots. The younger guys are looking up to us, but I am just trying my best and will help them out along the way.”

Even though the older guys told the new draft picks to get some rest last night, they were too excited to take the advice too seriously.

“The testing was hard,” said Nick Trembaly. “It was a tough day. We were up at six this morning and we didn’t get much sleep last night because we were all excited. So it was a tough day and we look forward to getting to the hotel room and getting a little rest.”

Tremblay admitted that his roommate and returning prospect Adam Courchaine told him that today wasn’t going to be easy, but the excitement is running ramped through the camp, and no one wants to do anything to curb it.

Thanks to Hannah, whose help continues to be invaluable and thanks to Media Relations Interns Mark and Erica for their help with the transcripts! JB

Don Sweeney in the skate sharpening room at Ristuccia Arena
12:49 p.m.
Don Sweeney had some interesting things to say:
On the role of second year campers…
You can tell right from the time that they walk through the door that there are some guys who feel a bit more comfortable.  It shows up a little bit in the testing because they know what to expect.  That’s really what the whole camp is about, for these guys to have familiarity with each other and our organization and what the expectations will be going forward, to plant seeds for wherever they’re going to go back and play during the course of the season when we go back and check on them to continue along their, for lack of a better term, development curve.  You would expect the guys who have been through this to be at the forefront.  I would expect that they know that. If not, it’s going to be addressed.

On how development camp can be a springboard for training camp…
Obviously, we had a number of players that were in that camp the first go-around.  [Milan] Lucic made an impact on our hockey club this year.  There’s no real reason why any one person here can’t continue to do that.  I think last year’s camp had a little bit of an older feel to it.  Some players played in Providence and such, and you would expect those guys to lead the pack.  David [Krejci] certainly did that.  Matt [Hunwick] was coming out of college and probably more mature and ready for this environment.  First and foremost, this isn’t about competing for a job this week.  There’s plenty of time for that.  This is about laying out the expectations and reaching every one of them, both individually and collectively.  So we can monitor going forward and they can also have familiarity with us in return.

On the importance of development camp for second-year campers who are unsigned…
We’re going to watch them closely during the year and even this and when they’re in training camp.  I would expect they’re making steps in the right direction with their conditioning, on the ice with individual stuff that we’ve asked them to work on to see whether or not they’re employing that in their game.  It is a flavor to have them under the same umbrella.  Amongst your own players you can evaluate and kind of get a feel for them as opposed to going back to their own teams where they’re playing under the guidelines of their own coaching staff with what they’re expected to do.

On the attendance of Manny Fernandez and Patrice Bergeron
To watch them go out and train outside – these kids realize that, they’ll take notice of that.  That’s where they want to be and that’s a stage hopefully that they’ll all get to.  I think it spoke volumes with Manny and Patrice asking to take the steps to want to come here.  They both missed extensive time last year and they’re eager. They’re chomping at the bit. It’ll be great for our players, as young as this group is, they’ll be pretty wide-eyed being around these two guys.

Listen in to Don's press scrum below:
 Dev Camp 2008: Don Sweeney, Day 1 

 Dev Camp 2008: Blake Wheeler, Day 1  
6:36 p.m.
I am truly hoping you are enjoying our coverage from Wilmington -- despite how late the reports keep rolling in.

Believe it or not, after lunch the younger guys did yet another set of activities out in the New England sunshine.

After we finished our own lunch, Hannah, Erica, Mark and I all went out to the front lawn of Ristuccia Arena and witnessed some team building exercises.

Hannah explains: They couldn’t escape the heat, but out in the sun, the guys divided into two groups to work on three main goals: process and planning, relationships and teamwork, and achieving their goal through the tasks.

The new B's were not allowed to run to complete their tasks so they had to get used to "skipping" and "jumping" along from station to station.

They may have looked a little funny to us outsiders, but the players didn't seem to mind (at least it wasn't a shuttle run) and were all smiles.

Zach Hamill, Andrew Bodnarchuk, and new additions Matt Marquardt and Blake Wheeler were the most talkative out on the grass, but everyone seemed to be working together and enjoying the bonding experience.

The prospects will hopefully take the lessons they learned today and use them the rest of the week --  working toward creative solutions, playing by the rules, and listening to each other will come in very useful for the careers that lie ahead of them.

"Most people have gone through team building exercises," said Don Sweeney who braved the heat to follow his cubs progress. "The Bruins did it up in Stowe last year.

"Everybody runs it a little differently, but the general concepts are the same.

"I got into some great coversations with Jim King, who runs Outward Bound on Thompson Island, and the more I thought about it and with as young a group as this is -- this is the first time they've gotten each others names -- hopefully they'll walk out of here today a little more familiar with each other.

"Hopefully they recognize that it is not about any one person anymore, it's the group," he said.

And after the group finished the day working with the “healing sticks” the outlook for the rest of the week in Wilmington seemed very promising.

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.
Hannah's piece got me thinking, particularly about last summer.

It’s hard to say how today differed from last season’s development camp.

The enthusiasm seemed top notch, and so did the attitudes, but that certainly isn’t a change from last year.

However, I must say that I was sitting in the press box this morning and now at my desk in the empty Garden, wondering who will be the next Lucic or Krejci in this group.

I have my guesses (and yes like everyone I have my favorites) but nobody knows who will take the reigns.

In terms of a difference, I think that will be the key – who takes the reigns.

My memories of last season are of Milan Lucic and his becoming “a captain” in a room full of teenagers.

And I remember David Krejci, with a European prospect on each his left and right, explaining North America to guys just a couple of months younger.

I won’t say that I could have predicted their (or anyone’s) jump from the Dev Camp into the big’s, but I will say that when they both came through at crunch time in March and April I was not surprised.

Not one bit.

And another thing – Boston’s last two first round draft choices never cease to amaze me with their maturity and poise.

Zach Hamill talks (in a good way) as if he has been a pro hockey player since he was born.
“It’s been pretty busy since the last time we talked,” was what Hamill said to me when I asked how things have been. “I came here for last summer’s development camp, went to Russia, went to my first training camp, played all season in Juniors, went to Providence and now I’m sitting here with you.

Click the picture to see Joe Colborne talk about Dev Camp and about throwing the first pitch out at Fenway on Wednesday.
“So there’s definitely a lot going on, but I’ve had this summer to kind of kick back, take it all in and focus on areas I need to work on within my game.”
So much for kicking back?

 Dev Camp 2008: Zach Hamill, Day 1 

Joe Colborne is pretty much the same way.

As I looked up (and at 5’6 I do look up to the 6’5 youngster) at Colborne, I am routinely shocked by the juxtaposition between the young face and the wise words coming out of his mouth.

“Here, I am with older guys and in college I will be with older guys,” explained Colborne of his developmental path. “It will be a big learning experience for me all year.

“And hopefully with Denver and with the strength training I’ll be doing there, on top of what I am doing this summer, will accelerate my (trip down the) path a bit and get me to the Bruins quicker.”

  Dev Camp 2008: Joe Colborne, Day 1 

A learning experience – that pretty much describes the 2007 Development Camp and most likely will describe this one. And there’s no doubt that the players who learn the most, and apply it to their games, will come back in September ready to vie for a job with the Black & Gold.

[ Day1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Wrap-Up ]
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