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Boston Bruins Development Camp: Day 4

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
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.

This morning, Interns Hannah and Angela are keeping an eye on things, while I search for open wireless connections!

8:58 a.m. -- Michael Hutchinson, Patrice Bergeron and Joe Loprieno are out on the ice

9:03 -- Manny Fernandez heads out there too.

As usual, the vets along with two other campers get an early jump on the day.

The other three goaltenders have each taken their turn coming out onto the ice early with Fernandez.

The long night of Beckett Bowl certainly doesn’t seem to be slowing down Patrice and Manny.

9:07 – We’re not sure how the players are still going – seemingly – strong.

Bergy and Joe spent the time running some passing and shooting drills with help from the coaches and, once again, Cam Neely – who took his own turn with the drills.  The group was, quite literally, skating circles around the two goaltenders, firing shots off from every angle as the two took turns in net.

Patrice Bergeron
9:17 -- Levi comes out of the locker room before the rest of the group, once again, no surprise there. He is skating by the boards and throws over a puck to a little tyke.

Nelson is almost always the first of the rest of the group to emerge from the locker room.  He took to the other end of the rink, taking shots – including some from the red line, next to the bench – on the empty net. 

Adam Courchaine filled the crease soon after, giving both campers some good one-on-one practice.

It’s hard to say who the shootout winner was, but Levi made a nice one by faking out Adam, and another one off the goalpost, while Adam had numerous pad saves from some close-range shots.

9:25 -- The rest of the campers are emerging from the depths of Ristuccia and the stands are filling up.  The small practice with the early risers is still going on at one end of the rink, but Courchaine is getting his own workout, now facing shots from all the campers.

9:28 -- Everyone’s out of the locker room, looking wide-awake and ready to go.  They’re skating circles around the ice again – and, like yesterday, Cam has joined in.

9:34 -- Stretching time.  It’s kind of funny to watch the goalies, in all their giant padding, do splits in the center circle with the rest of the team.

9:40 -- The first drill of the day gets under way. From the blueline, they pass to a d-man on the opposite blueline who passes the puck back to them to skate in and take a shot.

Scott Bradley, Claude Julien
9:43 -- He may not be running practice on the ice, but that doesn’t mean B’s head coach Claude Julien isn’t present and accounted for.  If you’re not sitting on the bench side of the rink, you probably missed him, though.  Coach is currently stationed on the top bleacher in the corner by the locker room.  He has been there all week watching intently as the practice continues below.

10:11 -- The stands are VERY full of fans, and many are even standing along the outside of the boards to watch.  I guess that should be no surprise – the parking lot was pretty full when even we pulled in at 9 a.m.

It may be early and cold in here, but the B’s fans don’t seem to mind.

10:18 -- The Zamboni’s clearing the ice right now.

The campers have been running many different types of drills for a while – people skating everywhere, pucks flying across the ice – interspersed with skating around the ice and meetings by the bench to discuss the next set of drills.

Every time we watch them run drills like these, we keep wondering if someone’s going to run into someone else and hoping it doesn’t happen.  After all, it happens in games – usually on purpose, but sometimes not – and that’s when they’re all going after one puck and fewer guys out there.

Thankfully, everyone seems to know where they’re going, and any potential crises have been avoided.

The stands keep getting more packed with fans..

Rough guesstimate = 200 + in attendance.

10:20 -- After some three-on-two's, the boys take to the locker room for a short breather.

What’s coming next? Scrimmage? Power skating? We’ll see…

10:30 -- Levi is already back out waiting for the Zamboni to get off the ice…

If the boys are scrimmaging today, it isn’t happening yet. No uniform changes.

"Listen up!"
10:35 -- The boys are back on the ice and ready for part two of the on-ice workout, and we’re off with some more drills – this time it’s three players against a goalie.

Down on this end of the ice, Adam McQuaid got knocked down but turned it into a nice stomach-dive across the ice, and Marchand just had a nice goal, flipped over the shoulder of Courchaine.

We’ve got to hand it to Marchand, he is playing very well out there, and has gotten the puck past Courchaine and Michael Hutchinson a few times now.

Also, Jamie Arniel had perfect timing, sliding the puck between Courchaine’s legs just before he butterflied to the ice.

10:59 -- The goalies are getting a workout with the rooks working hard during a shooting drill.

11:03 -- Uh-oh, the boys gathered in the corner to listen in to skating coach, Paul Vincent.

You know what this means!

The first skating drill is going the entire length of the ice on just their right leg, without their left hitting the ice at all. D-men skating backwards. Down one side of the rink, back up the other.

The boys’ faces are crunched in concentration.

Sweeney, who is now on the ice, gives Bodnarchuk some advice during a speed skating drill.

Power skating drill.

11:14 --  Now they’re doing something similar, but doing what can only be described as a “weird push, flip thing” with their left foot, which is up in the air.  It looks like they can touch the ice with the tip of the left skate, but that’s it.  The words “combine the two” were just uttered. 

The boys are under my window again, and they look none too happy about this recent development.

11:16 --  Meanwhile, the goalies are taking turns in net while three of the coaches, who are standing in a triangle position – two behind the net, one in front – pass the puck around and shoot it.  Looks like no one’s getting off easy today.

Maxime Sauve just got a compliment about his good arm movements while he skates.

11:16 --  The coaches are bringing out tiny nets and putting them at center ice.  Meanwhile, two extra large nets have been added to the rink.  Kevin Regan and Courchaine have taken spots in two of the large nets – the ones in the usual spot. 

After getting pucks back onto the ice, the rooks do a skating and stick handling drill where they weave in and out of the mini nets going in circles around the center ice circle, and after looping a net near the blueline, they take a shot from the point.

Talk about an interesting setup.

11:37 -- After many drills with all the nets, it looks like practice is finally done for the day.

11:45 -- The campers hit the locker room to quickly change into warm-ups for another off ice session with Whitesides.

Afternoon update
We are in The Garden waiting on dinner with the new B's. For now, here are some quotes from the campers.

Adam Courchaine
On returning to development camp
“I think a lot of the guys kind of understand how hard it was going to be.  Some of the younger guys were telling me the off-ice test seemed pretty hard.  Coming back [for a second year,] you get to be one of the leaders, which is good, and knowing a lot of the guys is also good because you can hang out with them, and it’s easy to talk to everybody.”

Jordan Knackstedt
On building chemistry
“The first day, everyone’s a bit rusty, but as you get on the ice, everybody gets better…and I think that’s a key part [of camp.]  The flow drills help get your legs and arms going, and scrimmages are always a bonus.  Obviously, team-building exercises always help, and you get to know everyone a bit better.  [Coming back for a second year,] you know what to expect from last year, so that helps.”

Matt Read
On how the camp has gone so far…
“Pretty good. I haven’t been on the ice for a while so I am starting to get out here. And it is a wonderful opportunity that they presented me with, and so far it has been great.”

On how it feels to be out on the ice again…
“It is great to be out there. I love hockey and the opportunity to be out here with a whole bunch of guys who have done well for themselves. So it is a great opportunity and I am excited to be out on the ice with them.”

On what he plans to take back to Bemidji State with him this school year…

“I have actually learned quite a bit. Our coach teaches a little bit different of a style. But everything – going wide, and using your edges, the stuff we just did – everything you can bring back to Bemidji and just improve your game. Selfishly, but as a team too.”

On what is goal is this week at camp…
“Learning a little bit more with the game. And just taking the opportunity to get to know what it is like to be a professional hockey player and see how some of the guys like Fernandez and Bergeron live their life and see how well off they are. And realize that this is how I want to live my life, and just experience it.”

On what his favorite part of camp has been so far…
“Being on the ice, and team activities off the ice have been really fun. We went to King’s last night, it was a great atmosphere and it has been a fun week.”

Don Sweeney
On the day's events…
"Today’s a little bit of a hump day, I guess.  The guys are obviously feeling a little bit sore, some of the guys haven’t been on the ice that much which is a good chance to have the power skating side of it rather than the physical contact, that you start seeing in some of the drills they had yesterday and a little bit in the scrimmage side of it.  So, it's good for them to get out power skating-wise in the second session but a lot of good, specific drills in the morning. Again (we're) identifying some stuff, some weaknesses, some areas that they can take...and apply it going forward, be it their own team or, for a lot of these kids, back in September."

On the returning campers…
"I don’t think I ever went as far to say that it isn’t a competitive environment that we are creating around here, I’ll be the last one to say that that’s not the case.  Its not competing for jobs, per say, but it is opening eyes and people taking notice as to what your brining to the table in all different facets, be it away from the ice or in the gym, on the ice in the areas of your game that we want to identify what guys are going to have to work on and hopefully they’re going to self-identify some of the stuff -- realizing that they are not big enough or strong enough in areas and they want to work on their shot and release points. Goaltending is getting a lot of one-on-one work with Bobby (Essensa), both pre-going on the ice and after the fact, narrowing down what they need to work on.  In a lot of the situations this year, people have looked at them from a draft perspective and said, this is what they all do well, and they’ve heard that they do things well. This is one of the first few times that (they'll hear) there are areas that they still need to work on, things that they don’t do well and I think that’s an important (part of the development process."

On the practice drills…
"The wheels are always spinning with Paul (Vincent).  Maybe he’ll take some little nuance that somebody else is teaching and apply it to his just to make it a little more difficult to take somebody out of their comfort zone.  A lot of those drills, just using just one edge to go down one end of the ice, people don’t realize that there’s a lot of balance, a lot of core strength required to do those things and that was part of the exercise today.  It’s based on, in their word, hump day, and they're a little fatigued and now you still recruit the muscle it takes to do that drill…Everybody turns better one way, I guarantee you.  Lefties will turn to their backhand better.  Its about, like I’ve said, maybe identifying some of your weaknesses in areas that you need to improve upon and balance out, and he’ll find some weaknesses, just give him a little bit of time out there."

On comparing last years camp to this years…
"We’ll wait and do a little feedback session with the players and obviously we have a lot of staff here that are able to evaluate the kids and how well the camp is going and take suggestions as we did from last year, move forward and hopefully continue to get it right."

On Regan’s first season…
"I would think that any goaltender has got some form of adjustment period going forward into the pro game, the level of shooters are that much better but I spoke about this earlier, Kevin, the last two years, coming to work with John Whitesides in the summer time and playing the amount of games and having the success he had at UNH sets him up well for going forward.  He’s a hard working kid, he’s diligent about what he’s doing on a day-to-day basis.  I have no reservations as to whether or not he’s going to work in practice, in games, in between starts.  There’s no way to predict how many games but things change along the way, but I also know that he’ll be ready with the challenges that we throw at him and we’ll address it as we go along and see how he's making the adjustment."

 Dev Camp 2008: Don Sweeney, Day 4  

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