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Bruins Bonded Before Belfast

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Wilmington, MA -- Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara continues to agree with the assessment that his club is a tighter group after they returned from Europe, but today he also said that Belfast and Prague weren't the be-all end-all of the Bruins burgeoning togetherness during the preseason.

Boston Bruins' Nathan Horton, center, reacts with his teammates, David Krejci, right, and Zdeno Chara, left, after scoring during the first period of a preseason NHL hockey game between Boston Bruins and Bili Tygri Liberec in Liberec, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
"It was happening before that, too," said Chara. "We had that time in Vermont, then we had two quick games and we left for Europe.

"What happens when you do that team bonding stuff and everyone is buying into it and all of sudden you see how everyone is reacting to those things and making sure it doesn't get off track."

Bruins beat cop Shawn Thornton agreed with his captain, and said that the time together, be it in Wilmington, Brattleboro or Belfast, has allowed the team to gel.

"Definitely. I think we are a very tight knit group," said Thornton. "I think it's been pretty well documented, but [when you're together on the road] you get to see different sides of guys, sides that you didn't know were there.

"It's fun to get to get to know people in different ways.

"When you are at home, you're still a tight group, but everyone has families and everyone has their own stuff going on," continued Thornton. "So when you get to a situation where you are in a different country for that amount of days, you're forced to hang out with each other and that's a good thing. Forced isn't a bad word in that sentence."

Chara and Thornton could have had the same speech writer.

"When we did that Vermont bonding stuff...and then we went to Europe. I don't want to say that you are 'forced' to be together, but those kind of trips you are always together, because you don't go home to your family and you just stay within that group of your teammates," said Chara. "You do breakfasts, lunches and dinners together and I think that is very important."

Like Thornton, Chara is pleased with how the Bruins are bonding as a team and says that the off ice activities that have dominated the Black & Gold's preseason have enhanced what is going on during practices and games.

"Of course," said the B's captain. "First you have to become a team off the ice and then you transfer that to the team on the ice.

"So, I know we have a really good team and a really good group of guys and we're getting along together really well and respecting each other."

As professional hockey players, both Chara and Thornton know that they are only judged by what happens on the ice. That said, over the last couple of days, the on-ice Bruins are coming together as well as the off-ice version.

"Guys have really bore down and come to play," said Thornton of the Bruins first two practices since their return from overseas. "Everyone's been very professional with the way that they have been approaching practices and we've had some good tempo and there's been no [laziness].

"So it's been positive the whole time."

Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, the ultimate judge of what's been going on during B's practices this week in Wilmington said that he too, has been happy with how his club has reacted since their return.

"Yeah, I like what I've seen so far," he said. "I think we've practiced well and you usually play the way you practice and so far our guys haven't disappointed, so hopefully it carries on and we get ourselves ready for the weekend."
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