BOSTON - Everything felt back to normal at Warrior Ice Arena on Wednesday. For the first time this training camp, newly signed defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo were on the ice together for practice with the rest of the Bruins.
"They are our teammates," said Zdeno Chara. "Of course, you wish them the best and you always want to have that part of the game over with so everyone can focus on hockey and that's what's happening now. It's nice that we have everybody signed. Everyone is back together on the ice as a team. We can focus on having a strong preseason."
In addition to having McAvoy and Carlo back in the fold, Patrice Bergeron (groin) also practiced for the second time this week and was donning a regular white practice sweater for the session as he skated alongside familiar linemates Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Joakim Nordstrom (foot) also practiced in a normal practice jersey for the first time this camp.
"The band is back together," said Cassidy. "Good for Brandon to get his deal done, good to have him back, good player for us. We've known that all along. Charlie looked better today, another day on the ice. Pretty much everyone is getting back to health."
Video: Cassidy updates media after Day 7 of Training Camp
Carlo, who was taking part in his first practice of camp after signing his two-year deal on Tuesday, was thrilled to be back skating with his teammates.
"It feels great to be back around the guys," said Carlo. "You see the faces you haven't seen for quite a while. It's a brotherhood here, it's like seeing family."
Defenseman Axel Andersson and forward Zach Senyshyn were banged up during the preseason opener in New Jersey on Monday night and did not practice.
Video: Chara speaks to media after Day 7 of Training Camp
Next on the Docket
With McAvoy and Carlo now signed, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was asked if his next order of blue line business will be an extension for Torey Krug, who is an unrestricted free agent following this season. Krug is Boston's highest paid defenseman with an annual cap hit of $5.25 million.
"Torey's an important part of our hockey club," Sweeney said during a press conference announcing Carlo's signing on Tuesday. "We have some forecasting to do, we have some conversations that have to take place - they will. And I've indicated to each and every one of our players that we will have those once I have the ability to start to forecast a little more accurately. And then that will move accordingly."
Krug is far from the Bruins' only free agent next summer. Also up for new contracts: UFAs Coyle, Chris Wagner, Joakim Nordstrom, Kevan Miller, Zdeno Chara, and Jaroslav Halak, as well as restricted free agents Jake DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk.
"You've got simultaneous things going on," said Sweeney. "There's no prioritization from the standpoint of one player being in front of the other player. It's just having the ability to communicate that you have to make those decisions, maybe based financially, maybe based on who's potentially coming along to replace those players if they decide to leave.
"We had players that left our organization this year because they had opportunities and you wish them well. That may happen again, but it won't be for lack of the Bruins underappreciating what they're doing for our hockey club now."
When it comes to 42-year-old legends, Boston has the market covered. Between Chara and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the city has no better example of what hard work and determination can mean to extending a playing career.
Given their common commitment to eating well and training hard, Brady and Chara have struck up a friendship in recent years. And on Tuesday night, Chara was invited to the opening of Brady's TB12 store in downtown Boston, where the two posed for pictures together on the red carpet.
"It was very nice, very nice store, very nice gesture to get the invitation," said Chara. "Very much appreciate it. Such a class act. It's a very beautiful location; very, very nice facility. I'm sure people will greatly appreciate it and enjoy it."
Wednesday's Camp Lineups
Anton Blidh - Sean Kuraly/Joona Koppanen - David Backes
Jake DeBrusk - Jack Studnicka - Karson Kuhlman
Peter Cehlarik - Brendan Gaunce - Robert Lantosi
Jakub Lauko - Pavel Shen/Samuel Asselin - Ryan Fitzgerald
Jeremy Lauzon - Connor Clifton
Cooper Zech - Josiah Didier
Urho Vaakanainen - Alex Petrovic
Video: Kuraly Talks During Training Camp
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Paul Carey - David Krejci - Brett Ritchie
Anders Bjork - Charlie Coyle - Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom - Par Lindholm - Chris Wagner
Trent Frederic - Oskar Steen
Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - Jakub Zboril
Chris Breen - Steven Kampfer
Video: Carlo meets media after his first team skate at camp