A line of parents watched the skate — just like old times.
The Bruins are hosting a Fathers Trip as the team jets off to Raleigh to play the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
"It's always great to give the parents an opportunity to see the good work they've done with their kids," said Head Coach Claude Julien.
"And some of the deficiencies that still need some work," the bench boss added with a smirk. "It's great. It makes for a fun situation and there's no doubt, the players get motivated for that, so hopefully that's the motivation we need tomorrow to win ourselves another big hockey game."
After practice, the fathers were set to fly with their sons and get in some quality bonding time on the road — with their sons, teammates, coaches and the rest of the staff.
"We get a chance to meet there today, get to know where some of those personalities are coming from," smiled Julien.
"It's a good way to get to know the other side of a player, so I think it's a good thing."
The players have been looking forward to the experience.
"It will be fun for me, especially because he's been a big part of my hockey career and probably the biggest influence in my life," said Torey Krug. "So just to take him on the road and show him what it's like will be a treat for him and I speak to him after every game — I call him, from the road or at home."
"So it will be nice, won't have to pick up the phone this time," Krug smiled.
The defenseman was also anticipating meeting his teammates' fathers and seeing the interaction among the group. The team already picked up a big two points in a 5-1 win over Pittsburgh with their fathers at TD Garden on Wednesday night.
"It's great, because you learn more about your teammates this way and we'll probably go to dinner tonight with the dads and just enjoy the time," said Krug. "And you always want to impress your father, so I think it'll be another opportunity to play another strong game and hopefully we come away from four points with the fathers here and we'll just have to keep bringing them back."
"This is my first one I've ever been on, so it's a lot of fun," said Jimmy Hayes, whose father actually went on the New York Rangers' fathers trip with his brother Kevin last season. "My dad looks forward to it — he went on one last year with my brother and had a great time. He just loves being around hockey and meeting all of the other dads — it's a big thrill for him and he's really excited."
"My dad was talking last night with some of the other dads and how they interacted with their kids growing up so it's pretty cool to see everybody interact with one another — and they all seem very similar and they've got all of their kids in the NHL, so it's a lot of fun, it's a great time for the dads to get to know each other better as well."
Like many youth sports, hockey requires much sacrifice from parents though the years. Ice time hours are often early in the morning and late at night, with weekends full of hockey and plenty of expenses going towards the sport.
"The sacrifice is huge," said Krug. "Not only the time you have to take to drive your kid to practice, there and back, no matter what time of the day it is and you know, it involves a lot of money, too, so the sacrifices they make in a lot of different ways, it's tough to repay them for sure."
"For me, I always said I wanted to pay my parents back by getting a full ride to school — that way, they don't have to pay for your school — and I thought that was a big part of it," said Krug, who attended Michigan State. "It's an effort that everybody takes part of, and it doesn't just fall on the hockey player's shoulders — it's the whole family."
This trip is a small way to repay the parents and give the fathers a chance to see up close how that sacrifice has paid off.
"Exactly," Julien said. "I still remember back in my day when we'd get to the rink and it wasn't open yet. It was still dark and you're sitting in the car with your equipment on, getting ready to play a 5:30, 6:00 a.m. hockey game, so that hasn't changed."
"Parents deserve a lot of credit for getting up, especially after a hard week of work and having to get up at that time on the weekend, just to bring your kids out to hockey games."
Continuing Effort vs. Penguins
When the Bruins face off against the Hurricanes on Friday, they will be looking to build off their 5-1 effort against Pittsburgh.
The victory gave the team an added boost, having been the first home win since Feb. 6.
"It's a big win for our team, especially at home," said Hayes, who scores his 13th goal of the season in the win. "To win like that, with everybody contributing and having a team effort like that, was good for our confidence and continuing to go on the road and be successful."
Particularly in the third period, the Bruins thought they really turned on the jets and were jumping all over pucks.
"Just play with high energy," said Krug, of what to carry over to Friday's tilt. "When every line jumps over the boards, and we know what they're going to do, it helps our team collectively. We know what each other's going to do and it just makes things smoother, so if we're playing North-South hockey and playing with speed and energy, it goes well for our team."
The Hurricanes won't be an easy team to play against, even if they're farther down the standings.
"They play with a lot of energy and that's kind of what we're trying to do — and I think their transition game is really strong, so it's a good test for sure, going into their building [on Friday]," said Krug.
Push to Playoffs
Heading into Friday night, the Bruins have just 21 games remaining in the regular season, and they will come fast and furious, with a game practically every other night.
They sit in third place in the Atlantic Division, tied at 72 points with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who owns a game in hand on the Bruins. Florida is in first place with 75 points.
"Everything's so tight right now. It's just about continuing to improve your game and make sure we're in the picture when the times comes," said Krug.
"You want your team to be consistent and be ready to battle every night," said Julien. "When you're in the playoffs, you're playing a seven-game series, you're playing every second night, so we have to be ready to face those kind of issues and so that's what our challenge is right now — it's about to us to give them the days off that they need right now in between."
"We've got a tough schedule, but again, I think pretty well every team in this league is going through the same thing."
Practice Lineup 2/25
Gold Jerseys: Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Brett Connolly
White: Loui Eriksson — David Krejci — David Pastrnak
Gray: Matt Beleskey — Ryan Spooner — Jimmy Hayes — Tyler Randell
Merlot: Zac Rinaldo — Joonas Kemppainen — Max Talbot — Landon Ferraro
Zdeno Chara — Adam McQuaid
Joe Morrow — Dennis Seidenberg
Torey Krug — Kevan Miller
Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Jonas Gustavsson