BOSTON - When 23 skaters hit the ice for Bruins captain's practice at Warrior Ice Arena on Tuesday morning, there was a newcomer in the group.
Forward Zach Senyshyn took part in the skate, after being cleared by the Bruins' medical staff.
"Feeling a lot better now that I'm in Boston," Senyshyn told reporters after the informal skate. "It's been great to kind of get here finally, and it was great to get on the ice today and see the guys and get back into things. Definitely excited to be back."
Senyshyn, Boston's 15th overall pick in 2015, had to miss rookie camp due to his recovery from an appendectomy on Sept. 4.
The Bruins' main training camp kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 22 with off-ice testing. Senyshyn will be evaluated at that time.
"I met with doctors today and the doctors will talk with management and discuss when I'll slowly be able to come back," he said. "But obviously it was good to get cleared to go on the ice today and skate with the guys. It's just going to kind of be day to day from here."
If Senyshyn had it his way, he would have been in Boston a week prior for the start of rookie camp, joining his fellow B's prospects to compete in the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo over the weekend.
"It was disappointing not being able to go," he said. "As a player, you want to be able to throw on that Spoked-B and represent your team wherever you can, especially at rookie camp."
"Being able to do that would have been awesome, but again, it wasn't really in the cards for me at that point in my recovery, so I wasn't able to do that, but I'm really excited for my future."
Not only did he miss out on that opportunity, but he also missed out on the chance to partake in the Bruins' development camp in mid-July, when he dealt with mononucleosis.
"Definitely a little bit of a disappointing summer, for development camp having that spell of mono and then two days before I was supposed to come to Boston, having to go through an appendectomy was a little bit rough," said Senyshyn. "But again, a little bit of adversity kind of is always good for a player, to get that out of the way before the season even starts."
Mentally, Senyshyn has had to maintain a positive attitude.
Two days before he was supposed to head to Boston for rookie camp, he felt a sharp pain in his lower right side. The night before, he had played in a "Red & White" game with his junior team, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in Ontario. All felt fine. The next morning, the mother of his billet family took him to the hospital.
When he found out that he needed surgery, he could have said, 'Here we go again.' But he didn't.
"It's a lot of adversity, another bump in the road for me," said Senyshyn. "But I think being able to respond from this in a positive way and really use it as something to learn from and not something that's really going to hold me back, but something I can use in the future - it's really good. Obviously it's bad luck and bad timing, but I think the most important thing is to respond well from this."
Faced with circumstances outside of his control, Senyshyn is now focusing on what he can control.
"You know, I still think I had a really good summer of training, and I don't think it really deterred me very much," he said. "I think that I was really positive in the way that I recovered from both of them, and as I'm going through recovery right now, I'm really excited and getting my strength back and I think that focusing each day on getting better and making those strides, I think I'll be back to my old self in no time."
In 2015-16, the forward racked up 45 goals and 22 assists for 65 points in 66 games for the Greyhounds.
With one year in the Bruins' organization behind him, Senyshyn is looking forward to what he hopes will be a strong camp.
"I definitely feel like a more well rounded player, and I think that's something I really needed to work on last year," he said. "I really liked my development and my growth over my junior year so far and I think that it's really given me the confidence I need going into this camp, as well as the knowledge and wisdom from the guys last year that I looked up to, in going to this camp last year."
"So hopefully that confidence and experience will really help me."