With informal practices under way this week, the Bruins can finally welcome Nathan Horton
to the team's practice facility in Wilmington.
On Tuesday, Horton said he is enjoying captain's practice and is looking forward to a great first season as a Bruin.
“It’s like you come into the room, you meet the guys, and it’s like you met them a long time ago," said Horton. "It’s been great so far, and I’m excited.”
Mark Stuart and Zdeno Chara
, who helped to lead the preseason practice, agreed and are happy to welcome Horton to the Black & Gold.
When asked about playing alongside Horton this season, Chara said, “I know that it was really hard to play against him. He’s a strong, powerful forward. He’s got a great shot. He can score goals. He can get physical as well. He’s obviously a hard working, high-energy guy, and to have these elements added to this team is a big plus.”
Stuart agreed with his captain's assessment of the squad and the new blood.
When the defenseman was asked how it felt to be back and on the ice with this new lineup, Stuart said, “It’s always fun the first day getting back on the ice with the guys just playing a little bit. You do a few drills and play, and it’s good to see everyone-the staff and the new guys. Getting to meet the new guys and getting to know them is fun.
"I always enjoy this.”
The team is excited to start the new season and remains confident about its playoff chances.
“We have a good enough team to win all the way. This team is very strong,” said Chara.
Coming to the Bruins is especially exciting for Horton, who has never experienced the playoffs.
“Seven years is a long time, and that’s where you want to play the most," he said. "When you never get there, you don’t taste it, and it’s tough, but it’s a new page, new chapter, and I couldn’t be more excited to be here.”
Clearly, new talent on the roster, healthy veteran players and a chance at redemption are all factoring into the Bruins’ enthusiasm going into the new campaign.
“There are so many great players and so many great leaders [here]," said Horton. "I just hope to come in and be a small piece of the puzzle and put a lot of wins on the board."
One more thing was clear: the Bruins players are excited to get back to the ice after a summer away.
Chara, for one, spent the summer working on a new house and when asked if he enjoyed all the tasks involved, he replied: “Some, but I prefer to play hockey.” ---Taylor Walker