BOSTON - After a short offseason and an introductory day of training camp, the Bruins hit the ice on Friday for their first practice of the 2019-20 season.
"It was good, we had a good two sessions," said B's captain Zdeno Chara. "I thought the energy was really good, guys seem very excited. We had a lot of good drills, going back to the routine that we were kind of used to last season. Going over some drills that are in the structure of our system, some battle drills. I thought it was a good first day."
The roster was split into two groups, with both participating in organized warm-ups and practices. For Chara, whose offseason was hampered by surgeries, the skates were a good chance to get back to practice after taking some time off.
"Had a few procedures done, so whether I liked it or not, I had to take some time off," said Chara. "With the extended time we were playing, it pushed me all the way to almost mid-July."
The procedures limited the 42-year-old's training time this summer, but that didn't limit the captain's impact as he went through practices and assisted players with drills. That came as no surprise for coach Bruce Cassidy, who said Chara is often placed with younger, newer players in order to help them to adjust.
"We've done that here because Zee's receptive to it," said Cassidy. "It's worked for [Brandon] Carlo and [Charlie] McAvoy, so obviously - Axel [Andersson], good puck mover, similar to Charlie in that regard, he likes to have the puck and move. We thought it would be a good mix, and Zee likes to talk to the younger guys, so we figured it makes them more comfortable, you hope, in practice.
"I think that's the reason we do it, and if the players aren't receptive to it, we'll probably go a different avenue.But Zee's a big brother to everybody, and I think it'll only help the guy feel more comfortable."
Video: Zdeno Chara speaks at training camp
Quite An Introduction
In Alex Petrovic's first practice in Boston, the veteran defenseman accidentally wiped out along the boards, sending him straight into Cassidy's legs, taking the coach down with him.
"That was unfortunate there, flying into Bruce," Petrovic, in camp on a professional tryout agreement, said after practice. "But I lost an edge and just kind of, not the best spot to lose your edge. I actually got up, said I was sorry, but I was trying to get back into the drill. I wanted to see if he was all right, but I think he's fine."
After laughing about the incident in his press conference, Cassidy - who underwent offseason knee surgery - commented on Petrovic's skills and what he saw from the 27-year-old in practice.
"I don't think he's a flashy guy by nature anyway," said Cassidy. "We're gonna see him sticks out in some of these skill drills. So, I think it's more day-to-day evaluation for him, see how he performs in the game and see if he can help us."
Video: Cassidy speaks at camp
Petrovic spent part of last season in his hometown of Edmonton, where he played nine games with the Oilers. Before that, he had spent seven seasons with the Florida Panthers. The 6-foot-4, 216-pound right shot had a few other options this summer before deciding on Boston as the place to prove himself
"There was a couple two-way offers and what not, but coming here - the way the team has been in the past, thought it'd be a good spot to just kind of learn from a lot of the guys in here," said Petrovic, who has 49 points in 263 career games. "They've got a lot of experience in the playoffs, it's a winning team, so it's good to come in here and maybe add to that."
Video: Petrovic speaks at camp
A popular topic of conversation on Friday was goalie competition, and Tuukka Rask had plenty to say about it. Rask (46 games) and Jaroslav Halak (40) split game action during the regular season, before Rask took over the net for all 24 playoff contests.
"It was great the way we split the games and we had two goalies playing and competing, pushing each other," Rask said. "I think that's what every teams wants, and we accomplished that last year, and we're trying to do it again this year."
Video: Rask speaks at Training Camp
According to Rask, his confidence in Halak is an example of the Bruins' depth, a trait that trends through the entire team.
"I think we're confident that whoever is out there is going to do the job," Rask said. "I think that's kinda been the motto the past couple years, next man up. We've had a lot of injuries, a lot of different bodies in the defense, and in the offense as well. We know who's coming up and everybody's kind of on the same boat there.
"We have a lot of depth for each side of the game, so I don't think it's going to be an issue, hopefully. Obviously, the injured guys, we want them back out there as soon as possible, but we want them to be healthy. And then as far as [Brandon] Carlo and Chuckie [McAvoy], it's out of our reach, so we just play with the guys we have out there."
The depth and reliability from last season were crucial aspects of the Bruins' success, and the current training camp roster looks fairly similar. To Rask, that's nothing but a positive.
"I think it's awesome, it's great," Rask said. "We fell one game short last year and we have a hungry group of guys, we still want to go out there and prove that we're a great team. So, it's helpful that it's almost the same group out there again.
"And, like I said. We're pretty hungry."
Video: Jaroslav Halak speaks at camp