WILMINGTON, MA - There was a welcome sight on the ice Tuesday morning in Wilmington at Ristuccia Arena, the training home of the Bruins.
While organized practices won't begin until training camp in early September, a handful of Bruins, including Tuukka Rask, Daniel Paille, David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg and Jarome Iginla, hit the ice for an informal skate.
It marked the first time these eyes had seen Iginla in the spoked-B.
Shawn Thornton was also around the rink, presumably going through his off-ice training routine.
These dubbed "Captain's Practices" consist of mostly skill work on the ice, with shooting, passing and skating drills (along with the occasional battle drill). Depending on how many B's are in town or what stage a particular player is at in his summer conditioning, the time on the ice and the amount of drills can vary.
(It should be noted that those these will always be called "Captain's practices," Zdeno Chara is not yet among the mix of B's back around Boston and at Ristuccia Arena yet.)
The group was joined by P-Bruins, defenseman David Warsofsky and forward Bobby Robins, who received his first NHL contract this past July when Boston signed him to a two-year, two-way contract.
Although the practices aren't as high-tempo as we'll see during training camp and into the season, they allow the players to get their legs back under them, and do it in a comfortable setting where they can easily segue back into their routines. I did see some battling along the boards, however, and 2-on-2 drills during the time when Rask was out on the ice between the pipes.
The takeaways for me, though?
Summer - what summer? Seeing the B's on the ice, it felt like they had never left. They looked refreshed and were thoroughly enjoying themselves out on the ice (not that they wouldn't be).
It also stood out to me how quickly the camaraderie is starting to form with Iginla and his new teammates. The laughing and banter between drills was a good indication.
"It feels really good," Iginla told reporters following the skate, of putting on his new jersey displaying the spoked-B. "It felt good and it's great to be here at the facility and get a chance to meet some of the guys and just starting it up again."
"[The] guys are great. Right when I signed, they were very welcoming and I appreciated the texts and calls I got from the guys. But it's great to be here now and to start mixing in and getting to know them more."
Iginla - along with all new Bruins - will get the chance to mix in with the other B's as they start filtering back to Boston in the coming weeks.
There is not a set schedule for these skates, so it's unknown what each day will entail, but stay tuned as we bring you more coverage from the Captain's practices leading up to camp.