WILMINGTON, MA - The final Captain's Practice took place Tuesday morning at Ristuccia Arena, with the recovering Gregory Campbell leading a 15-skater group, that included defenseman Matt Bartkowski, through on-ice drills. The pair marked the only B's on the ice from last season's Boston roster, as most stayed off the ice in preparation for physical testing on Wednesday at TD Garden. (Full roll call found here.)
That day - September 11 - marks the opening of training camp, when players officially report for the 2013-14 season.
It begins with the off-ice testing (that includes a 300-year shuttle test), and segues into five straight days of on-ice sessions. The Saturday and Sunday practices at TD Garden, which both begin at 10:00 a.m. ET, are open to the public, followed by Monday's session (also at 10:00 a.m.) at Ristuccia Arena, before the group heads to Montreal for the first of seven preseason games that night. Puck drops at the Bell Centre at 7:00 p.m. ET.
BostonBruins.com, the B's mobile app and Twitter updates from @NHLBruins will bring you all of the coverage from camp, and will be keeping a close eye on the competition.
For the players, their excitement is at an all-time high. It's the official "turning of the page" on last season. And for these Bruins, that next chapter can't begin soon enough.
"You're solely focused on this year. I think everyone will agree that it's a tough way to go out, tough way to end the season, to get that close," blueliner Adam McQuaid said to media before the Boston Bruins Golf Tournament on Monday, about coming in after the devastating Final loss. "But at the same time, you're able to move on and refocus and just be ready for this year."
"The day the season ended, you hope you can fast forward to start the the new year," said fellow blueliner Torey Krug, from Ristuccia Arena on Tuesday, the day prior to camp. "Because at that moment, that year's goal is unattainable and the next year's goal is something you work for. So, you know, ever since that day, I've been looking forward to tomorrow [Wednesday] and can't wait to get going."
With competition expected among the forward corps, on the back end, and between the pipes for the back-up role, the entire group is anticipating the energized camp.
"I think it's important to the season to be able to get together and have a good strong training camp," said McQuaid. "We've got a good group of guys this year, I think we're looking forward to getting out there and playing with one another and pushing one another."
With testing starting it all off on Wednesday, the players have worked themselves into their best physical shape, on and off the ice. But, their mindsets need to be in order, as well.
All of the physical tests take place in front of the B's brass, so the sharpness and focus has to be in line.
"Oh man, the anxiety," said Krug, of what the Bruins are feeling heading into the first day of camp. "You prepare all summer. You know, I have so much confidence going into the testing that I'm going to do better than last summer and pass all of the tests, but there's just something about it, with the management and coaching staff sitting there, watching the tests and it adds that little element to it."
"And your heart's racing, and you expend a lot of energy. It's a tough day, but everyone in here is prepared for it, so it's something you look forward to."