BostonBruins.com — It’s that time again — #BearTracks is back!
It has become a staple of the last few summers: heading north, south, east, west and beyond to visit members of the Boston Bruins as they prepare for another campaign on the ice (and as they enjoy what’s left of their summers, too). There have been trips abroad to visit the likes of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Adam McQuaid; there have been trips closer to Boston to visit the likes of Torey Krug and more.
Last summer, #BearTracks took the BostonBruins.com crew to Los Angeles to visit defenseman Kevan Miller, where he offered us a glimpse of what it is like to grow up playing hockey in Southern California. We also trekked down the East Coast to visit Germany native Dennis Seidenberg, who spends his offseasons with his family in New Jersey.
This time around, the BostonBruins.com crew will be making five stops, and they all have one thing in common: They are all in Canada.
Though the final four stops of this year’s trip have yet to be revealed and will be announced throughout the course of the next seven days (August 13 through August 20), we announced earlier on Wednesday that the first stop of the 2015 #BearTracks tour will take us to Toronto to check in with forward Brett Connolly.
Though there was plenty of excitement surrounding Connolly’s arrival in Boston in the (very early) hours of the March 2 Trade Deadline, it was quite a while before the Bruins were able to see what he could do on the ice. Connolly suffered a fractured right index finger two days after being acquired by Boston, before he could get into a single game.
The injury was obviously a huge disappointment to Connolly, who was eager to help his new team make a playoff push. He dedicated himself to his training and his rehabilitation, and finally, on April 2 — with just over a week remaining in the 2014-15 season — he made his Bruins debut, registering two assists in a thrilling comeback road win over the Red Wings.
“Obviously, there's going to be rust — just little things, tiny plays that you're used to making, that you don’t,” Connolly said after that win. "I thought it went pretty well. [I] got to play a little more, and played a lot in the second period when [Patrice Bergeron] went down [and needed to get stitched up after a high stick]. Coach kept throwing me out there, so that was nice.
“You just try to take advantage of every opportunity you get, and I thought it was a good start.”
Connolly played in five games for the B’s before the season came to a disappointing end on April 11, totaling just over 14 minutes of ice time per game. His summer got off to a good start when, in early July, the Bruins announced that they had signed the RFA to a one-year contract with a cap hit of $1.025 million.
The 2015-16 season will mark Connolly’s first earnest opportunity to make an impression with the Bruins. When Connolly was acquired, the Boston brass was eager to see what the winger could do with his speed, skill and shot, and now, with a full summer of training under his belt, Connolly will be ready to show his stuff.
And before he returns to Boston for his first training camp with the B’s, BostonBruins.com will get a sneak peek at what he’s been doing all summer to prepare.
Stay tuned in to BostonBruins.com, the Bruins’ mobile app and Twitter (@NHLBruins) over the next several days as we check in with Connolly, and don’t forget to stay tuned for announcements about where we’re headed for the remaining five stops of the 2015 #BearTracks trip.
In the meantime, be sure to catch up with #BearTracks content from years past:
#BearTracks —Dennis Seidenberg, New Jersey (2014)
Video: SeidenBearTracks - Day 1
Video: Weight Room w/ Seids
Story: Seidenberg Ready for Action
Story: Seidenberg’s Offseason Routine Prepping Him for Battle
#BearTracks - Kevan Miller, Los Angeles (2014)
Video: Old Stomping Grounds
Video: Checking In with Millsy
Story: Miller Proud to Help Pave the Way for Californians
Story: No Time Off for Miller
#BearTracks - Torey Krug, Stamford (2012)
Video: Visting Torey
Video: Krug's Workout in CT
Video: Krug Shows Off His Family Ink
Story: Did You Know? with Torey Krug
#BearTracks - Brad Marchand, Halifax (2012)
Story: Home in Halifax
Photo: No Pain, No Gain
#BearTracks - Adam McQuaid, PEI (2012)
Story: McQuaid's Maritime Mentality
Photo: McQuaid Minus the Mullet
#BearTracks - Patrice Bergeron, Quebec City (2012)
Story: Walls Come Down in Quebec City