Last month during the Boston Bruins Development Camp, as the rest of the new Bruins exited the locker room for the sheet of ice at Ristuccia Memorial Arena, defenseman Tommy Cross
sat alone on a trainer's table in the back corner of the training facility in Wilmington.
There Cross received therapy on his injured knee, moved on to a stationary bike, an upper body workout, and then he followed that up with more physical therapy.
The Bruins second round draft choice in June's NHL Entry Draft spent most of the six days rehabbing or watching his compatriots practice from crutches at the far corner of the rink. A gloomy scene it might have seemed to some, but Cross was looking at the situation through Black & Gold tinted glasses -- or are they maroon and gold?
“Despite the injury, I’m definitely still enjoying my time here," the future Boston College Eagle told BostonBruins.com. "It has been a great few days, getting to meet all the guys and watch some of the older guys play."
While Tommy couldn’t partake in the on-ice portion of the camp, he found plenty of other ways to make use of his time in the Hub and whether it was reacquainting himself with Boston, a city the Simsbury, Connecticut native, has grown to love, or hanging with his fellow new-B’s, Tommy made the most out of his situation.
Cross explained that his uncle, along with a few close pals, live here in the Bay State, and that he used to, “always come up for Bruins and Red Sox games as a kid.”
It had been some time though since his last real visit to the city and Tommy was pumped for his first Duck Tour and a trip back to Fenway Park.
“I haven’t been to a game in years. There is nothing like Fenway Park,” Cross exclaimed.
And the friendly confines of Fenway didn’t disappoint either as the Sox won, with a little good luck charm provided by Cross draft classmate, Zach Hamill
, who threw out the first pitch and appeared on NESN.
But the BC-bound defenseman found that spending time with the former (Chris Collins) and current (Brock Bradford) Eagles in camp was especially exciting.
“Those guys have been awesome," he said of his new friends from the Heights. "It has been great to be able to talk to them about how things are run over there and what to expect.”
Tommy then chuckled and added, “funny stuff too, like stories, and who to watch out for.”
Thos tips will definitely give Tommy a leg-up when he enters BC in the fall of 2008, and he certainly did not take his newfound insider information for granted.
“Next year (his senior season at Westminster Prep) I need to improve on all aspects of my game so I can be ready for BC, and I can be the impact player there right away like I want to be," explained Cross. "I have to work on my skating and my decision making, too.
"So I have a lot to do between then and now.”
Tommy knows that is what it will take to accomplish his two ultimate goals: a National Championship with BC and then cracking the Bruins NHL lineup.
In the meantime, however, Cross is just trying to soak it all in -- his final year of high school, this fall's hockey season, getting ready for college and, of course, his first camp with the B's.
That doesn't mean that he didn't miss being out on the Ristuccia ice. Cross admitted that watching made him long to lace the blades back up ASAP.
“It is a little frustrating," said Cross. "You want to be out there, you want to be with the guys.
"There's something about being out on the ice with the guys - blood, sweat, and tears -- it all brings you together.
“Not being out there you miss it, but you have to stay involved and try and be as big a part of the group as you can,” he said.
Even though he couldn't participate this summer, it seems clear that Cross will be a big part of the B's group in the very near future.