Boston Bruins Training Camp is presented by AT&T:
BOSTON - Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand have long been established as one of the National Hockey League's most dependable and productive duos.
And thus they provide the perfect example for any young player attempting to break into the league. That was apparent on Friday when coach Bruce Cassidy propped 21-year-old winger Anders Bjork on Boston's top line for the first day of on-ice training camp sessions at Warrior Ice Arena.
"He's got a history of scoring at the collegiate level. He's got pace to his game. Those are two things right off the bat," Cassidy said of why Bjork was a fit in that position. "Getting to know him as a person, I think he's receptive to those types of players and we're hoping he can keep his identity as a player that he's developed so far in his young career and do the things he needs to do to be successful, but also work with those guys and respect what they're trying to do."
Bjork, who signed with the Bruins in May after a stellar junior campaign at Notre Dame, is among a large crop of young players competing for spots up front this camp. And gaining experience alongside the likes of Bergeron and Marchand will no doubt help his cause.
"It's really cool to practice with those players. I learned a lot," said the 21-year-old, who was drafted in the fifth round in 2014. "It's crazy to think about the people you're skating next to. You sort of have to not think about them and just focus on playing your game and doing the best you can and doing the little things right. I just tried to not overthink it out there."
The trio's time together on Friday was brief, as most of the work was done in pairs, but the limited exposure to two of the game's best still provided plenty of valuable material.
"You saw out there today how Bergeron and Marchand, every little puck battle they're competing 100 percent," said Bjork. "Doing all the little things right really adds up. Trying to copy that and do that myself.
"They talk a lot on the ice and tell me where they want me and little things like that, which is really helpful. They've done it before and they made practice today very easy."
Marchand, who said he's been impressed by Bjork's skill and skating ability, felt it was important to make the youngster feel comfortable during his first professional training camp session.
"For me, when I came in, I was always worried about making the other guys happy and giving them the puck and almost giving them a little too much respect. It can take away from your game a little bit," said Marchand. "I think the biggest thing is you just have to go through and play and be comfortable to talk to guys.
"It becomes on us on as well, we really have to try to make them comfortable and do as much as we can. He seems like a really levelheaded kid and a really nice kid. We'll work hard and we'll work together and talk and hopefully we connect."
Video: Bruins hit the ice for first day of Training Camp
Pasta En Route
Cassidy said after the session that David Pastrnak, who was set to fly in from the Czech Republic on Friday night after signing a new six-year contract on Thursday, should arrive at camp on Saturday.
"[He] should be available [Saturday] in some way, shape or form if everything is on time," said Cassidy.
One player, in particular, looking forward to Pastrnak's return is David Krejci. Cassidy said during Thursday's opening press conference that his preference is for the two Czech Republic natives to play together this season, as they did for a large chunk of the second half last year.
"We just kind of feed off each other," said Krejci, who had prospects Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen flanking him on Friday. "We think the game alike and we can kind of read off each other, sometimes even blind passes we know where each other goes."
Until Pastrnak gets settled in, Krejci is eager to find a comfort level with DeBrusk and Heinen, even if there is no guarantee either of them starts the season on his line.
"I like what I see and what I hear from other people," Krejci said of DeBrusk. "Hopefully we can talk more over the next couple days and when the first preseason game comes, hopefully we will be on the same page and build some chemistry and go from there."
Marchy's Midseason Form
Marchand rarely disappoints when speaking with the media and Friday was no exception. When asked for his reaction to Pastrnak's new contract, the winger started off with a bit of sarcasm.
"Oh, that got done?" Marchand said with a smile.
But Marchand turned serious as he continued - at least for a few seconds.
"It will be great to have Pasta back. He's awesome to have around the room, he's always having a good time and joking around and obviously a phenomenal player on the ice. It's great to have that taken care of and we're all excited to have him back," Marchand said before providing some more comic relief when referring to Pastrnak and longtime linemate Patrice Bergeron.
"Two rich linemates," said Marchand. "I don't have to pay for anything."
Marchand was then queried on having to compete against Boston's other sports teams, which include the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, the first-place Red Sox, and a Celtics team coming off a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.
"We won not too long ago, too," said Marchand. "Obviously you want to win every year, but that's not the case. If we had Tom Brady on our team we'd be great. We obviously want to get back there and take the steps forward that we need to. I think we're all excited about where we're gonna be this year and I think we can do some damage."
One reporter then suggested that the Bruins had their own version of Brady in Bergeron.
"He's gonna be a Hall of Fame and a legend," Marchand said, "But Bergy's way better looking."
Video: Marchand discusses Pastrnak's new contract
The lines and defense pairs for the first day of on-ice sessions were as follows:
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Anders Bjork
Matt Beleskey - Ryan Spooner - Teddy Purcell
Frank Vatrano - Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson - David Backes
Anton Blidh - Colby Cave - Jordan Szwarz
Jesse Gabrielle - Jack Studnicka - Colton Hargrove
Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo
Kevan Miller - Charlie McAvoy
Jakub Zboril - Tommy Cross
Rob O'Gara - Connor Clifton
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Danton Heinen
Tim Schaller - Riley Nash - Noel Acciari
Ryan Fitzgerald - Sean Kuraly - Chris Porter
Kenny Agostino - Austin Czarnik - Zach Senyshyn
Cedric Pare - Joona Koppanen - Justin Hickman
Matt Grzelcyk - Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug - Paul Postma
Jeremy Lauzon/Chris Breen - Taylor Doherty