WILMINGTON, Mass. - The Bruins hit the ice for practice on Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena before flying out to Detroit to begin a three-game road trip against the Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.
Prior to practice, GM Peter Chiarelli announced that the club had signed forward Simon Gagne to a one-year contract (cap figure of $600,000). In other roster transactions, the Bruins waived Bobby Robins for the purpose of assignment to Providence and assigned Jordan Caron to Providence.
Gagne, who started skating with the Bruins during informal practices and has been with the team since the first day of training camp, practiced on a line with Daniel Paille and Ryan Spooner.
The trio skated together for a significant part of camp as well. Gagne is a left shot but has mostly played on the right wing in his time with the Bruins.
"My conversation with Peter was, 'whatever it takes'," Gagne said following practice. "And I'll be whatever - if I have to be the extra guy, on the fourth line or a guy who will replace some guys when things aren't going well, or injuries, play on the PK, power play, whatever it takes, I'm here to help the team win and I'm really happy I have a chance to get back to the League with a good team, so I'm open to everything."
"And we'll see how it starts [on Wednesday against Detroit] - I think I'm starting with Piesy and Spooner - so if Claude wants me to play there, I'll play there."
"Experience is number one," said Head Coach Claude Julien, of the Stanley Cup Champion with 799 NHL games. "Everyone knows he's a good player in this league and he's had some setbacks, so we hope that he'll be able to recapture what he had to hopefully the best level possible."
"He's accepted to come here and accept whatever role we want to give him, so when you've got that opportunity to get a guy like that, why not? He's been loyal since day one and I think he's a good addition to our team."
The Black and Gold have mixed and matched the bottom six (and top line right winger) to start the season, with injuries to David Krejci and Gregory Campbell, and players in Providence competing for jobs.
A fourth line with Paille, Spooner and Gagne obviously serves up more speed and skill for the Bruins than in the past (and different than the Paille, Robins and Craig Cunningham line that kicked off the season).
"A different kind of a look but that doesn't mean we don't want that other look either," said Julien. "Right now we're looking at that, and you hope that they can hold their own. Right now, we've got two experienced guys on each side and a young guy that's got a lot of potential in the middle, so we have to see how that turns out."
"What we know is that we can call Bobby anytime," Julien said. "He's a player that you can call when you need him. You'll probably see him again, but we just felt that there were certain players we needed to keep here and you can only keep so many."
"He's always got a great attitude. He's going to go down there, work hard and when we call him up, he'll be excited to be here."
It's not a surprise that the evaluation and lineup tinkering has stretched from camp and the preseason into the regular season. With Krejci recovered and Campbell still progressing well (though "right now, he's not ready"), the Bruins are morphing back into a more veteran lineup.
"There's opportunities there - we'll hopefully put that puzzle together to the extent that we really like it at some point," said Julien. "But right now, we're still experimenting and sometimes you have to do that as a team."
"Just because you have a training camp, doesn't mean you have the answers, so we're trying to get those answers and we're trying to give players an opportunity to give us some answers."
With Robins and Caron headed to Providence, the only extra forwards with the team are Campbell and Matt Fraser, who both skated in green jerseys for Tuesday's high intensity practice.
The Bruins stayed on the ice for well over an hour during practice, with repetition of breakouts, crashing the net and shooting through traffic. The Bruins kept a strong pace through the entire workout. Julien and his coaching staff were very vocal and the players very engaged.
Towards the end of practice, Julien and Coach Doug Houda huddled up their defense corps for a nice, long chat after solid work during shooting drills from the points.
The Bruins are scheduled to next hit the ice for a pregame skate on Wednesday morning at Joe Louis Arena, with game time set for 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network's "Rivalry Night."
Practice Lineup 10/14
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Seth Griffith
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille - Ryan Spooner - Simon Gagne
Matt Fraser, Gregory Campbell
Defense: Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller, Torey Krug
Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Niklas Svedberg