WILMINGTON, MA — David Krejci certainly wasn't shocked to see the high number of players attending Tuesday and Wednesday's informal skates at Wilmington's Ristuccia Memorial Arena.
"So we’re going to get here, get comfortable on the ice," he told bostonbruinsTV.
Today's lineup included Anton Khudobin and Tuukka Rask in goal, Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid, Torey Krug and David Warsofsky on defense and forwards Patrice Bergeron, Gregory Campbell, Milan Lucic, Daniel Paille, Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, Jordan Caron, Shawn Thornton, Chris Bourque and Krejci, who agreed that the sheer number of players in Black & Gold is a testament to how close the Bruins have become over the past few seasons.
"We all like each other," said Krejci. "We have so much fun together.
"It’s not only here in the dressing room, we also hang out away from hockey. So it’s fun."
And that's especially so in the preseason.
"There’s no pressure or anything," said Krejci of the patchwork practice. "Just go out there and we have [fun] and we joke around; same thing in the dressing room."
Krejci's fellow forward Gregory Campbell agreed, but noted that the on-ice work was important as the players prepared for 2012-13.
"The informal practices, are always a bit more fun," explained Campbell. "There’s not as much structure.
"Once the season starts it’s business and when you practice it has to, you know, you have to be professional, you have to take a professional approach to it.
"But right now, if you miss a pass here or there it’s all fun," added Gregory. "But we try to have a high as intensity practices as possible just to prepare ourselves.
"There is naturally going to be a bit of rust that you have to shake off."
There wasn't much rust to be seen during the skate, and that was probably because the Bruins are, admittedly, ready to play after a long offseason.
"It’s always nice to get some time off, but then at the end of the summer, especially for me in Europe the league already started so I’ve been watching on TV and stuff, and I’m started to really miss it," said Krejci in a thoughtful tone. "In August everybody is kind of ready to go."
And reuniting with teammates plays a big role, as well.
"Absolutely. If you talk to anybody on this team we’ll all give you the same answers in regard to how much we enjoy being with one another and I think that’s a huge positive, a huge selling point for this team, to have that camaraderie, and to feel that chemistry with one another," said Campbell. "These guys are people that we spend a lot of days with once the season starts, and when everybody parts after the season, and like we did part this year, things come to an abrupt end…there’s almost a little bit of a hole or a void you have to fill.
"You go away, and you return home and do other things but there’s a lot of bonds that have been made within this team in this dressing room.
"We’re fortunate to be able to have this kind of crew in here where everybody enjoys coming back to."