WILMINGTON, MA - The group for informal practices is growing larger at Ristuccia Arena, as players continue to filter back to the Boston area before rookie camp begins on September 11 and training camp opens on September 18.
Tuesday morning's skate saw the arrival of forwards David Krejci, Brad Marchand and Anthony Camara, defenseman Chris Casto and goaltender Niklas Svedberg.
Krejci had spoken with reporters at TD Garden on Monday afternoon upon returning to Boston from the Czech Republic, but he had not yet skated with his teammates. Tuesday gave him that opportunity.
Milan Lucic has been skating mostly on his own, but Tuesday's informal practice marked his first time staying on the ice for the full session. He's heading into training camp following offseason surgery on his left wrist. He did not appear limited.
The practice also saw Lucic, Krejci and Loui Eriksson all on the ice together at Ristuccia Arena for the first time since returning to Boston. Eriksson has an opportunity to earn the open spot on Krejci's right wing during training camp. Though the trio played a couple of games together at the end of the 2013-14 regular season, these informal practices will give them a chance to test their chemistry.
The practice consisted of a half hour of drills and nearly 45 minutes of five-on-five scrimmage, given the influx of 28 players. They formed two teams of 13 players (nine forwards, four defenseman), with Svedberg and Adam Morrison between the pipes.
Split randomly into white and black jerseys, listed below are the groupings, along with the makeshift lines and defensive pairings (that really don't mean much, but I'll include anyways, for the sake of observation).
Forwards: Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Loui Eriksson, Justin Florek - Carl Soderberg - David Pastrnak, Anthony Camara - Alexander Fallstrom - Brian Ferlin
Defenseman: Dennis Seidenberg - Adam McQuaid, Steve Eminger - Frankie Simonelli
Forwards: Brad Marchand - Chris Kelly - Daniel Paille, Matt Fraser - Bobby Robins - Jordan Caron, Matt Lindblad - Cory Kane - Andrew Ammon
Defensemen: David Warsofsky - Johnny Boychuk, Chris Casto - Zach Trotman
Lucic, Krejci and Eriksson seemed to be having a fun time as a trio, cycling and finding each other on the ice. They combined for a nice passing play that ended with Eriksson at the goal mouth, easily tapping in a feed from Lucic, and flashing a smile afterwards.
Marchand and Svedberg spoke with reporters following the practice. Marchand said he upped his conditioning with the long summer, focusing on improving his endurance. He thought that's where he struggled last year, when he had a slow start offensively.
Svedberg is preparing himself to earn the backup role behind Tuukka Rask during training camp. The young goaltender came close last season, but Chad Johnson assumed the role out of camp. With Johnson gone and Svedberg signed to a new one-year, one-way deal in the offseason, he's ready to put in the work at the NHL level.
Rask and Patrice Bergeron were still out of town participating in the NHL's Media Tour in New York City. Zdeno Chara was also not present at the skate.
Rask went right from the airport to the links on Tuesday afternoon, hosting the Ferncroft Junior Golf Celebrity Classic at Ferncroft Country Club. He was joined by Fraser, Florek, Warsofsky and a group of former Bruins that included Ray Bourque, Bruce Shoebottom and Bob Sweeney. The team's annual golf tournament is only a week away, and will feature the current Bruins and plenty of alumni like Bourque. It always serves as the unofficial kick-off to the new season.
There are now just 29 days until the Bruins' 2014-15 season officially begins on October 8.