WILMINGTON, MA - Milan Lucic was the latest Bruin to make an appearance during informal practice at Ristuccia Arena on Thursday.
Bruins and Providence Bruins alike have been holding informal skates all week and will continue to do so until training camp opens on September 18.
Lucic underwent offseason surgery in May on his left wrist after it was slashed during the playoffs. While he has not yet addressed the Boston media about his offseason and the status of his wrist, Lucic has been skating and stickhandling for the past two days (he skated on his own on Wednesday before the group).
Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Daniel Paille and Loui Eriksson were not on the ice for Thursday's practice. With no official practices and workouts until training camp opens, the Bruins are still amidst their individual training routines.
As such, Thursday's group included Lucic, Chris Kelly, Tuukka Rask, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid, David Warsofsky, Zach Trotman, Justin Florek, David Pastrnak, Brian Ferlin, Bobby Robins, Tommy Cross, Cory Kane, Andrew Ammon and newcomer Alex Fallstrom.
Pastrnak, Ferlin Taking It All in
BostonBruins.com had the chance to catch up with Pastrnak and Ferlin following the skate. Both forwards signed their first NHL contracts with the Bruins this past year, with Pastrnak signing his entry-level deal at the end of development camp in July and Ferlin inking his contract this past April following a three-season collegiate career with Cornell University.
While development camp always serves as an introduction to the organization and staff, this past week is the first time that Pastrnak and Ferlin have been around Bruins like Chara, Bergeron and Lucic.
It's been an incredible learning experience for the young forwards to observe the NHL veterans, as they both get comfortable and prepare for the club's rookie camp that begins next week on September 11.
"That’s unbelievable that I can skate with guys like them," said a smiling Pastrnak. "They are great players, you know, and I’ve said many times it’s hard to be focused on practice when these guys are skating around. I’m just trying to watch them, and trying to take some experience from them."
After making an impression at development camp following June's draft, Pastrnak spent the summer getting stronger and putting himself in the best position possible to compete for a spot on the big club. He even arrived to Boston early to train.
"It’s always better when you practice with these guys," he said. "You know, that’s pushing you even more to improve yourself and work harder."
It helps that the locker room is welcoming.
"Yeah, they really help us," said Pastrnak. "They helped me, they said, right away, if I ever need [anything], I can just ask them. That, you know, helps you a lot as a player, you feel comfortable more and I’m happy they’re like this - they’re friendly."
Ferlin has had the same accommodating experience.
"It’s pretty cool," he said. "Definitely a little different than watching them on TV. But it’s definitely neat, and they’ve all been really nice, really willing to help me on and off the ice so far."
"I just felt like it was good for me to get in this week and kind of get my feet wet before training camp and everything starts."
Though Ferlin spent the summer in Foxborough training with a group of local New England NHL players that included Brian Boyle, Jimmy Hayes and Charlie Coyle, being around a Bruin like Lucic for the first time was surreal.
"Yeah he’s a monster," Ferlin laughed. "I guess I maybe need to hit the weights a little more."
"But, you know, he’s definitely someone I’ve watched a lot over the years, especially since I got drafted by Boston because I kind of felt I could be a similar type player to him."
"Just kind of watching him a little bit, on and off the ice, and how hard he works and stuff like that, and then on the ice just, I love his compete level - he plays hard, he plays with an edge, and he’s got skill, he’s got speed, which are two big things that I’m trying to bring to my game, too."
Ferlin "graduated" from the Bruins' development camp this offseason, maintaining his training routine in Foxborough instead of taking part in the camp in July. Assistant GM Don Sweeney said that the right wing instead had "his eyes on the prize in September."
"You know, I’m just going to come in and work as hard as I possibly can, and try to be a sponge, and just learn from some of the older guys like Bergeron and some of the guys that clearly established themselves," said Ferlin. "I’ve kind of been watching those guys the past few days since I’ve been here, and that’s really what it’s all about for me. "
"Obviously I want to make a good impression and we’ll see what happens. But I’m just going to come in and work hard, and do what they tell me to do. And that’s that."
While Ferlin may be a player who flies under the radar, Pastrnak has the added pressure of being a first-round draft pick and being touted as a highly skilled, speedy winger who could make the big club out of camp.
Like Ferlin, though, Pastrnak is just putting all of his energy into what he can control - his game.
"I just don’t want to have too much things in my head," said Pastrnak, of keeping a clear focus. "I just want to be free, and play, and enjoy this game."