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Monday Brings Manny to Wilmo

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
Part of the present and future of the Boston Bruins population between the pipes hit the ice at Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington today.

Manny Fernandez and Tuukka Rask were on the ice in Wilmington this morning. Several of the regulars were playing in a charity golf tournament hosted by Don Sweeney and with Tim Thomas amongst the golfing, Jordan Sigalet, Tuukka and Manny shared the two nets during the team's practice session and the scrimmage that followed.

The entire complement today was:

Andrew Alberts
Bobby Allen
Patrice Bergeron
Zdeno Chara
Sean Curry
Nate DiCasmirro
Andrew Ference
Manny Fernandez
Matt Hendricks
Jeff Hoggan
Martins Karsums
David Krejci
Chuck Kobasew
Matt Lashoff
Glen Murray
Pascal Pelletier
Wacey Rabbit
Tuukka Rask
Jeremy Reich
Peter Schaefer
Jonathan Sigalet
Jordan Sigalet
Mark Stuart
Marco Sturm
Nate Thompson
Shawn Thornton
Aaron Ward (did not skate)

But obviously the real story today was Manny.

Fernandez likened the period of time between his being traded to Boston and today to holding his breath.

Today, he said, "I can finally breathe."

Speaking to several members of the media, as well as, Fernandez said that he had a good summer and that today his family was busily unpacking in their new home.

"We're moving in," said Manny. "And I found out where the practice rink is.

"Those are the type of things you do when you get to a new place."

Fernandez said he was part of a talented group of hockey players who were practicing in Montreal this summer, and that he had been working out regularly with them leading up to his arrival today.

"We had a great squad up there," he said. "That's pretty much why I stayed as long as I could.

"(But) a lot of those guys are gone and a lot of guys are coming in -- Montreal (Canadiens) guys.

"It's good hockey and I felt like I could stay (home) and work out there a little longer than I usually do -- it's only five hours away," Manny said.

But it was definitely time to make the trek to Boston, so a couple of days ago Manny "packed the kids" and drove down from Quebec.

Fernandez with the Jennings Trophy
Health wise, Fernandez said he feels good, but admits that there is at least a mental block on his being able to test his surgically repaired knee fully.

"At the beginning of the summer I took it easy," said Fernandez. "Now we're at the point where I am straightening 100%.

"So I've got to start doing (some more) movements on the ice and mentally get over the hump a little bit."

During practice on Monday, despite staying away from certain exercises during the summer, there certainly didn't seem to be any restrictions on his movement. He matched Rask and Sigalet save for save during drills and also during the scrimmage.

"Sometimes mentally, you 'think' before you move," he explained about having an injury. "You have to break those barriers…and go from there."

Aside from getting back to playing on an instinctual basis, when asked, point blank, if he anticipated any issues with his knee going into the regular season, Fernandez said "No. Not at this point."

"I've skated for two months, now," continued Fernandez. "And never did it feel like it did last year, at any point."

 And Fernandez does not think he could have done anything different as far as preparing for this season goes.

"As of right now, I've done everything possible, physically and mentally, so now it's time to get on with it," said the goaltender.

Fernandez wore his Minnesota Wild mask during his first informal practice session in Boston.
Getting on with it includes learning about a new conference as well as learning about the guys in his new locker room. But, just as he has slowly made a transition to equipment colored Black & Gold (leg pads, blocker), he'll slowly get the hang of Boston and the Eastern Conference.

"I am starting to (meet) the guys," said Fernandez, who admitted (with a chuckle) that it's only been one practice and we were "catching him at a bad time" as far as his becoming acquainted with his new teammates.

Fernandez has arrived several days early, and will have a comfortable head start on learning about his new teammates before the Bruins official camp begins later this week.

Even when you change uniforms, however, some things don't change, and that is what he new B's goalie is leaning on in this his first few days in a new city.

"Hockey, equipment, pucks, you know," he said. "Stuff like that."

And the anticipation of a new season in a new city has already taken hold of Fernandez.

"You don't get traded very much, so this is exciting."
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