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:
Bobby AllenPatrice BergeronZdeno Chara
Nate DiCasmirroAndrew FerenceManny Fernandez
Martins KarsumsDavid Krejci
Wacey RabbitTuukka Rask
Nate ThompsonShawn 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 BostonBruins.com, 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."