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Muzz in Massachusetts, Ice in the Garden

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.
Bruins power skating coach Paul Vincent put several players through their paces this morning before the rest of the guys arrived for the main skate.

It was no surprise that the first guy on the ice was rookie defenseman Matt Hunwick who, with the aid of some pylons, worked on his skating form with Vincent giving instructions.

Winger Nate Thompson, last seen with the Providence Bruins and a regular attendee over the last few pre-preseason sessions, joined Matt and Paul a bit later. Led by Vincent, the pair worked various moves through the pylons with attention given to proper posture, stance and the more technical aspects of skating.

Then, Martins Karsums and David Krejci hit the ice for warm ups and the former joined Vincent's posse for some blade work. The rest of the Black & Gold crew suited up and hit the ice shortly thereafter.

Today's lineup was:
Andrew Alberts
Bobby Allen
P.J. Axelsson
Brandon Bochenski
Zdeno Chara
Chris Collins
Andrew Ference
Jeff Hoggan
Matt Hunwick
Martins Karsums
Phil Kessel
David Krejci
Matt Lashoff
Mark Mowers
Glen Murray
Jeremy Reich
Marc Savard
Jonathan Sigalet
Jordan Sigalet
Marco Sturm
Nate Thompson
Dennis Wideman

It was also nice to see general manager Peter Chiarelli, trainer Don DelNegro and video coordinator Brant Berglund in the building, and you obviously notice the names Axelsson and Murray amongst the cadre of Bruins on ice this morning…

As far as the practice session goes, the B's ran through some shooting drills at the outset with a local goalie substituting for Manny, Timmy et al at the locker room end and Jordan Sigalet in the crease near the main entrance.

Then, some passing elements were added and eventually a defender. There were three-on-one, two-on-one, and three-on-two versions of that exercise.

Glen Murray
Murray looked rested and healthy as he moved through the session. And, if I am not mistaken, he was helping lead the drills. Axelsson was his usual self, as well -- entertaining as ever.

With so many players in attendance, the usual three on three game was not used and the skaters switched to a five on five scrimmage format with line changes, three forwards and two D, etc.

Today there was slightly more contact on the boards and the most interesting "conflict" occurred when a smiling Phil Kessel started shoving Zdeno Chara, and finished his "check" by cuffing the big captain on the back of the head. Per usual, Chara was unfazed and unmoved (literally) by the forward and, in the aftermath of the assault, just smiled.

Speaking of smiling, Axie, Savvy and Muzz played a significant portion of the drills and the scrimmage on a forward line and looked quite content to be back on the ice together. I did not notice any other static "lines" throughout the morning.

The fans in attendance were treated to some pretty good hockey. In particular, goalie Sigalet made two outstanding point blank stops on a breakaway and several other sweet (usually scoring) plays garnered applause.

After the game broke up, Bobby Allen and several others joined Mark Mowers for sprints. By my reckoning, this was the longest practice of the pre-preseason, with Matt Hunwick hitting the ice round before 9:30 a.m. and the final sprint skaters leaving the ice around 11:30.

In the locker room afterward, forward Chris Collins, one of the new arrivals in Wilmo today, said that it was nice to be back at Ristuccia. As you might remember, the former Boston College Eagle was in the building in July for the Bruins Development Camp.

"I had a great summer," said Collins. "After camp I took a week off to do some fishing and then I got right back to work.

"I did a lot of skating -- I had a good group of guys in Rochester, including (New Jersey Devils forward) Brian Gionta.

"We put in a lot of effort," he said.

And it was worth it.

"I really knew how to prepare myself (after Development Camp)," explained Collins, who put that knowledge to work prior to arriving today.

"I think the summer before I came in not really sure what to expect," he said. "Camp definitely helped all of us younger guys."

Both Collins and defenseman Matt Lashoff also said that understanding how the club's fitness tests would be performed helped tremendously.

"It went well," said Lashoff of his testing, performed today. "I am glad that it's over.

"Now I can focus on hockey."

Lashoff also commented at the high attendance of the voluntary workout and seemed pleased that five-on-five hockey had returned.

"That's good," said Lash of the scrimmage. "It makes (the session) a little bit more game oriented and the guys seemed happy to be here.

"It was up tempo and fun."

I was able to talk to "Muzz" Murray for a bit, as well, so look for that feature on tomorrow morning.

Due to a reporting error -- I messed up!
Derek, a very savvy fan, wrote in today to point out that I had made a mistake in a recent story.

Shocking, I know!

Marc Savard, from Ottawa, played juniors in Oshawa. Shawn Thornton, from Oshawa, played juniors for Peterborough.

Sorry folks! In my story I had it every which way but right.

And one more thing...
Looks as if the boards and the ice are down -- and the new "B" is in the Garden. Hockey season is just around the corner, my friends.

Check out the pics from today.

See ya tomorrow!

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