WILMINGTON, MA -- The scene shifted to Wilmington, Massachusetts today as the Boston Bruins informal skate, presided over by Captain Zdeno Chara, changed location to the familiar confines of Ristuccia Memorial Arena.
There, several new, but mostly familiar, faces hit the ice in Black & Gold.
However, as good as it was to see Rich Peverley and Dan Paille again, and as nice as it was to meet newcomer Aaron Johnson, it was simply outstanding to see Nathan Horton return to action.
"Toward the end of the [season] I was starting to feel better," said Horton. "All summer I didn’t have any issues, all my running and biking, never had a set back.
"I feel great. I’m pretty happy about that. It’s a tough thing to go through, but it’s in the past, looking forward to getting back and being around the guys again, having fun."
Had NHL training camps started in September, Horton said he'd have been ready to go.
"Definitely," said Nathan. "I was 100 percent back then, it seems so long ago but, more time helped me. But I was fine back then."
And Horton's fine right now and looking forward to putting injury issues behind him.
"I forgot about it," said Horton of the concussion, which cost him 36 regular season and seven playoff games last spring. "This is the first time I’ve been talking about it.
"I haven’t thought about it, it’s way in my past," added Horton. "I’m not even thinking about it - it’s not even in my mind at all."
However, after missing the 2012 playoffs and the final four games of the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, Horton is looking to fill his spring schedule.
"After the year before, what we did as a team, especially not being able to be around the guys, it’s a special time of the year," he said. "I got one shot at it the year before and once you taste it you just want to keep going.
"I didn’t get to do that and it’s pretty disappointing but it was a tough year for me. I’m happy to be back and I want to start it off right here."
That start should come soon. On Wednesday, The National Hockey League's Board of Governors ratified the terms of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the National Hockey League Players' Association.
"I’ve been [skating] pretty much all year and all summer, didn’t have any set backs," repeated Horton regarding his readiness. "I’ve just been pushing and waiting and waiting and waiting and finally it's here.
"A lot of guys have played games and you can tell that the conditioning is up there and guys that haven’t played just have to work even harder to get back in shape and try to keep up and hopefully be ready," continued Horton. "I think if you’re working hard, you’re going to be in shape and that’s what we need."
However, what Horton needs is some hockey action.
"I’m going to be around the guys here and keep working hard and working extra hard because I haven’t been able to play games," said Horton. "I think my legs will be there.
"Like I said, I feel good, I’ve been working real hard. I’ve been doing as much as I can."