WILMINGTON, MA – The Bruins made the trek up Route 93, to Wilmington, today, for Day 2 of Training Camp and, once again, were put through a physical, high-energy practice by coach Claude Julien.
Lines remained the same as Sunday’s – the only changes from last season being Dougie Hamilton stepping in alongside Dennis Seidenberg on the second D pairing and Chris Bourque sliding into the third line left wing spot with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.
Julien was pleased with the level of energy his team brought to the ice at Ristuccia Arena and the improvement they showed from an already high-spirited start to camp on Sunday.
“I think the players looked a little better,” said Julien, who is entering his sixth season behind the B’s bench. “But, again, [yesterday] we skated on the ice that was fairly fresh and as the practice went on you could see the puck jumping around a little bit. Today, with some great ice and even some better energy, I thought we looked much better.”
The Black & Gold have struggled at times on the power play over the last couple of years, ranking 15th in the league (17.2%) a year ago and, on Monday, they started practice with a focus on the PP.
Julien and his coaches worked throughout the summer on mixing things up on the man advantage and, with the work stoppage, had even more time to try and make improvements.
“We had done a lot of that over the course of the summer,” said Julien, on making tweaks to the power play. “When we had a little bit more time, we kept working on it. We also had the opportunity to go to Providence and watch their team play, that’s where we saw a guy like Chris Bourque doing a good job on the power play.”
In addition to Bourque possibly adding something new to one of the PP units (if given the opportunity to suit up come game time), Julien pointed to the rookie Hamilton as someone else that may add a spark.
“We know that Dougie Hamilton sees the ice well and moves [the puck] well, so those are things that we started with today and, to be honest with you, I liked the results,” Julien explained. “I thought our power play was moving the puck well in practice today, we were doing a lot good things.
“So we’ll keep working on that, as we’ve mentioned for the last little while, an area of improvement was [the power play] and we’re going to hopefully get that thing done this year.”
David Krejci was at the point on one of the power play units with Zdeno Chara as his partner. Julien thinks those two at the blue line, along with Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton in the middle of the ice and Tyler Seguin as the “quarterback” could be a dangerous group.
“I think David sees the ice very well and I know he’s very comfortable on the right side and with Zdeno as a pair, I think they can do a great job there,” said Julien.
“You’ve got two big bodies, one that’s a great shooter from the slot in Horts, the other guy’s a good, big body in front of the net in Looch and, as you know, probably the quarterback there is Seggy.
“[Seguin’s] got the skill and has a great one-timer, so we thought that that five-man unit would give us a pretty decent power play as well.”
The second unit, which featured Hamilton and Bourque, as well as Patrice Bergeron, Dennis Seidenberg and Brad Marchand, impressed the coach.
“The other [unit] was equally as good,” said Julien. “I think we’ve got some personnel in some places this year that we feel will give us a little bit more.”
The B's head back to TD Garden on Tuesday for Day 3 of camp. Though the morning session is closed to the public, the Black & Gold Intersquad Scrimmage slated for 7:00 p.m. should serve as a great chance for fans to see their team hit the ice. And with all 17,565 complimentary tickets already distributed, the full house will be rocking.
For live camp updates, check out the B's official Twitter feed (@NHLBruins) and Tumblr (NHLBruins.Tumblr.com).