Smithfield, RI — Jordan Caron took a pass inside the blueline and charged toward the goal. In an instant, and one quick motion, the puck found the forward's stick blade, and then the twine in the top corner of the net.
Training camp for the Providence Bruins opened up Friday in North Smithfield, Rhode Island with a mixed group of young and experienced players hoping to mesh before their season opens up October 12.
For Caron and his teammates it was a very sharp start.
"It feels pretty good," Caron said. "We work hard all summer to get in shape for training camp and the regular season.
"So it feels pretty good to get started and to get out there."
The team’s fast start wasn’t just evident to those watching from beyond the glass. Those involved also took note.
"I think the first thing we always look at is testing, look at the guy’s sort of body fat or shuttle run, and I think we’re very happy with the numbers we got, actually, more than happy," said Providence Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. "I think the guys, the young guys, know what the Boston Bruins expectations are, and they’ve come in here in great shape and hats off to them."
The players took to the ice in two groups, participating in a variety of drills on the ice at the Rhode Island Sports Center. Cassidy led both groups through passing exercises, breakout drills, 1-on-1’s, 2-on-1’s, and a host of other workouts.
"We’re going to scrimmage tomorrow and Sunday," Cassidy said. "So I was very happy with [today’s practice]."
Among the new Providence faces that were participating were Chris Bourque and Torey Krug, who both skated with Group B. Cassidy recalled seeing Bourque last year, when he was a member of the Hershey Bears playing on the opposite side against Providence.
"What made him so tough was the power play," Cassidy said of the forward. "He’s hard to defend out there when he has a little more ice. On the rush, tough guy, he can just make plays.
"He has great hands, great poise, so that part of his game was difficult. I’d try to keep the puck out of his hands which, as you know, is easier said then done."
Cassidy though was quick to point out that his team won that game 6-0, and jokingly downplayed Bourque’s effectiveness, and said he’d have to remind his new player of the result.
For the son of former Bruin great and Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, it was simply nice to just get back to hockey.
"I’ve been battling out here in practice with some good players, and once the games start it’s going to be fun," Bourque said. "Everyone here was chomping at the bit to get training camp started, it’s been a long summer.
"It was a great first day."
His teammates were also happy to be back for training camp. For many of the Providence players, it’s a group of familiar faces, which makes training camp, and getting back into the swing of things, a much easier task.
"I think it’s great we’ve got a lot of guys from the year before, and the new guys coming in this year are great players, so the quicker that we can come together, and day one was today, it kind of seems like we got off to a solid start," said returning forward Craig Cunningham.
Although it’s still a young group in Rhode Island's Renaissance City, players like Cunningham, Tommy Cross, Zach Trotman, Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight benefit from having played at least briefly for Providence last season.
"I think it’s good," said Knight. "You know, I know most of the guys, I went to Development Camp with them.
"So it’s not like I’m coming in, I don’t know anyone, don’t have a ride to the rink, so it’s pretty comfortable here and it makes it a lot easier."