“It’s about time,” the forward quickly remarked with a smile following the Bruins’ last informal practice on Wednesday before the first orders of business for 2015-16 begin. “I hate the summertime, especially when you don’t make playoffs. It just drags on and on.”
After a lengthy summer, players will report to TD Garden for off-ice testing on Thursday.
This marks Rinaldo’s first training camp with Boston, having been acquired from Philadelphia via trade on June 29.
“I’ll just adapt,” he said. “It’s not too hard - I’ve been around the League for a couple of years now, I’ve adapted to different coaches and situations, so it won’t be too hard.”
There’s always a level of anticipation, and maybe even anxiety, for players entering the first day —regardless of how many training camps in which they have participated.
The physical tests vary from team to team. In Philadelphia, Rinaldo went through mostly on-ice testing. In Boston, the most difficult tests happen off the ice.
No matter the rundown, Thursday marks the official opening of training camp and Day One of the 2015-16 season.
“[Thursday’s] going to be — all of my switches are going to go off, everything’s going to turn off [besides hockey] — all it’s going to be is hockey, hockey, hockey,” Rinaldo rattled off. “And get past these tests, get into game situations. I wish we could fast forward, I wish we could just fast forward all of this and hop into game situations, but this is the process you’ve got to go through.”
Since becoming a Bruin in June, Rinaldo has been re-energized. He had all summer to envision putting on the Spoked-B, and has done so during informal practices for the past two and a half weeks at Ristuccia Arena, with perfect attendance.
He’s also used the time to get to know his new teammates.
“Yeah, I’ve known the guys right now in practices and stuff like that, but I like to get to know them on more of a game-like basis,” said Rinaldo, anticipating the Bruins’ slate of preseason games which begins on Sept. 20. “How they talk on the bench and the camaraderie during the game instead of obviously just working out and practicing.”
It’s not too hard to get to know the easy-going 25-year-old. He can spark up a conversation with anyone — both on his team and the opposing one.
“In the dressing room, yeah, I talk a lot,” he said, when asked if he’s vocal around the room. “But I pick my spots on the bench, if the team needs a little energy, with vocals, then I’m always there for it, but for the most part, I’m focused.”
As for fitting in with the group, Rinaldo isn’t too worried. When it comes to adjusting to a new room, his approach is one that any player should follow.
“Yeah, as long as you’re being yourself,” he said. “As long as you’re being yourself. I’m just, I’m not going to try to be someone that I’m not and as long as you’re yourself, you’ll fit right in.”
If he plays his game — with energy and edge — he’ll fit right in with the Bruins fans as well.
“Well, every time I come in here, they hate me, so I can only imagine now being on their team," said Rinaldo. "Hopefully that passionate hate will turn into some positive energy and some love for me. But I’ve heard nothing but good things about Boston and I know their history well and every time I play against them, it’s a hard team to play against, so I’m excited.”
As has been said over and over again, the Bruins were inconsistent last season and they weren’t as tough to play against as they used to be.
Rinaldo could help bring some of that back.
“I’m going to be that guy. I’m going to be bringing that edge, I’m going to be bringing that energy every game, home or away,” he said. “That’s what they’re lacking and that’s what I’m going to bring here to the table and that’s what I’m going to do.”
He’s eager to show that from the start of training camp.
“I think they see a lot in me that other teams don’t see, so I think they want to help me showcase my skills a lot more and they’re giving me the confidence to do that,” Rinaldo said, grateful of his opportunity with Boston. “So that’s what I’m going to be doing — and also bringing that energy.”
The forward is not naive. He knows the talk that’s out there about him and about the team heading into the season. It’s time for the play to do the talking.
“Yeah, exactly, get out of the talk out of the way,” said Rinaldo. “I’m looking forward to it, it’s been a long summer, so I’m excited for camp.”