ANTIOCH, TN - The Bruins' prospects kick off the Nashville Predators Rookie Tournament today at the Ford Ice Center with a 1:00 p.m. (2:00 ET) game against the Florida Panthers rookies.
The team arrived on Friday and hit the ice for a practice in preparation for the tournament, which is part of the 2014 Bruins Rookie Camp, presented by AT&T. Providence Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy and Assistant Coach Kevin Dean are at the helm behind the bench, with Goalie Coach Bob Essensa also on the trip.
New Player Development Coach Jay Pandolfo traveled as well, along with Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney and members of the club's scouting staff.
The Bruins' 22-player roster features 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders. Eight players competed in last year's rookie tournament put on by the Panthers in Sunrise, Fl., including Anthony Camara, Mitchell Dempsey, Alex Fallstrom, Seth Griffith, Matt Lindblad, Chris Casto, Adam Morrison and Malcolm Subban.
Prospects like Brian Ferlin, David Pastrnak and Linus Arnesson have worn the Spoked-B during development camp, but have never suited up in real game action wearing the Black & Gold. Ben Sexton wore the P-Bruins Black & Gold at the end of the 2013-14 season, but like Ferlin, this marks his first ever rookie tournament with the club.
Click here for the Bruins Rookie Camp roster.
Per tournament rules, skaters must have one year of professional experience or less, and goalies can be on entry-level contracts or less. Eighteen skaters and two goalies will dress for every game.
While there will be no live streams of the games, I'll provide game recaps and lineups on BostonBruins.com and bring coverage from the locker room.
With main camp officially opening on September 18, the rookie camp always kicks the new season into high gear. With Bruins' coaches and staff looking on, the prospects will use this tournament to make a lasting impression.
"It's a real good evaluation tool," Sweeney said at the start of rookie camp. "I think when you get to have some practice time with your own players, and have some teaching moments, they also get to play against their peers, players that are at the same level as you and starting out as pros or first year pros."
"So you’re controlling that environment a little bit and the players on the other side are highly regarded prospects in the other organizations, so it’s an interesting time."
"It’s an evaluation tool I think for your own players as well as the players on the other team, and it does allow the players as young pros to sort of ease themselves into a training camp environment. Because the training camp stuff gets kicked off and ramped up pretty quickly."
Cassidy views the camp is the same light. It's a chance for prospects to prove themselves.
"Donny's opening remarks, he talked a bit about the pathway to Boston and it was mentioned, but I think for a lot of these guys, it's more about establishing themselves as pros and getting their foot in the door in the organization," said Cassidy.
"And then for the guys that have been here a year - I use Justin Florek as an example last year, he came kind of last minute and played here and he got to play with Claude watching him and Pete, a little more closely, and he was one of the better players and I think he really opened some eyes about what he could do, so it helped him in the long run."
"So the Griffiths, Cameras, Lindblad falls into that. That could be directed at them to a certain extent. I think some of the other guys, it's more about, 'I just have to prove I can be a pro.'"
2014 Rookie Tournament Schedule
Saturday, September 13 (Antioch, TN)
-Game vs. Florida Panthers Rookies, Ford Ice Center, 1:00 p.m. CT
Sunday, September 14 (Antioch, TN)
-Game vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Rookies, Ford Ice Center, 4:00 p.m. CT
Monday, September 15 (Antioch, TN)
-Practice, Ford Ice Center, 10:30 a.m. CT
Tuesday, September 16 (Antioch, TN)
-Game vs. Nashville Predators Rookies, Ford Ice Center, 1:00 p.m. CT