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Training Camp 2008: The Rookies

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
8:25 p.m.

A nice surprise

Photographer Alan Sullivan just checked in with two terrific photo galleries.

For a quick visual synopsis of practice click here.

And for a looksie at the Marchand vs. Knackstedt "bout" click here.

6:45 p.m.
Heard at the rink
B's Assistant GM, Jim Benning
On the fight between Marchand and Knackstedt...

Brad was playing with the intensity that he always plays with and I guess Jordan took exception to it. That’s within the bounds of players competing to be noticed, so that’s no big deal.

On the competition level...
I thought for the first day of rookie camp the speed of our players was very good, the skill level of our young players was also very good. The intensity was also very high today, which was good. The players here in our organization understand what we’re trying to do with our program’s competition level so that’s good to see.

On building organizational depth...
What we’re trying to do, as an organization, is to build depth at all three levels. The good teams in this league have great depth all the way from the NHL level to the AHL level to even the junior players. This is our third year as a staff here and what we’ve tried to do here is to build that competition from within.

Forward, Brad Marchand
On the intensity level at the first day of camp and his bout with Jordan Knackstedt...
That stuff happens when everyone is battling out there, guys are fighting real hard for spots here and trying to compete. Emotions just ran high, and sometimes that’s the way it is, it gets a little chippy.

On Bruins Management’s expectations of its young players...
We had a meeting the other night here, and [management] really stressed that we need to be more physical and try to compete a bit more. That’s really all I have to bring to the table so sometimes when you’re competing real hard you end up taking some cheap shots at guys. Sometimes you get [clean hits] too but that’s the way you need to play to stick here.

Forward, Jordan Knackstedt
On the fight with Brad Marchand
Some battle drills, they get competitive, but at the end of the day we are still teammates and we get along off the ice. So it's good.

On the difference between Development Camp and Training Camp
There is more intensity and a lot of the guys are in better shape. Guys get bigger and stronger over the summer and you can tell the difference.

Forward, Matt Marquardt
On competing for a spot with the big club...
Just like every other guy here, I’m looking for a job. It’s one thing to sign a contract, but the next step is to try to make the team. I’m just going to try to work hard and show this coaching staff what I can bring to table. I’m hoping it’s something they need here in the lineup in Boston. It’s my fourth camp but I’m still trying to learn as much as I can. You never stop learning and when you get in the room with guys like Chara and other good leaders like that you’re always going to learn something new.

On the transition to rookie camp...
After coming into development camp, a lot of guys realized they weren’t in their top shape, so it was a chance for some guys to use the second half of the summer to focus on conditioning and getting back here for rookie camp in better shape. There is definitely a big jump from development camp and now, so everyone had to put in the time during the rest of the summer in order to be prepared for today. Everyone’s eager to getting going again with hockey season so it should be real fun.

3:17 p.m.
Andrew Bodnarchuk on his good friend Brad Marchand getting into a fight on the first day of training camp:

"It was a little surprising," said Andy. "He doesn't fight a lot.

"But it's not surprising that someone would want to fight him -- he's an agitator and gets under people's skin.

"He gets under mine sometimes, too, and I'd like to sock him one once and a while," he said.

Camp is over for today. Make sure to check back later for more stuff. JB

2:42 p.m.
Just had our first fight of camp.

Marchand vs. Knackstedt

While it was not, by any means, a heavyweight battle, it did fit in with the physical nature of the afternoon.

Marchand comes as advertised -- major league pest -- and has shown more than a little grit and peskiness today.

Blake Wheeler had shown some displeasure with Marchand earlier when the two collided during a drill and Brad gave the bigger guy a little extra. And the conversation around the press box was trying to figure out how many guys were annoyed with Brad.

All in a day's work, I guess.

2:04 p.m.
Practice has reconvened and Coach Rob Murray is having the skaters do plenty of skating.

The current drill is sending a forward in alone on a breakaway and then recovering a puck to start a 2-on-0 back the other way.

1:52 p.m.

There will be a second session. Hang in there.

1:47 p.m.
Not sure if practice is over, but the new B's just left the ice after a VERY physical session.

Lots of battle drills -- some of which got very heated.

I would not be surprised if we had a fight if they do these again.

1:19 p.m.
There are numbers AND names on the backs of the training camp jerseys my friends!

That makes it a whole lot easier to figure out who is who on the ice.

Here’s the roster…
72    ARNIEL, Jamie, C           
65    BODNARCHUK, Andrew, D            
78    CHEREMETIEV, Yuri, C             
82    FLETCHER, Scott, D            
52    HAMILL, Zach, C             
67    KNACKSTEDT, Jordan, RW            
79    KRANTZ, Doug, D
68    LEHTONEN, Mikko, RW
57    LoVECCHIO, Jeff, LW
63    MARCHAND, Brad, C
59    MARQUARDT, Matt, LW
76    NELSON, Levi, C
62    PENNER, Jeff, D
58    RABBIT, Wacey, C
64    REUL, Denis, D
74    SAUVE, Maxime, C
42    WHEELER, Blake, RW

 #    Goaltenders    
71    COURCHAINE, Adam
70    HUTCHINSON, Michael
50    REGAN, Kevin

I don’t see Courchaine, Fletcher or Lovecchio, however.

There are pinneys on two sets of players.

Blue: Nelson, Rabbit, Knackstadt
Yellow: Hamill, Wheeler, Lehtonen

That leaves Marchand, Marquardt, Arniel and Cheremetiev unadorned in White and Bodnarchuk, Reul, Penner and Krantz in black (along with Regan and Hutchinson).

Lots of full ice skating and shots with emphasis on transition.

11:33 a.m.
Patrice Bergeron was the most sought after interview this morning and, perhaps wanting to put all the questions about his health behind him, the center was unequivocal in his assessment of his general well being: “100%. I’ve been 100% all summer. Strength wise I am feeling great.”

“It seemed like a long time, and it was a long time,” added Patrice. “It took forever for me to get the headaches and all the symptoms (to go) away and when it did, I was pretty much starting from scratch to get my strength back.

“Getting back on the ice, and getting my weight back on – obviously, it was a long journey and I am very happy I am over it and I am looking forward.”

10:36 a.m.
I spoke to Blake Wheeler recently and he will be joining his young teammates at 1 p.m.

Blake said that he has worked hard since training camp.

"I got to stay right in Minneapolis and work out everyday," he said. "I pretty much skated everyday.

"We have a great group of guys who've played at Minnesota or who are from around the area who skate at Mariucci.

"So it's been the best setup you could ask for, just getting to work out right there," said Wheeler.

Clearly, Blake understands the odds, but his attitude remains stellar.

"You've got to be an optimist, but you want to be a realist at the same time," said Wheeler. "If you go in and have a great camp and you are fortunate enough to make it, then that's a great thing.

"But if you don't, then it means that you are not ready.

"And that means that you have to work on your game and take it to the point where you want to be so you can play in Boston -- you can't just walk in and expect to join the big club.You have to be ready and you have to feel like you belong," he said.

Hopefully all of the rookies feel all the same thing.

9:52 a.m.

Manny Fernandez
They're here. But at this moment, THEY includes a mixed group of  veterans and youngsters.

This is still "just" a captain's practice and today's session looks to be the most intense one yet.

Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask and Manny Fernandez are sharing duties and the club is split into gold and white teams.

I just saw Byron Bitz skate by! It's good to see the Cornell grad back in Ristuccia.

And, frankly, it's good to see so many members of the media here representing all kinds of different outlets.

Continuing on the honesty trend, I have to admit that I do not recognize everyone's face and we'll have to remedy that very quickly.

By the way, people sometimes ask me how I keep everyone straight  and I will tell you the secret -- if you miss the numbers, and during practice that is pretty easy since the only numbers are on the helmet -- I rely on noses.

Yes, noses. At least to my eye, when I guy is flying by, the only thing I can catch a glimpse of is a nose. Then, obviously, it's skating habits, the way the guys carry their equipment and height. And sure, I am never going to mistake Zdeno Chara for Vladimir Sobotka, but until I figure out who is where and on what line I rely on the nose.

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