9:30 AM - For the past two days, the B's have been going through their annual photo and video shoots before hitting the ice. Yesterday, the group that had to be in to the Garden at the crack of dawn for their shoots, hit the ice second; and today, vice versa.
This was what I walked into, when I glanced in the "portrait" station (there were about 5-6 different areas they went through that took over an hour for each player). "Hey, Marchy!" (His new haircut looking clean-cut for the photo).
10:00 AM - The first group with Captain Zdeno Chara hits the ice.
10:36 AM - 2-on-2's see Milan Lucic and David Krejci together. The pair has a sixth sense when they're both on the ice; no communciation necessary - they always find each other. 'Looch' roofs one.
This group has a few extra on-lookers today, in Marchand, self-proclaimed "rink boy" Dougie Hamilton and Jordan Caron...
10:43 AM - The sound of Coach Julien's whistle is heard constantly throughout the Garden, leading the charges through their drills. These first few days especially are used for going over the system. Line rushes underway, with a 5-man unit working on breakouts. Jarome Iginla skates through the right faceoff circle, and whips in a shot - nothing but net.
Same lines and defensive pairings in this group as yesterday...
Day 2, Group 2 Lines/Pairings
- A good Zamboni clear for the second half of the first session, and Group 2 heads right back to the drawing board with Julien. 11:17 AM
- Not as quick of a pace to today's practice, as positioning is the sole focus of this portion of the on-ice session. Lots of learning and stoppages for the coaches' direction taking place...11:50 AM
- Carl Söderberg fires a shot that finds the top left corner behind Malcolm Subban. The line of Matt Fraser, Carl Soderberg and Craig Cunningham has been turning it up a notch. Though Cunningham hasn't been looped into the "third line" conversation, the third year pro put up a combined 82 points (45 goals, 37 assists) in his first two seaons with Providence. He might not have the inside track for a spot on the big club just yet, but he'll definitely challenge the guys around him as camp goes on. 12:00 PM
- Milan Lucic leads the center-ice stretch, an honor bestowed upon Captain Zdeno Chara on Day 1. Hard to believe Looch is already entering his seventh season as a Bruin. I expect to take on an even greater leadership role this year. No. 17 summons three spirited stick taps from the group and another chat from Coach wraps up their session.
Iginla Fitting In with Krejci, Lucic
For the second straight day, Jarome Iginla was skating on the right wing with Milan Lucic and David Krejci. The LW and centerman had plenty to say following Day 1 about the trio finding chemistry with one another (though the line is obviously not yet set in stone) and "the big talk," as Krejci put it, that they needed to have as a group.
With another chance for the group to be together on Day 2, that communication is already starting to form.
"Yeah, I've enjoyed it the last couple of days, getting to skate with them for sure," said Iginla, from in front of his stall in the B's locker room. "They're great players and have a great chemistry together. I'd like to play with them and help them out. It's really, just, as far as building chemistry, it's time together and where guys like pucks, where you go, getting used to talking to each other and just really getting used to tendencies."
"I've enjoyed the first couple days and looking forward to more, and when we actually get into games," he said, before catching himself and adding with a smile, "If that's the case."
Yesterday, Krejci and Lucic both likened Iginla to a similar player as Nathan Horton, a power forward with a scoring touch. Today, Iginla had the chance to compare his seemingly new counterparts.
"I don't know if I've played with - there aren't as many Looches I've played with," he remarked, as he couldn't really make a comparison to the one the Boston faithful call "Looooooch." As for Krejci, Iginla views him as a playmaking centerman, who seems just to keep getting better and better.
The first preseason game is already this Monday, September 16 in Montreal. Usually, the entire group (in this case, of 51 players) doesn't travel to every game, so it's unknown yet which game Iginla will be getting into, wearing the spoked-B for the first time (albeit, in an exhbition setting), but it's a safe assumption it will be with Lucic and Krejci alongside him.
"I'm not sure who's playing [Monday], but for the last number of years now, training camps have been shorter. Guys come in and guys are in great shape; they're ready to go, everyone's been skating pretty much since the beginning of August and it's kind of nice to jump right into games and compete there, and get a chance to rest up and have a chance to 'show our stuff.'"
- Second group hits the ice, as the Chara's group finishes up their media availability in the locker room. Upon returning to the arena bowl, lines and defensive pairings from Day 1 are intact...
Day 2, Group 1 Lines/Pairings
Rask, Svedberg, Morrison
*Goalie Adam Morrison is the only player to alternate groups today, having skated in Chara's group on Day 1.
- Coach Julien is implementing the system and positioning this week, and there's a heavy emphasis today on "drill, stop, repeat." A lot of whistles to halt the sequence when he wants something corrected, or, when he sees something done well. 1:09 PM
- Johnny Boychuk appears to have figured out the new implementation. He rockets a shot in behind Tuukka. "Yeah, Johnny!"
is heard from Assistant Coach Doug Houda (who focuses on the B's defense). 1:10 PM
- They're realllllyyy getting it now.... "Kells, yes!" shouts Houda again, as Chris Kelly finds Boychuk for his second straight rocket into the back of the net.1:12 PM
- Niklas Svedberg flashes the glove on invite Steven Spinell; admires his work.1:57 PM
- Second session is in the thick of scrimmaging right now. Malcolm Subban holding his own at one end (looks like he's stepped up his game around the big guns), while Tuukka Rask mans the other net.
Third Line Battle Rages On
While one group has the combination of Matt Fraser, Carl Söderberg and Craig Cunningham, the other sees Chris Kelly centering Jordan Caron and Reilly Smith. The trios are fitting, given their competiton for the the third line.
"They both have been skating well; I've played with Jordy before so there's some famliarity there, but with Reilly, I've been impressed the first two days we've been skating togther," said Kelly following their skate. "I know there's been competition for the so-called third line, and competition is great. I like to put in that mix; I'm competing for a spot, just like everyone else. That's the way, personally, I'm approaching this."
So, what does he think of all of the "young guys" coming up and competing for spots?
"I am young," quipped Kelly, who smiled and paused for a second. "Maybe not as young as them," he added. "Camp's always an exciting time, it doesn't matter how many camps you've been to, or how old you are."
Though he considers himself in the mix as a "candidate" for a spot on the roster, truth is, Kelly has been a mainstay on that "third line," aside from playing in Gregory Campbell's spot for a couple of games when No. 11 broke his leg during the Eastern Conference Final.
While players have come and go, Kelly has been a steady anchor.
"I hope we kind of do a bit everything," the 'B' who wears the 'A' remarked. "To be a defensive line, defensively sound, but contribute offensively."
"In our system, you need to be able to play defense, and I think our line has done that in the past."
Who will fit into that makeup? We'll have to wait and see...
Day 2 Notebook
-Puck drops on the first preseason game Monday night in Montreal at 7:00 p.m. ET (live listening for both available via 98.5 The Sports Hub), before a game in Baltimore against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. I'll bring live updates, as always, via Twitter @NHLBruins ^CS.
But likely the entire 51-player group won't be traveling. In fact, there could be cuts before Monday, and we could see one group travel to one game, and another group of players playing in the next match-up.
"That’s something Peter [Chiarelli] and I talk as we go along here," said Julien, of when cuts will be made. "Sometimes, we stay, 'Okay, well there’s certain guys there it’s pretty clear and let’s bring the group down a little bit' and, at the same time, you know you've got a lot of games and don’t want to overtax certain players and veterans that have played a lot last year so on and so forth, so we keep guys around and give them a look and give the veterans a bit of a break here."
"We've got back-to-back games and there’s a good chance you’re going to see one team playing one night and then the next team, a totally different group. The first two games are an opportunity to give everyone a chance, so that may be what you see."
-Carl Söderberg is looking good. He dropped about 7-8 pounds and gained muscle. He's strong on the puck and Julien is looking forward to seeing him in the preseason games. That's really when he'll be able to start shifting around Kelly and Söderberg, and seeing who is the best fit at center.
"Every second night, especially in the playoffs and the grind of the schedule that we had when he came here was pretty impressive and eye opening for him," Julien said of Söderberg's approach coming into camp. "So I think recognizing that, he took the appropriate measures to get himself in shape so that he can be able to sustain that kind of tempo."
The next two days - Saturday and Sunday - at Training Camp are open to the public. Full details found here.