The rookies are hitting the ice as we speak. Chances are good that today will be a very tough practice for the kids as the Bruins organization tries to figure out who will be coming to Halifax.
There is still time for one or two of the youngsters to make it hard for the B's in terms of decision making.
Some people seemed concerned about that first outing for the rooks, and ya, I'd be concerned, too, if I thought that every team should be able to make a three and a half hour bus ride, after a couple of days of practice -- making sure, of course, that a majority of the team gets playing time -- and skate circles around anyone.
No, my friends, despite the 8-4 score, there was nothing that I saw yesterday that would shake my faith in the depth of the B's farm system. Obviously, I admire fans' concern and yes, I wish the New B's could have played as well as they did versus the New Jersey club last September, but all-in-all there were plenty of good things to take from the exhibition.
Each of yesterday's four goal scorers, Jordan Knackstedt, Levi Nelson, Blake Wheeler and Maxime Sauve all took advantage of their opportunities -- opportunities that lesser players may have missed. And some of the kids really made an impact on the game despite the Islanders taking control in the second. Brad Marchand
and Mikko Lehtonen and Kevin Regan showed high potential, and the steady play of Zach Hamill
and Andrew Bodnarchuk
showed a growing maturity.
If Regan ends up with Tuukka Rask
in Providence, I'll bet both men will have their best seasons yet thanks purely to competition.
Perhaps most importantly, Matt Marquardt and Scott Fletcher showed that they are willing to stick up for teammates a la Milan Lucic
last season. This was also very, very good to see.
Marquardt, in particular, has shown some very good leadership skills since he arrived for Development Camp in July.
I do wish that more people could have the opportunity to travel with a hockey team on the road -- it is a fun experience at any level and yesterday was no exception.