As we inch ever closer to the start of training camp, the Bruins captain’s practices are increasing in speed (if not intensity).
And the team building benefits of these informal sessions is very clear (at least to those of us who get to talk to the players following practice). Otherwise, you might think that defenseman Aaron Ward has it out for speedsters like Phil Kessel and David Krejci
Both forwards felt the “sting” of the veteran B’s blueliner, as they looked to wheel their way around the rink with some niftier-than-usual moves in the otherwise non-contact session.
“I was just messing around,” said Ward. “When you play these non-contact games the frustration for the non-finesse guys elevates.
“So then you see a guy like Hnidy ‘slash’ Krech and me jump on him and then give Kess an extra shove.
“It’s your way of getting back at them,” he said with a laugh.
Ward must have watched a lot of football and wrestling over the weekend, because today, “getting back” at Krejci entailed a full tackle, complete with a WWE-like pin.
To his credit, Krejci knew better than to try and match the antics of his defensive brethren and took his ‘punishment’ even as Ward gave the forward a couple of playful cuffs to the helmet. Krejci just got up, smiled and skated away.
Kessel got the ultimate revenge when he picked a corner with a resounding “DING” for the best goal of the morning.
A shout-out for YelleAndrew Ference
|Edmonton Oilers' Matt Greene, right, gets upended by Calgary Flames' Stephane Yelle. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh) |
, a once and future teammate of new Bruins forward Stephan Yelle, had some terrific things to say about the former Calgary Flame.
Ference, who lived next door to Yelle in Calgary, feels that the B’s have gone in the right direction in terms of closing any leadership gap left by the absence of Glen Murray.
“I know him because I played with him for quite a while,” said Ference, who joined his teammates for the first time on Monday. “(Yelle) is the epitome of unselfishness when it comes to playing and in the room. He really puts his body on the line all the time and really, really leads by example.
“The guys will see that right away.”
Ference, who plans to return to his recurring gig on WFNX’s “The Sandbox” morning show later this month, said that his former teammate has a pretty interesting nickname that might also win Yelle a spot in the hearts of Charlie, Fletcher, and Special Ed.
“His nickname is sandbox,” said Andrew of Stephane. “He is just full of grit.”
After a laugh, Ference continued and said, “It’s just so true.
“I can’t say enough good things – he’s a very, very good leader.”
However, don’t expect to hear much from Yelle as he is not a guy to give speeches (or talk on the radio).
“No, no, no. It’s all by example,” said Ference. “He’s a quiet leader.
“I mean, he’s not sitting in his corner not saying a word, but he doesn’t get the pompoms out, either.
“He shows how it’s done,” he said.
As far as predicting Yelle’s place in the Hub, Ference seconded his GM’s notions about the forward’s defensive prowess.
“He’s a great penalty killer,” said Andrew. “He’s really responsible defensively. Stephane’s not here to score 30 goals or be a game-breaker offensively.
“He’s blocking shots and doing all the little things that real good hockey fans, knowledgeable hockey people, appreciate. His highlight video is probably going to show more sacrifice than beautiful goals.
“He’s can definitely do his job in the offensive zone, but he’s here for the leadership in the room and for the great example he sets for playing team hockey – he’s all about the team.”New faces, places
Martin Karsums and Ference looked to be the only new additions to the usual group on the ice…Tim Thomas
, Manny Fernandez and Kevin Regan looked very comfortable in goal, with Manny and Tim matching the youngster’s recent fine performances with some nice saves in the informal scrimmage…several Bruins were going to play in Don Sweeney’s golf tournament at Ferncroft Country Club. Sweeney, the Bruins Director of Hockey Operations and Player Development, donates the proceeds of his tourney to Ferncroft’s junior golf program.