|John Bishop is the beat writer for BostonBruins.com. 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. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker. |
This morning, the NHL vets took an early skateroo around the Ristuccia Memorial in what amounted to their final game of shinny during the off-season.
The crew today was:
Bobby AllenP.J. Axelsson
Brandon BochenskiAndrew FerenceManny Fernandez
Phil KesselDavid Krejci
Jeremy ReichMarc Savard
Marco SturmTim Thomas
Nate ThompsonShawn Thornton
And yes, you read that correctly. Petteri Nokelainen, formally of the New York Islanders was in Wilmington wearing a spoked-B.
From what I saw, the Finish product is a very smooth skater, possesses some speed and has nice hands -- it will be interesting to see what else he brings to the table throughout the preseason and where hit fits into the organization's plans.
Beyond the absence of a few regulars, there was no deviation from the group's normal procedure of drills followed by a scrimmage.
There did seem to be a lighthearted grudge match between the University of Vermont and the University of New Hampshire during the proceedings. Perhaps spurred on by Tim Thomas
making a couple of saves on him early on, Mark Mowers tended to voice his pleasure at each successive goal during drills and during the scrimmage. To his credit, Thomas took quite a bit of guff before smacking the former Wildcat with his goal paddle.
Big forward Shawn Thornton
lined up defenseman Bobby Allen at least once during the scrimmage and employed a Jordanesque tongue-out stance as he drove Allen into the boards with his shoulder. It was all in fun, however, and both guys seemed to enjoy the return to full contact hockey.Serious Business
No matter how lighthearted practices have been during the pre-preseason, the work of putting together a team and making the team starts this afternoon and continues throughout the next several days.
I sat down with one of the guys who understand that they must earn a spot in the Boston locker room. Nonetheless, an undaunted Jeff Hoggan continues to show why Peter Chiarelli re-signed him over the summer. A true character player, Hoggan shows his own true character whenever he speaks about hockey, and by extension, the Bruins.
"I definitely want to play up with the big club," said Hoggan. "I worked hard when I went down at the end of the season and gained some confidence putting the puck in the net.
"It's been a while since (I was counted on) to do that.
"And I want to be available, you know, when they need energy," he said.
Hoggan has often been described (in this space, especially) as having one speed -- bowling ball. And despite putting the puck to twine in last season's AHL playoffs, Hoggan knows that "energy" is what his NHL game must embody.
"I know that I am not going to be the enforcer on the team, but I'd like to think that I would be able to stick up for my teammates, too," said Hoggan. "(The management) knows what I bring to the table, and their bringing me back was a positive sign.
"I'll just keep working hard and see what happens."
That's a decent mantra for everyone involved, Jeff.In between
Several players, all of which have seen time with the P-Bruins suited up for another informal practice after the NHLers left the ice. And, speaking of working hard, David Krejci
played with the second group as well.
That group was:
Martins KarsumsDavid Krejci
Jordan SigaletT.J. Trevelyan
They, too, followed the familiar drills then game format.
Questioned as to why he skated twice, a remarkably in-breath Krejci said, "They needed another skater."Training Camp 2007 begins…finally
The rookies began the 2007-08 season where they left off during the Bruins Development Camp in July with Providence head coach Scott Gordon, his assistant Rob Murray, power skating coach Paul Vincent and goalie coach Bob Essensa all putting the kids through their paces, drilling from 1:30 until almost 3:00.
Their squad was:
Byron BitzAndrew BodnarchukAdam Courchaine
Daryl BoyleZach Hamill
Mikko LehtonenMilan LucicBrad Marchand
Wacey Rabbit Tuukka Rask
And folks, when I say drill, I mean drill.
There was passing, shooting, traffic cones, starts and stops and dry erase boards. It was a hockey geek's dream. And hitting! There was hitting! And why not, these guys have a game on Sunday.
Goalie Tuukka Rask
was very smooth in his crease, stopping difficult chances from the also very impressive Brad Marchand
, Zach Hamill
and Milan Lucic
Lucic, by the way, looked as if he had gained more muscle in just the scant weeks since his last graced us with his presence.
The rookies skate again tomorrow in Wilmington, followed by an optional skate for the NHLers at the TD Banknorth Garden in the afternoon.