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We're Almost There: Training Camp Begins Soon

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. 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.
Cutting to the chase, today's lineup was:

Andrew Alberts
Bobby Allen
P.J. Axelsson
Patrice Bergeron
Brandon Bochenski
Zdeno Chara
Matt Hendricks
Jeff Hoggan
Matt Hunwick
Martins Karsums
Phil Kessel
Chuck Kobasew
David Krejci
Matt Lashoff
Mark Mowers
Glen Murray
Pascal Pelletier
Wacey Rabbit
Jeremy Reich
Marc Savard
Peter Schaefer
Jonathan Sigalet
Jordan Sigalet
Marco Sturm
Mark Stuart
Tim Thomas
Nate Thompson
Shawn Thornton
Aaron Ward
Dennis Wideman

Sigalet (the defenseman) was on the ice first and skated some of his first strides in the dark -- the lights hadn't even been turned on.

Alberts, Allen, Hunwick, Hoggan, Lashoff, Pelletier, Reich, Stuart and Thompson joined Sigalet for some power skating drills with coach Paul Vincent, approximately one hour prior to the regular skate.

As some more of the crew began to filter onto the ice sheet, new policeman Shawn Thornton hit the ice at 9:52 and could be seen chatting amicably with one-time sparring partner Jeremy Reich almost immediately.

Despite their prior fisticuffs, the two men looked pretty happy to be reacquainted, and Shawn wore a grin through most of his first day in Black & Gold.

Soon afterward, several other players (many of them Providence B's personnel during 2006-07) came out of the room to join in the power skating exercises, and for a while, Coach Paul had most of the ice working their edges.

After the power skating, the ice was resurfaced, and most of those guys took a breather on the bench as the resurfacing machine made its rounds. By the way, it looks as if the Ristuccia Memorial Arena has a brand new Olympia ice resurfacing machine -- colored Black & Gold, of course.

New to the main session were Bergeron, Hendricks, Kobasew, Pelletier, Rabbit, Schaefer, Thornton and Ward. They, and the rest of their teammates, were led through drills devised by NHL vets Murray, Chara, as well as Ward, himself.

Bergy looked good, real good, and throughout the morning seemed able to perform whatever move he envisioned. Schaefer looked ready for training camp and visual evidence of the offensive game that was hinted at from various quarters when he was acquired was quite apparent out there today.

As per the recent pattern, the skate started with warm up style breakaways against Thomas and Sigalet, then progressed toward various incarnations of 2-on-0's, 2-on-1's and finally on to 3-on-2's -- these were neat because the D-men who started the breakout for one set of forwards, ended up defending against another set of forwards coming from the other direction.

The 5-on-5 game was pretty fun to witness, as the two squads seemed evenly matched; it was the white shirts versus the black-gray-red-teal's. Highlights of the scrimmage included an amazing shot, off a breakaway, from Marco Sturm and a very pretty goal from Pascal Pelletier.

"I was thinking he was going to go five hole," said Sigalet (the goalie), who had an amazing view of Sturmie's move. "He came in, put it right by my ear and it hit the (cross) bar and went in.

"I didn't get to move, really.

"Guys at this level know how to shoot the puck," he said admiringly.

Not so admiring was Timmy Thomas, who had an equally beautiful shot go by him, courtesy of Pelletier. Thomas, who was smiling about it at the time, and smiling about it afterward, gave Pascal a little shove of defiance after the score.

"He made too good of a shot," said the goalie. "He didn't do anything 'disrespectful.'

"The only disrespectful thing he did was making a perfect shot.

"I was just playing (tough), it was too good of a shot," he said, with admiration equal to Sigalet's deference to Sturm.

Sigalet seemed pleased with his performance in the scrimmage, having undergone his fitness testing today.

Convinced that his legs would be useless, prior to the on-ice workout, Jordan said he was going "80's style" during the scrimmage, because the stand-up style is a little easier on the legs than the butterfly he usually employs. True to his competitive nature, however, he employed any means necessary to block pucks and he said he was better off staying in the 21st century, anyway.

"As far as playing 80's goalie," expained Jordan, "Kobasew said I would have to put on Timmy's helmet if I was going to do that."

Come to think of it, Timmy's mage (mask + cage) harkens back to Reggie Lemelin, doesn't it.

The guys, and I, are expected to return to Ristuccia tomorrow.
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