Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara let the proverbial air right back into the room this afternoon at Ristuccia Arena.
Chara walked into the room, with his skates on, no less, ready to face the media. He gathered everyone around his locker within the practice facility and spoke for several minutes to let everyone know that he will be fine.
"Anybody in that position would go down and block the shot," explained Chara. "I know it is preseason, but, hey, why not start now?
"I had an x-ray. It’s negative."
"No reason to hit the panic button," said Chara. "Any of the guys would block a shot.
"It’s just a thing that we have to do…This is a bone bruise and I am going to skate tomorrow."
"Yah, he’s coming on the trip," said Head Coach Dave Lewis. "We can sleep now.
"It was a bit of a restless evening, once I got home from [Montreal] and I think Peter [Chiarelli] had the same thought process.
"If we had to play a regular season game tomorrow, I’m certainly sure he could play."
All together, Bruins fans, "Phew."
Eight Bruins were assigned to Boston’s AHL affiliate Providence:
Forward, Jeremy Reich Forward, Wacey Rabbit Forward, Chris Collins Forward, Nate DiCasmirro Forward, T.J. Trevelyan Forward, Dennis Packard Goalie, Jordan Sigalet Goalie, Mike Brown
As of right now, there are 36 skaters in camp.
We’re talking about practice…
This was the most routine of all the practices I have seen since joining the team last week. Not that it was "easy" by any stretch of the imagination. But the Bruins seem to know what to expect and we are starting to see a familiarity with Coach Lewis’ style.
The B’s endured another round of the backward skating defenseman versus the forward with a head start drill and for a nasty new edge, two offensive skaters were used in succession with the defenseman having to double back to pick up the second shooter.
At least one booming collision occurred in the far corner.
One new twist was a penalty shot drill that pitted the defensive corps vs. the forwards. On this particular day, the defense won two rounds to the forwards one.
And that is a good thing for the larger, heavier D-men, because the loser of each round had to make a few full speed laps around the ice. As a result, lots of cheers were heard from the ’D’ side of ice surface.
One more tortuous drill, at least from a goalies’ perspective, occurred at the end of practice where goalie Hannu Toivonen was made to start from a paddle down butterfly position (think rug hockey with your stick flat to the floor, and you on your knees versus your brother), having to block a shot and then quickly face another shot to his right where another player has been passed the puck.
Nasty -- but Hannu did quite well.
Fly on the wall…
"To go up to Montreal and get two wins like that, you can’t ask for anything more. It was a great team effort, both Tuesday and Wednesday night and it was a great way to start up there…An exhibition game is definitely different than a regular game, but putting that ’B’ on for the first time in a game like that, it meant a lot. And the way things went, I think we are looking for great things to come as a team." Defenseman, Paul Mara
"It’s still kind’ve a learning process for everyone, but I feel good personally. So, that’s all you can ask for in training camp…but I like what I am seeing from everybody. Everybody is excited and pretty much ready to get this thing going." Defenseman, Brad Stuart
"It’s been great! Lots of fun, the guys have been great. Training camp has been really good…they tried to do the same [rule changes as the NHL] overseas last year, so I knew what to expect coming in. I talked to a lot of guys who played last year, so I knew what to expect…Long time ago I was drafted by Detroit and [Lewis] was an assistant coach, so I had some experience with him…every coach has a different style. You know ’Lewie’ is a great teacher, he has a lot of good things to teach to defensemen, and it is always nice to have your head coach be a former defenseman." Defenseman, Jason York
More from Mr. Chara...
"I really enjoy being on the ice in every situation…I just want to be out there. I want to play and I want to win." Chara, on playing hockey.
"If you think about the worst case scenario you would never do [anything]. You just go and play. You have to do whatever it takes…if that means blocking shots or killing power plays or taking a hit to make a play you have to do it, because that is what it takes to win. You don’t think about getting hurt. You think about winning." Chara, on winning and sacrifice
"It is preparation for the season. You can’t be thinking, ’I won’t play preseason games because I am afraid to get hurt’…these preseason [games] are, I think, as important as the regular games. Because these games make you ready and they are very important [as far as regular season preparation]. You have to play and get used to the game tempo. You have to get used to each other, the system we play. So I think it is important to play exhibition games." Chara, on playing in the preseason
One more from Coach Lewis…
"The players all saw how it happened, who it happened against. And it effected them in a positive way and that’s nice to see that the message was sent and he’s [ok]." Lewis, on the bench reaction to Chara
The players playing in the exhibition game on Friday will practice at Ristuccia at 9:00 am. The players who are not playing will waiting until the second session at 10:00 am.
Before you head out to the rink, please call the media information line at 617.624.1910 each morning prior to leaving for practice to verify that day’s schedule.