|Stephane Yelle |
New faces at captain's practice today included Matt Hunwick, Vladimir Sobotka and Mikko Lehotonen (who did not skate).
When I got there the team was split into two groups and was holding a scrimmage. Tim Thomas
, Manny Fernandez and Tuukka Rask
were in goal.
One highlight of the day was seeing Patrice Bergeron
drive the net -- granted, there were no opposing players trying to hit him, but he powered through the contact that was there.
The other highlight was the continued integration of Stephane Yelle into the Boston Bruins culture.
"It's been good," said Yelle. "I had the chance to skate three days last week and I am starting to know the guys a little more, so the transition is getting easier.
Yelle reiterated how pleased he was to be a member of the Boston Bruins.
"You know, I played with Chuck and Andy, and I’ve followed them for the last couple of years since they’ve been here,” he said. “And I thought that last year, in the playoffs against Montreal, was really exciting and I wanted to get a chance to be a part of this team with a lot of tradition.
“To get to play in the Northeast Division, for me being from Ottawa, is pretty special, too.”
And yes, Yelle has also spoken to the team about their plans for 2008-09.
“When I first signed here I talked to Claude (Julien) and he told me what his expectations were,” said Stephane. “But since I’ve been here, I’ve been focused on getting settled and getting to know the players more than any other stuff.”
Obviously, Yelle understands his role – everyone knows his abilities on face offs, the PK and his prowess as a defensive forward – and there will be plenty of time to get acclimated to the Bruins systems.
For now, however, Stephane is enjoying getting to know his new home and his new team.
“It’s been great so far,” said Yelle. “As far as fitting in, the first little while is a little tough especially when you’ve been on a team for a long time like I was in Calgary.
“You get settled and to go to a new team and have new teammates – there is a transition.
“But hopefully I’ll get over that pretty quickly, fit in with the guys and help out on the ice,” he said.
Captain’s practices have helped.
“I think with (most) of the guys here, and with me being a new player, it makes it easier to get to know the guys before camp starts,” said Yelle. “If it were ten years ago, I’d probably have met five or six guys and would meet the rest of the guys at training camp.
“This makes the transition a little easier.”Thank you, Jack…
My hockey-writing colleagues around the city (and around the world) have lost a beloved friend and mentor.
Professor Jack Falla, who taught several generations of sportswriters at Boston University’s College of Communication, passed away early Sunday morning.
I share the sentiments of my friend and fellow BU alum, Fluto Shinzawa of The Boston Globe
, who today wrote in his Boston.com Bruins Blog:He helped thousands of his students. He touched even more of his readers
Jack had a gigantic life. What's so crushing is that he had so much more to give.
We’ll miss you Professor Falla, and Thank you.
|Training Camp, 2007 |
Welcome to the first week of Training Camp 2008, folks.
Although the veterans are not scheduled to officially hit the ice (for an optional) until Friday at 1 p.m., something tells me that the captain’s practices will continue in earnest throughout the week and that I’ll have at least some news to report every day.
Tomorrow, the first official rookie practice will occur at 1 p.m.
It’s hard to believe that this time next week I will be at a practice in Wilmington en route
to a early afternoon flight to Halifax. Game Eight (or the first exhibition with the Habs) will be at 6 p.m. Boston time.
The rest of this and next week should be a blur until it slows down considerably with a bus ride to northern Vermont.
That being said, I really can’t wait for camp to begin. One of my personal highlights will be the rookie game versus the New York Islanders youngsters at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Given a little luck internet wise, this should be my first in game blog of 2008-09 and hopefully will give those of you following along at work at least a little insight into what the new B’s are doing down in Connecticut.
By the way, for those of you who might have missed last years rookie game (or coverage), the 2007 edition was the coming out party for one Milan Lucic
. You can read about that game here
As far as Milan and the rest of the veterans all systems look to be “go” for a quick start.
Last week, Marc Savard
talked about the end of the summer and his hopes for the coming campaign.
“I missed a couple of days with a bit of a head cold, but I am feeling good and feeling ready to go,” said Savard. “My back is all healed up after feeling a little bit of pain over the summer.
“A little bit early on…I was on some anti-inflammatory meds and when I went off of those I was pretty sore for a while.
“Besides that, I feel great and I like the looks of our team and I can’t wait to get going,” he said.
Savard reiterated that he is healthy and has no lingering issues from last season’s back injury.
“I had to take a couple of weeks off (from golf) at the start of the summer, get some rest and make sure I was 100%,” he said. “But the golf game was pretty good towards the middle of the summer [laughing] and I felt really well.”
Marc was clear that he and the rest of the Bruins look toward the coming season, determined to improve and push farther into the playoffs.
“Obviously, you want to improve on what you did last year, I think that will be our main goal,” said Savard. “Right now, we have to be excited about the season and get off to a good start (especially because) we have a tough trip to start the year again.
“But getting guys back like Bergy – he’s like signing the number one free agent this year -- and picking up Michael Ryder and the other faces we added was important.
“Stephane Yelle is a huge addition, especially on the penalty kill, where we’ve lacked over the last couple of years, as is getting Manny back healthy. So, everybody is excited and a lot of guys are early to prove that and I can’t wait to get going.”