I’ve been busy this weekend too–yesterday I helped my friend Amanda move from one apartment to another (she’s the one who got me into hockey!) and today I went to IKEA, which is always an adventure in and of itself, and there was a guy there who kind of looked like Niklas Hjalmarsson. But I digress. Anyway, I have been following developments from Bruins training camp and things have been pretty good so far! Yesterday Coach Julien used an interesting way to work out his entire roster: he split them in half, attiring them in either black or white jerseys, and had half of them go at 10 am and the other half at noon. Among the early birds were Shawn Thornton, Tim Thomas and Patrice Bergeron; the noon crew included Zdeno Chara, Brad Marchand (took you long enough to resign there, Marshmont) and recent draft pick Dougie Hamilton. He wanted to mix the veterans with the new blood so the older guys could impart wisdom on the new guys and so it wouldn’t be so lopsided.
Health watch: Nathan Horton is healthy. He’s said for a while now that he’s feeling completely fine after the dirty hit he took during the Cup finals and now he’s gotten the official green light after Friday’s physicals. Tuukka Rask is healthy too following some offseason knee surgery. He reports no pain, but he’s still working on his range of motion, and went through his on-ice session without problems. Finally, thankfully, Thomas is feeling good too–compare this to when he had to have his hip surgery last year. I feel like we have a pretty solid goaltending tandem prepped and ready.
But on the other side of the coin, Marc Savard was basically a non-issue. The team has come to the sad realization that he just cannot play at all this season and they’re trying to work to fill the hole he leaves.
Goalie watch: As for the goalie duo and their masks, it seems like Thomas is sticking with his intricate grey and white mask from last season, which features his initials, a replica of a medallion he likes to wear, and on the backplate some bear paws with huge claws and some very American symbols: the Stars and Stripes, the coiled snake and the “Don’t Tread on Me” saying from the Gadsden flag, which before it was co-opted by Tea Partiers was the first battle flag ever used by the United States Marine Corps. Boston’s historical significance as a huge part of the American Revolution is probably the inspiration for this. We haven’t seen all of Rask’s new mask yet, but Carol at I Love Goalies has some sneak peeks and Tuuk is kind of going for the same theme as last year, but slightly reimagined. Again his last name is shown in sparkling letters on the chin and the Finnish flag is still on the backplate, although now it’s enlarged. Since Tuukka is a huge Metallica fan (he also likes to play drums!), his first name is on the backplate too, styled in the classic Metallica name font. Goalie masks are so cool.
Newest heartthrob: I cannot stop hearing about draft pick and baby (well, by comparison to elder statesmen like Thomas and Chara) 18-year-old Alexander Khokhlachev! He was paired up with Thornton during yesterday’s practices, he played in the rookie games with the Islanders and to me he kind of looks like Anton Yelchin as Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot.
It’ll be exciting to see this young fella come into his own. (Also I love how his last name barely fits on the backs of jerseys.)
Latent leadership: Because Chara was in Slovakia paying his respects for Pavol Demitra, who passed away in the devastating Lokomotiv plane crash, he wasn’t around on Friday to take care of the pre-camp media blitz. So who stepped up to the mikes and voice recorders?
I’m thinking someday, after Zee hangs up his gigantic skates, Bergy could be a very able captain. He certainly has enough experience with the Bs to do the job–he’s their longest-tenured player. I don’t know, just something to contemplate.
My one gripe is that the Bruins website has not put up enough photos to satisfy my hunger for camp images. There are only 12 from yesterday and none from today yet. Maybe photographers who went are still editing their photos. I want more!
PS: NHL.com has a “Super Saturday” blog chronicling little stories from supposedly all 30 training camps. I do wish they’d have some sort of searchable category menu so one could choose to look at only certain teams’ coverage instead of having to dig for it! (Oh, something like our category menu? Why yes indeed.) It also seems like there’s quite a lot of coverage of certain teams, but little to none for others. For example, I saw nothing from Minnesota, Nashville, Tampa Bay, Florida, Carolina, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Jose, Detroit or Columbus at the very least. So your mileage may vary.