Just when you thought the excitement of Lord Stanley had finally settled down, that “Dirty Water” Boston loves so much is being stirred back up and frozen again. Oh, Boston, you’re my home.
The hometown hockey heroes are beginning to arrive back into town for what many hope will be another promising season, taking the ice for captain’s practices up at Ristuccia. While this is often a signal that the season is starting, many of the Bruins’ faithful won’t consider the season a go until the banner is raised into the rafters on October 6th and Causeway Street is again flooded with black and gold.
In between celebrating with the Cup, the Bruins have been training hard all summer, and the results of all that work will be seen when they hit the ice for veteran’s camp early next week. The anticipation to see fan favorites Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton is palpable, but it’s worth noting that the Cup run raised the profiles of previously lesser-known contributors like Brad Marchand and David Krejci to new heights. Of course, there’s always turnover, and four important Bruins from the scintillating Cup run won’t be back:
- Mark Recchi, who retired on a high note after Game 7 of the Finals.
- Michael Ryder, who will be spending the upcoming season with the Dallas Stars.
- Tomas Kaberle will instead be plying his defensive skills for the Carolina Hurricanes.
- Marc Savard, who won’t play due to the repercussions of his concussion sustained last season.
As many do, each of these players brought something to the often magnetic Bruins roster this past season. Big skates to fill? Absolutely.
With minimal activity on the roster front this summer, it’s safe to say that there are familiar faces aplenty. But with the old, comes the new. The new being the handful of days before veteran’s camp when the rookies take to the ice to show their strides, checks, snapshots and speed. Rookie camp is the few days where friends and past teammates battle each other for coveted spots on the NHL roster.
Veterans’ camp is exciting, but it’s predictable because the talent is largely unchanged. At this point, everyone knows what to expect from the likes of Bergeron, Recchi and Thomas. Perhaps we’ve even become a bit spoiled, because the quality of their play has been so consistently excellent. But rookie camp showcases new talent to keep the black and gold growing. The excitement of seeing a perhaps unknown player or even a buzzed about one shoot up the ice and being able to think to yourself that he would fit in perfectly on the first, second, third or even fourth line might just be the best part of the pre-season.
The pool is large in both size and statistics with this years rookies, and whether they make the big club or hone their skills with Providence, the chance to see any of these players in action is well worth it. Perhaps they weren’t on the roster for that exhilarating Game 7 in Vancouver, but these young guns will all be fighting hard to bring the Cup back to Boston in the coming years. Rookie camp runs through this weekend and early next week at Ristuccia before veteran’s camp opens up next week.
It might not be a playoff game, but nothing’s better than seeing your team or its future stars take to the ice to kick off September!