Greetings from chilly Wilmington! I braved the cold today to watch the Bruins practice before they jet off for their West Coast series tomorrow morning.
Gone were the playful, light-hearted Bruins who usually take to the practice ice. This team was physical, determined, and showed more desperation than they have exhibited during the past few games. Practice consisted mostly of game-situation drills and short scrimmages; emphasizing puck possession, capitalizing on (and subsequently, recovering from) turnovers, and maintaining pressure into the corners. Their intensity was rather refreshing, after their lackluster efforts coming into today. As Blake Wheeler said earlier this week, “We have to quit treating this like it’s a privilege and a right of ours to come and play in front of 18,000 people every night. And start playing like it’s the most important thing to us. For whatever reason, I think we lost sight of that night in and night out.” Hopefully this attitude is shared with his teammates and they can start turning things around.
Byron Bitz was dressed and joined the team, without signs of injury or the back pain that has kept him out of the lineup as of late.
Most noticeable was the change in offensive lines. Today saw lines of Lucic, Bégin, Whitfield; Wheeler, Krejci, Ryder; Thornton, Paille, Sobotka; and Sturm, Recchi, Satan. Perhaps this shake-up is something that the Bruins need to regain their composure and recover from missing so many of their major play-makers. Let’s hope so.
The serious air of purpose remained until the players began their cool-down. Thornton led the stretches, lightening the mood as he did so. Afterwards, some of the senior Bruins left the ice, and the young guns were left to goof off. Wheeler, Krejci and Sobotka were last to hit the showers, and entertained themselves by playing baseball while rounding up the pucks.
And of course, it wouldn’t be Wilmington without the fans. Today’s included a girl who shouted at the players that they were “cute,” made signs reinforcing this and held them to the glass. Honey, Shawn Thornton may have laughed when you held up your sign, but he was laughing at YOU and shaking his head. They’re at work; this is their job. If you thought a video store clerk was hot, would you shout at him and wave signs around while he shelved DVDs? On second thought, don’t answer that. Even the men were at it today, as one of them sniped Sobotka’s attempt to give me his stick (that’s what she said?). This was the same guy who loudly asked “Where’s Maaahk Savaahd?” and banged on the glass as if he were at the zoo. At least Sobotka broke his stick before handing it to the guy, and gave me an apologetic shrug. It’s ok Vlado, we’re still BFFs.
Until next time,
Tagged: Blake Wheeler, Boston, Boston Bruins, Bruins, Byron Bitz, Daniel Paille, David Krejci, Marco Sturn, Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder, Milan Lucic, Miro Satan, Ristuccia, Shawn Thornton, Steve Begin, SweetCaroline04, Vladimir Sobotka