WILMINGTON, Mass. — The first on-ice session today during the Boston Bruins’ Third Annual Development Camp at Ristuccia Arena was innocent enough.
The players went through drills similar to the ones the NHL squad goes through most mornings — odd-man rushes, 1-on-1s, some battle drills. But after a brief break to clean the ice, the heat was turned up a notch. Bruins Director of Hockey Operations Don Sweeney and power skating expert John McLean put the troops through close to an hour of drills, which included such acts as skating on one leg and hopping on one leg. It was painful on the groins just to watch it, let alone do it.
“The power skating I haven’t done in a long time,” said Bruins ’09 fourth-round pick Lane MacDermid. “So it was pretty tough. You don’t really work on that stuff all the time. It was definitely good to get a feel for what they’re expecting with your skating.”
Sweeney was content with the performance of the 19 skaters (the goalies were exempt) during the drills.
“We knocked the rust off, probably a little bit. It was a really good day,” he said. “Staring at two hours of ice time for the first time, for some guys that haven’t been on the ice for a while, now the kids have. Again, just getting comfort and familiarity with our coaching staff and what they expect out of each drill and breaking it down a little more with the power skating to dive into the technique a little bit … again, working on stuff, as I’ve said all along, things they might not be comfortable with.”
Sweeney explained the need to incorporate power skating in the camp this way:
“It’s something that I think everybody can improve on. Skating is so paramount in the game today, to get point A to point B, to be efficient at it – be it big, small, it doesn’t matter. D have to be able to retrieve pucks and pivot and go get it. Forwards have to be able to cut and get back to the traffic areas, be more efficient at it. And we saw, to dial it down, a lot of people don’t even know there are four edges you have to work with. The inside and outside, but on each leg, and I’ll be first to admit there’s always one leg that’s better than the other. It’s easy to find that when we dial it down like we did today.”
While the skaters all learned a thing or two about how to improve their skating, the netminders were kind of glad to be excluded from the action.
“Looking over at them, some of them looked a little awkward,” said ’08 third-round pick Michael Hutchinson, who along with the two other goaltenders went through some shooting drills at the opposite end of the rink. “So I was pretty happy I didn’t have to try to do that.”
•Free agent signee Yannick Riendeau, who had offseason shoulder surgery, took some laps after the Zamboni was done and then was helping the goaltenders do their drills with some shots on net.