BRIGHTON – It’s been a summer brimming with anticipation for Bruins players and management alike with the prospect of moving into a new, state-of-the-art practice facility.
The Bruins contingent hosted Jimmy Vesey at their new Warrior Ice Arena home a couple of weeks ago and the B’s players christened the ice by kicking off their informal captain’s practices on Monday morning.
Torey Krug, David Krejci, Adam McQuaid, John-Michael Liles, Noel Acciari and Frank Vatrano all hit the ice to work with a local goaltender and went through skating drills for the hour-plus to get the blood pumping. Krejci left the ice after roughly 15 minutes as he recovers from left hip surgery, but was still left excited at the prospect of practicing in the new digs after spending his entire Bruins career with Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington as their practice home.
The arena doesn’t officially open until the Bruins and New Balance hold a grand opening on Sept. 8, but color several Bruins veterans impressed.
“It’s beautiful. It’s great. It’s a little bit different than Wilmington,” said Krejci. “You guys will get a chance to see it next week, but it’s pretty cool.”
The captain’s practices will continue in earnest with more Bruins players joining the group as the calendar gets closer to the start of training camp. The expectation is that all of the B’s skaters will be wholly impressed with the new facility.
Clearly, it’s got all the bells and whistles of a new rink, and the closer proximity is a bonus for Bruins players that these days live in and around Boston rather than in the distant suburbs.
There's even the distinct possibility in the not-so distant future that the Bruins could start holding game day morning skates at the practice facility rather than at the Garden. It's something already done in Montreal, where the Habs have a similar setup with their practice rink in Brossard, just outside of the city.
“It’s beautiful. For the guys that have been the scenes and doing all the work in Wilmington all of these years, it’s great for them to be a part of this and move into a new building,” said Krug. “I’m fortunate to be here and be a part of it. That’s exciting.”
Krug joked that being an early arriver at Warrior Arena doesn’t guarantee him one of the big lockers in the dressing room once training camp gets going: “I’m pretty sure Zee [captain Zdeno Chara] will kick me out of whatever stall I picked. It’s obviously exciting to be one of the first guys skating on this ice.”
FOXBORO -- Tom Brady's smile at the Gillette Stadium podium belied his reluctance to divulge any information about his plans for his four-week suspension. He was the feline pleasantly digesting the canary that the NFL had shoved down his throat.
Brady won't be allowed at the Patriots facilities, and he won't be allowed to be in contact with teammates or coaches for football-related matters. On Tuesday, in what will likely be his final meeting with reporters until after his suspension, Brady was asked what he'll do during his time away in order to remain sharp.
"We'll see," he said.
Would he plan on staying in the area?
"We'll see," he repeated.
Did he plan on telling members of the media exactly what he planned on doing?
"No," Brady said. "I don't. In case anyone else is in this situation in the future, I don't want to give away all my secrets."
Brady will gladly share his thoughts on his nutrition plan and deliver it to your doorstep for a couple hundred bucks, but workouts like the ones he performs on his own in the offseason -- or the ones he'll take on for most of September -- he generally keeps close to the vest.
Brady's business partner and friend Alex Guerrero, who along with Brady runs the TB12 Performance Center at Patriot Place, will be able to work with Brady during his time off. Guerrero is often on the Patriots sidelines or in the Patriots locker room, but he is not a team employee, meaning time with him would not violate the terms of Brady's suspension, an NFL spokesperson told CSN's Mike Giardi.
"That's nice of them," Brady said sarcastically.
"We've been working together for over 12 years now," Brady added. 'He's one of my best friends. We'll do what we always do. Work. We'll use all these days in the best way that's possible to stay prepared and stay sharp. I have ideas that I need to do. Based on the practices that we've had and the limited playing time that I've had. My goal is to come back and be the best I can be. Just like every other year. Just like every offseason, I'm gonna do the best I can do over these next however many days, 30 days or so, to do the same thing.
"I've got a good day of practice. I've tried to look at all these days of practice as ways to get better. I have access to the fields, and throwing to my receivers. Try to use those days the best that I can, just like I always would. I got another hopefully opportunity to play on Thursday night, be with the team Friday, and then try to do the best that I can over the next month."
His plans for the next month, however, will remain secret for now.
During our series discussing the 1986 Boston Celtics, we have sat down with many players from that championship, along with members of the media that were close to the team.
This week features a few of the opponents that were very familiar with the 1980’s Celtics - Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins, former Celtics coach (and Hawk) Doc Rivers, and Lakers great James Worthy.