Bruins players at minor-league camp happy to be back

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Bruins players at minor-league camp happy to be back

NORTH SMITHFIELD, RI The first official day of training camp is in the books with the Providence Bruins, as Group B wrapped up their skating session at the Rhode Island Sports Center on Friday afternoon.

Group B included Chris Bourque, Ryan Spooner and Matt Bartkowski, among others, and they were enthusiastic about being out on the ice even if it wasnt quite the NHL training camp theyd originally envisioned. In all, 34 skaters reported to Providence for the first day of training camp, including those with NHL experience like Bourque, Bartkowski, Jordan Caron, Max Sauve, Garnet Exelby, Christian Hanson, Carter Camper, Trent Whitfield and Torey Krug.

It felt a little strange to the players starting late and without the regular Bs roster, but they were happy to be back on the ice.

Usually around this time youre in the middle of the exhibition games in an NHL training camp, said Bourque, who undoubtedly would be getting ready for back-to-back games in Saskatoon and Winnipeg right now if the NHL exhibition season hadnt been scrapped. But its also nice to get things started here, and to meet all the guys and get the fitness testing done.

Finally getting on the ice feels good, and now were back in the swing of things.

For the Bruins coaching staff -- and front office members like Peter Chiarelli, Don Sweeney and Jim Benning -- it was a chance to finally get out of the house and evaluate their players rather than sitting and waiting for the NHL lockout to be over.

So just how difficult has it been for Chiarelli to sit, watch, and wait while his training camp and preseason schedule have fallen victim to the lockout thats now 13 days and counting?

You should ask my wife that . . . shes ready to kick me out of the house," said the Bruins' general manager. "I miss it. Its a really exciting time to see everybody competing for jobs and to see the fruit of their labor after working hard all summer. I miss it and hope to see it soon.

Its also exciting to watch hockey again. For the last 20 years of my life at every training camp it seems like you miss it. This is obviously a little different setting, but the guys are energetic. Well have some scrimmages on the weekend well be back at it.

Its not quite NHL hockey, obviously, but the Providence Bruins and the AHL will have to be enough until the NHL and NHLPA can finally secure some middle ground for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Bruins sign restricted free agent Acciari to two-year deal

Bruins sign restricted free agent Acciari to two-year deal

The Bruins have locked up a potential fourth-line piece for next season at a bargain basement price.

The B's signed Rhode Island native and Providence College alum Noel Acciari, a restricted free agent, to a two-year deal worth $1.45 million, a contract that breaks down to a very affordable $725,000 cap hit for each of the next two seasons. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound bowling ball of a forward finished with two goals and five points in 29 games for the Bruins last season, and has appeared in 48 games at the NHL level over the last two seasons in Boston. It was also encouraging that Acciari seemed to be tapping a bit more into his offense toward the end of the season, and was building some confidence for whatever modest offense he’ll end up bringing to the NHL table once he’s reached his potential ceiling as a player.

Clearly the two-year, one-way deal portends that Acciari, 25, will be counted on as a high energy, hard-hitting fourth-line player who does a good job of aggravating opponents while playing at full tilt. The real question is whether his body can hold up with his maximum effort style of playing, and whether he can avoid serious injuries with some of the car-crash level of violence he puts in his hitting.

Acciari has battled several different injuries over the last couple of seasons, but managed to be healthy enough to log time in the playoffs for both Boston and the P-Bruins.

Either way it’s a low-risk, affordable contract for the Bruins for a young player who, if healthy, will be a large piece on their fourth line as a diligent worker and excellent teammate. So that’s a good proactive signing for Don Sweeney as he continues to work on a more complicated contract for a higher profile player like David Pastrnak.

Morning Skate: Not a dry eye as Canucks draftee gets the call

Morning Skate: Not a dry eye as Canucks draftee gets the call

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while getting ready to check out GLOW on Netflix.

*This video of a Vancouver Canucks draft pick tearing up while watching the video of his brother celebrating him getting picked is all that is right with the NHL Draft.  

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Adrian Dater has Avs first-round pick Cale Makar talking about his hockey background, and why it doesn’t matter.

*The Calgary Flames are excited about their prospects and the pieces they were able to acquire last weekend.

*The Washington Capitals have re-signed Brett Connolly for a couple of years at short money and he appears to have found a home in DC.

*The Chicago Blackhawks are still in talks with Marian Hossa about how to resolve his contract and the allergic skin condition that might have prematurely ended his hockey career.

*Will the Tampa Bay sports go through a dry spell when it comes to Hall of Fame athletes now that former Lighting forward Dave Andreychuk has been called to the Hockey Hall?

*It looks like young Pierre Luc Dubois will be put in a position to contribute with the Columbus Blue Jackets this season.

*Alex Prewitt has a preview of the NHL free agency period and the stress levels that many players go through in it.

*For something completely different: This video of Drake and Will Ferrell hoop handshakes was pretty solid, and funny.