By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON A rare off-day practice at TD Garden for the Bruins Friday afternoon got a little moreinteresting whenbigright wingerNathan Horton decided to wake up the sleepy affair with a little nastiness.Horton started throwing bodies around during 5-on-5 battle drills at the end of the hour-long sessionwith his line facing off against Patrice Bergerons line at practice. Its pretty clear both lines are making their claims about where the bulk of ice time should go once the postseason dance begins. Horton drilled Bergeron in the corner with a punishing hit that was a little above and beyond the intensitynorm at practice, and it caused both Bergeron and Mark Recchi to both hit the ice as a result of the body check'safter-shock.Both Bergeron and Recchi appeareda little stunned at Hortons surprise helping of mean, but it plays right into the snarl the B'sright winger has been playing with over the last month of the regular season. Different players get ready for the postseason in different ways, and this is just another piece of evidence that there wont be too many smiles on the ice from Horton once hisfirst Stanley Cup playoff experiencegets going.Horton later smacked into Dennis Seidenberg in the corner to perhaps show that the first car crash wasnt by accident, and it immediately sparked up the tempo and intensity of a practice sessionbetween games against the Leafs and Thrashers.
David Krejci laughed when asked about the incident, but indicated there was a purpose to it. It is what it is, said Krejci. Just change it up a little bit, I guess. It was nothing personal or anything. The practice was a little sleepy, I guess, and the physical game woke us up a bit and the practice was way better.Lots of people are going through different emotions. As long as when the playoffs come everybody is on the same page and theyre feeling comfortable with themselves thats what everybody wants.Interestingly enough, Horton also approached Bergeron in the dressing room following practice to make sure there were no hard feelings stemming from their collision, and the Bs center certainly doesnt have any issues with a competitive practice ramping up toward the postseason.Its a part of the game, right, said Bergeron. Thats the way its going to be in games. If you bring the intensity and emotion that you had in practice then everything will be fine. It was intense and I was the one on the receiving end, I guess. You need to get the puck out, and thats how you get the puck back, I guess. I was a little surprised. I wasnt expecting it necessarily, but its all good. Zdeno Chara was again missing from the on-ice portion of Bruins practice after the team gathered for the team picture, but Julien said his captain would be in the lineup against the Thrashers on Saturday afternoon. No decision has been made on Shane Hnidy for Saturdays game against the Thrashers, but Hnidy did say hed like to play more than one or two games if possible to get ready for the playoffs.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
The Bruins’ new practice facility has been years in the making and they will finally get to officially open the doors to Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton next month.
The B’s players will start informal captain’s practice skates at the new facility on the New Balance property in these final days of August, but the team announced on Friday that the new facility will be officially opened to the public on Thursday, Sept. 8.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs, team president Cam Neely, general manager Don Sweeney and a number of players will be on hand for the opening ceremony and ensuing open house for the media. Also planning to attend from New Balance will be Owner and Chairman Jim Davis and NB Development Group LLC Managing Director Jim Halliday, along with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo.
Following the formal portion of the event, Warrior Ice Arena will host the “Boston Youth All-Star Game featuring Bruins Alumni” which will feature local squirt players from the Boston communities of Allston-Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Hyde Park, South Boston and West Roxbury mixed in with members of the Bruins alumni.
The Youth All-Stars will team with Bruins alumni and they will play the first official game before the ice is turned over to the current Bruins players for their training camp later in the month.
The Warrior Ice Arena gets its name from the Warrior brand of hockey equipment that is now a division of New Balance and comes with a 79-foot high Warrior hockey stick that greets visitors at the front entrance doors.
Warrior Ice Arena will be the B’s new and permanent practice home after the Bruins spent 25-plus years practicing in the suburbs of Boston at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while finally catching up on “The Man in the High Tower” on Amazon.
*The Coyotes and Panthers executed a trade sending Dave Bolland to Arizona, and it’s not exactly great news for Gary Bettman with Arizona continuing to take on a lot of dead money.
*Alex Pietrangelo was appropriately humbled to be named the 21st captain in the history of the St. Louis Blues.
*The Colorado Avalanche have a new head coach, and his name is Jared Bednar, who it is said will get the players to play hard for him.
*The footage of somebody in full goalie equipment running away from a burglary scene is something out of a movie.
*The New York Rangers can never have enough depth, and that’s why they added Brandon Pirri to the mix on Thursday.
*PHT writer Cam Tucker says Lawson Crouse brings the total package in the trade from Florida to Arizona, and he also brings a player that can take a hell of a hit as he was the guy that got rocked by Charlie McAvoy at the World Junior Showcase earlier this month.
*It’s only 15 days until the US National Team Development Program gets going with their 2016-17 schedule: here it is in full.
*For something completely different: can you see David Ortiz’s face in this corn maze? This could be like an ink blot test.