BOSTON – I’m pretty sure that nobody — particularly the campers themselves — expected that the Bruins prospects would spend the majority of Day 1 of Development Camp 2012 at the beach.
But there they were on Thursday, just a couple hours removed from their first on-ice session of the summer, on a Boston beach running and jumping and exercising and boating and paddling and boating and paddling and boating.
After a two-year hiatus, the B’s brass again employed “The Program” to put the new-B’s through their paces boot camp style to begin the off-ice portion of their summertime stay and work on their mental toughness.
But even prior to the club hitting their buses for the short trip south from Wilmington, Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney explained that what happened away from the B’s practice ice was just as important as what the club witnessed on the Ristuccia Memorial Arena ice.
“Yeah and I’ve had discussions with other teams that are not even going on the ice, so don’t think in the back of my head that I don’t turn around and say, ‘Well is it working for them?’” said Sweeney. “I think you always have to do that and take the input from your staff.”
And that staff, from General Manager Peter Chiarelli on down was in attendance in Dorchester, as the B’s worked on becoming better teammates and leaders.
“The best part about this camp is that everybody in the organization really chips in and everybody pulls their weight in terms of…the simplest of things of picking up lunch to the most important thing of the guys running the on-ice sessions or [John] Whitesides running the off-ice,” said Sweeney. “I love that aspect of this camp, and I think the kids coming out of it feel that and they feel comfortable in that regard.
“Off the ice, we’ve run different environments of team-building things and…[we try] to stretch them and take them outside a comfort zone.”
Despite being completely out of their comfort zone, the B’s performed admirably in the hot sun and beyond building the requisite team toughness necessary for anyone wearing Black & Gold, the youngest Bruins keep their cool.
As the campers lay on the sand in rows, performing scissor kicks, bridges and pushups, you could hear the players encouraging each other and, in many ways, challenging the veteran hockey coach and former Navy Seal putting them through their paces.
“How you feeling Spoons,” asked well-known joker Zane Gothberg of Ryan Spooner, mid-drill.
“Just fine,” answered Spooner, who asked with a smile, “how YOU feelin Zaner?”
“Faaaaaaaaantastic!” laughed Gothberg.
Let’s hope they feel the same tomorrow morning as they begin a double session of on-ice work.