Day two of Bruins training camp is in the books. There were a few tweaks here and there but it was yesterday’s groupings. The two sessions flip-flopped times but the biggest changes came via switching jerseys from white to black or vice versa, like Matt Grzelcyk and Connor Clifton jumping from team white to team black in the 10 am session and John Moore and Noah Dorey doing the opposite in the latter one. Those were only cosmetic changes.
What impressed me the most from today’s session was the play of Jesper Froden, the 27-year-old Swede who’s been skating primarily on the wing of the Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand line the last two days. The transition from David Pastrnak to Froden was seamless. He reads the dynamic duo well and gets into a position to make plays.
Not that two practices make a new “perfection line” (I do hate that nickname) but it bodes well for the team if Pastrnak can build a solid relationship playing with Jakub Lauko and continue to produce.
Head Coach Bruce Cassidy was asked if he sees Froden contributing to the team this season.
“I do,” said Cassidy emphatically. “I think he’s a smart player. He reads off two elite players and hasn’t slowed them down at all. In fact, he looks very well there.”
The feedback from the players has been positive as well.
“What I’m hearing from our guys is ‘hey this kid’s pretty good,’ and that’s when you know,” said Cassidy. “The eye test is there, but feedback is better from the line-mates that have been in the league.”
“I’m not going to anoint him into our line-up or anything like that,” added the fifth-year bench boss. “He’s here to make progress and build every day and he’s done that. So yes, he’s been good so far.”
I’m still so impressed by the continuing strong play from Tomas Nosek. The big Czech Republic forward had all his assets on display. His speed to beat defenders to the puck and his body to ward off the contact from anyone.
Cassidy was asked what stood out about him so far. He called out what I wrote yesterday.
“Pace, when you think of a bigger man and down the line-up, I think he gets around the ice well,” said Cassidy. “He just seems like that guy when his name is called he’s going to play, help the team win.”
I think he’s going to make an impact on whatever line he ends up playing on. Today he skated again with Trent Frederic and Curtis Lazar. Frederic was sniping shots past all three of the goalies in drills. Hopefully, the former Wisconsin Badger gets more of an opportunity to showcase that side of his game this year. This trio is looking comfortable playing together so far.
After practice, Nosek was asked about countryman David Krejci‘s decision to return home to play in the Czech Extraliga. Nosek credited playing with the former Bruin for Pardubice during the NHL Lockout of 2012-13 as a turning point in his career.
“Last lockout, he played with me,” said Nosek. “I got a chance to know him. It was actually the first time I realized I needed to start working out more to get to the NHL level. So that season helped me a lot. So I have to say thank you to David for showing me how good he was back then.”
Obviously, the loss of Krejci is a good-sized void to fill. One way the team addressed that void was in signing veteran forward Nick Foligno. The Buffalo, NY native has 14 seasons under his belt and almost 500 points in just under 1000 games. Not as prolific as Krejci, the 6′-0″ forward is versatile enough to play all three forward positions, which is a tremendous benefit for this Bruins team offensively.
After only two days of camp, the former captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets has already drawn high praise from his new teammates and coach.
Foligno met with the media today after practice. It was apparent why he is a good fit for the Bruins. He’s out-going, witty, and is comfortable with whatever the team asks of him.
“The guys have been great. I think, for me, knowing how playing this long you just have to jump in with two feet,” said Foligno. “They’ve allowed me to do that. They obviously have a well-talked-about leadership group, but then the rest of the guys as well. They have been outstanding.”
“It’s a good culture here. It’s one of the things that drew me to this place. It’s allowed me to be myself and I’m having a lot of fun right now,” added Foligno.
“I’ve become really comfortable wherever I’m needed to play,” Foligno said. “As you go along in this league you just realize wherever you’re going to make the most impact is where you want to play. I’ve worked hard at that, to be honest with you. To be reliable wherever they put me and that’s something I take pride in. It’s not an easy thing, you have to be able to read and react and think the game just as well as you can move out there.”
Over the next few days, the team will be whittled down. The first to go will be the guys going back to juniors then the Providence guys. Some of those bubble guys that could shuttle back and forth between the Bruins and the farm team will get the chance to show what they can do in a game on Sunday and/or Tuesday in Washington D.C. and New York City.