BOSTON – The Boston Bruins shifted their 2013 training camp to TD Garden for Saturday and Sunday’s practice sessions, allowing the fans to get a glimpse of their beloved team before game action gets underway this coming week with a trio of preseason contests.
For that fact, former Boston University Terrier David Warsofsky (Marshfield, Mass.) may have been the most excited of the B’s up-and-coming prospects.
He bled black and gold as a child, remembering the opportunity to watch the legendary Ray Bourque on the ice on Causeway Street.
And now, it was his chance to shine at the National Hockey League level.
“It [will be] nice,” Warsofsky said of beginning the preseason schedule on the road in Montreal on Monday night. “Games are always fun and I think everyone looks forward to those. It definitely gives guys the chance to prove what they can do.
The Cushing Academy product is no stranger to skating on the Bruins’ home ice, having competed in numerous Beanpot and Hockey East Tournament games over his three collegiate years at nearby BU.
Although he has already seen a great deal of action at the Garden already, walking out the tunnel and onto a surface that has showed off many sporting greats does not get old.
“It’s awesome. I’ve said it since I got traded here (from St. Louis in 2010). Boston was my hometown team, and it was kind of a dream of mine to play for them. Even coming out here for training camp and seeing the fans, it’s definitely a special opportunity.”
“Just being from the area, it helps. Being comfortable in the surroundings. Guys are always asking you what they should do after the rink, but it’s definitely nice being from here.”
In addition to just simply skating on the Garden ice, Warsofsky had the opportunity to skate with some fellow Hockey East alums during training camp, and was paired with NHL veteran Johnny Boychuk for each of the first four practice sessions with Boston.
“There’s no doubt that confidence-wise it’s certainly a big thing,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said of pairing an older defenseman with a rising star. “I think it’s a big advantage for whoever ends up playing, and it certainly helps a guy develop. … There’s no doubt somebody that’s with him benefits from his presence.”
One of the aforementioned former collegiate foes is fellow blueliner Tommy Cross, who spent the 2012-13 season with Warsofsky in the American Hockey League, but wore a “C” as a senior on the other end of Commonwealth Avenue at Boston College.
“You see guys when you were playing against them at BC, they weren’t really your friends. But now, you play with them. You see guys from Miami, when we played them in the National Championship (in 2009). It’s just good to see familiar faces.”
The Battle of Commonwealth Avenue will never be lost on the pair of former rivals who now both don Black and Gold, but Warsofsky certainly appreciates the opportunity to don the colors of his hometown team.
Although his defense partner may change over time, the will to reach the NHL level for the first time - and officially live the dream - will not diminish.
Here are the lines used in Sunday’s second and final Boston open practice this preseason:
Group B (likely travel group to Montreal on Monday):
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla
Matt Fraser - Carl Soderberg - Craig Cunningham
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton
Anthony Camara - Ryan Spooner - Nick Johnson
Rob Flick - Alex Fallstrom - Tyler Randell
Zdeno Chara - Zach Trotman
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
Matt Bartkowski - Kevan Miller
Tommy Cross - Ben Youds
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Loui Eriksson
Jordan Caron - Chris Kelly - Reilly Smith
Matt Lindblad - Carter Camper - Seth Griffith
Justin Florek - Alexander Khokhlachev - Jared Knight
Jack Downing - Scott Campbell - Bobby Robins
Dennis Seidenberg - Dougie Hamilton
David Warsofsky - Johnny Boychuk
Joe Morrow - Chris Casto
Mike Moore - Steven Spinell
Rookie camp invitees Mickael Beauregard, Alex Cord, Jayden Hart, Jesse Lees, Wayne Simpson (Boxborough, Mass.) and Maxime Villemaire were each released from their Amateur Tryout Agreement/Professional Tryout Agreement following Sunday’s practice. Simpson is a Lawrence Academy product and was named Most Valuable Player as a senior this past season at Union College. … The Bruins will hold a quick open practice in Wilmington on Monday morning, before opening the preseason with the first of four games this week in the evening in Montreal. Members of Sunday’s Group B, including David Krejci, Milan Lucic, newcomer Jarome Iginla, Cross, and Zdeno Chara are likely to be part of the travel squad. … For fans in Boston, Monday night’s opening game from north of the border will be broadcast nationally on NHL Network, while 98.5 The Sports Hub will have the live radio call. … After traveling to First Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Md. to face Washington on Tuesday night, Boston will return to TD Garden for a home contest with new Atlantic Division foe Detroit two evenings later. Thursday’s game against the Red Wings will be streamed live on BostonBruins.com.