BOSTON — It was a rude awakening.
The Bruins thought they were catching a break from the grind of the NHL schedule with a three-day layoff between games this week.
But for a handful of Bruins, it was anything but a leisurely morning at the Garden on Thursday when they arrived for practice to find power skating guru Besa Tsintsadze waiting for them. Adam McQuaid, Jordan Caron and Steven Kampfer were among the Bruins who were put through their paces by Tsintsadze before the main practice got under way.
"We weren't expecting him today," McQuaid said. "You can see how quick he is, and trying to work on your speed and your turns is an important part of the game and something you can always improve on."
A native of the Republic of Georgia with a background in figure skating as well as hockey, Tsintsadze worked with the club's prospects during the summer's development camp and has also provided instruction to the veterans as well.
"That's the second time we've worked with him," McQuaid said. "Stuff like that you need to do repetitively. You can't just do it once a month. You need to do it as often as you can. Some of the drills can be tough, but when you start feeling yourself getting better and more comfortable it's a pretty good feeling."
Caron was particularly appreciative of the opportunity, as he has admitted that his skating is the area of his game he is trying hardest to improve.
"It's always good to work on that kind of stuff," Caron said. "You look at guys like [Sidney] Crosby, he's so good in the corners with the way he turns and stuff like that. Everybody needs that, especially in the corners and around the net, so I think it's going to help my game a lot."
Tsintsadze is known for devising some unique and challenging drills for his pupils, so what was the toughest part of Thursday's pre-practice workout?
"I think the one where you had to push on your edges and then cross over a few times," Caron said. "You're doing a lot of back and forth, so I think that was the hardest one."
McQuaid had a simpler answer to that question.
"They're all pretty tough because you're trying to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and beyond your limits," McQuaid said. "They try to make them all difficult.