BOSTON — While Zdeno Chara, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin and the Bruins coaching staff were busy participating in all the activities involved in All-Star Weekend up in Ottawa, the rest of the Bruins got in some rare rest and recreation during their recent midseason break.
Some took advantage of the chance to escape the winter weather for some fun in the sun, while at least one Bruin took the opportunity to revisit a place of historical significance to the sport of the hockey and more personal memories for the Bruins.
Patrice Bergeron, who probably should have been invited to Ottawa based on the stellar season he has put together so far, instead opted to get a second look at the site of the famed 1980 Miracle on Ice.
"I actually went to Lake Placid and just relaxed over there," Bergeron said. "It was a lot of fun."
Lake Placid was where Team USA pulled off one of the great upsets in sports history, beating the heavily favored Soviets en route to an improbable gold medal in the Olympic Games. It was also where the Bruins went to escape the spotlight of the Montreal media between Games 3 and 4 against the Habs last spring, as the Bruins dug out of an 0-2 series hole and began their march to the Cup. As a Canadian, Team USA's triumph doesn't resonate as strongly with Bergeron, but the memories from last spring were certainly worth revisiting.
"It is special, obviously not as special as it is for Americans," Bergeron said. "But it was special for us last year to come down there for two days for a little break in between the games in Montreal. It seemed to help us stay focused, so it was nice for me to go back."
Bergeron said he went by the Olympic rink where the Bruins practiced but did not go in. Instead, he relaxed with some skating outdoors on a nearby pond and took some time to explore the town.
"Last year was kind of quick," Bergeron said. "This year was more relaxing. I had more time to really take advantage of what's going on there. Just skating, relaxing, doing some activities in the winter that you don't usually get a chance to do when you're playing hockey. So I think it was a lot of fun."
Most of Bergeron's teammates didn't need to bother packing their skates for their getaways. Linemate Brad Marchand opted for some fun down south, heading to Orlando and spending his days off at Disney World and as many of the surrounding themes parks as he could squeeze in during his time off.
"I went away from a bit," Marchand said. "Had to get somewhere warm and relax for a bit. It was nice."
Marchand enjoyed his time with Mickey and Co., but was also eager to get back to the rink.
"When you step away from the game for a bit, you're excited to get back and play again," Marchand said. "That's how we're feeling right now. The guys are excited, so it's good."
Like Marchand, Milan Lucic opted for a warmer climate, taking his talents to South Beach during his time off as he enjoyed the vacation he couldn't take this offseason because of the Bruins' long playoff run and his nasal surgery after the season.
"I went down to South Beach," Lucic said. "Enjoyed some sunshine, as you can tell I have a little bit of a tan going. The reasoning for that was because I had surgery after the season and didn't have the chance to go anywhere after last season. After every season I've always gone somewhere to kind of lay back and enjoy the sunshine. I didn't have the chance to do that after this season, so we had more than enough time to do that this week."
Lucic felt it was just enough time to get his body and mind ready for what will be a grueling stretch run as the schedule picks up in the final months of the season.
"It was good to get a couple days off," Lucic said. "It's been a tough season so far and it's only going to get tougher from here on in if you look at our schedule with all the games coming up in February and March. So it was nice to have those days off to kind of relax and unwind and get your mind off hockey.
"For me, I always like to do something where I just kind of get rested up," Lucic added. "It's worked me in the past and hopefully it's going to work this year."