That was the new reality facing the 24 prospects on hand for the start
of the Bruins’ rookie camp on Sunday. Some have been through this
before, but for many, it was a rude awakening from the far more jovial
development camp that was held in July.
“Everyone’s competing, it’s all business,” said forward Jared Knight, a second-round pick in this June’s draft. “The development camp was more of a meet-and-greet, make friends and get to know everybody’s name. Here it’s a job. People are fighting for their families and making money and all that.”
The early returns from the fitness training and first two on-ice sessions of the opening day were mixed.
“I thought they were a little sketchy at first,” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. “That’s always the case. They had all their testing [Sunday] morning. They had their run test, which they always get nervous for. But as it progressed, especially in the second session, they were a little sharper. … I was happy for the first day.”
Chiarelli tried to prepare the youngsters for the different dynamics of this rookie camp and full training camp that opens on Friday.
“What I told them [Saturday] night was that development camp was an orientation, [a chance] to get to know the philosophies and the way we approach things here as part of the Bruins,” said Chiarelli. “But this is now making the team, this is showing your wares. We’re ramping up the competition level. And you want to put them on edge a little bit, because that’s how you get better.”
Joe Colborne, the Bruins’ first-round pick in 2008, was learning the difference quickly. He has participated in three development camps, but this is his first regular camp since leaving the University of Denver last spring.
“It’s going to be an intense camp,” said Colborne. “I think a lot of guys know there are some of us young guys that are hungry and what a spot bad, so it’s going to be intense and I look forward to it.
“This is to get a job,” added Colborne. “I think everyone has the same goal in mind to make the big team and whoever plays better over the next few weeks is going to be suiting up on opening night.”
And Chiarelli made sure to stress that even with a veteran lineup returning, the rookies will have a chance to earn spots if they play well enough in camp.
“Just looking at the number of guys who are close to pushing or who have the skill package, I know they will be pushed,” said Chiarelli. “We didn’t have the sheer numbers before to really push the vets. How many will win spots? I don’t know. … The opportunity is there and I suspect four or five of these guys will turn our heads and make us look at things a little differently.”
Colborne and his fellow youngsters are already looking at things differently. The stakes are higher now with jobs on the line, but not all of the fun is gone.
“It’s definitely a little more serious out there,” said Colborne. “We’re not maybe joking around as much, but any time you can come out here and put the B on, it’s still a good time.”
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