It was the first time officially on the ice for the Bruins and already coach Claude Julien was pairing his presumptive second line together – Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Loui Eriksson.
The trio took the ice during the first session of drills Thursday at TD Garden, and started to get a feel for the chemistry they could have on ice this season.
“It felt pretty good,” Bergeron said. “You can tell obviously that Loui’s a great player. He’s got some great speed and great skill. Very excited to have him with us. It’s obviously the first practice, so we’ve got some work to do, but I thought it was pretty good and just fun to see those two guys on my side.”
Eriksson brings a two-way game with him from Dallas, which should be an excellent complement to the two-way game of Bergeron, one of the game’s best defensive forwards. It’s a group that should be hard on the forecheck and turn the puck over, generating offensive chances.
But with only three weeks to go before the regular season begins, how long might it take the three of them to develop the chemistry they need on the ice?
“I don’t know,” Bergeron said. “I think we’re all smart players, smart enough to realize where to be on the ice and read off each other, so a little bit of time, but I don’t think that much. Obviously games are going to be the best indicator of where we stand and help us the most to work on that chemistry. I’m not sure exactly how long but so far it was pretty good.”
The team started with one-on-one and two-on-two battle drills, something that was a big test for Bergeron and his still-tender-at-times ribs. He said it wasn’t an issue – mostly.
“It wasn’t bad,” he said. “I felt it a couple times in one or two battles, but it doesn’t seem to linger after it. It just is there, stays for maybe 30 seconds or so and goes away. I think it’s good news. I think I’m going to have to go through that for a couple weeks and then I’m going to be fine. Medical staff is not worried about it so I’m not worried about it.”