Jeremy Swayman is back in the swing of things after spending some of his summer getting in his swings.
The Bruins goalie spent most of the offseason in New England and in addition to training for the rigors of another NHL campaign, he took to the links to sharpen his golf game.
“First time spending it in Boston for the whole summer and I got to see some great golf courses and the training was awesome,” Swayman said Thursday, following the first practice of training camp. “I thought it was one of my better training summers, mentally stayed focused and got in some trips up to Maine, New Hampshire, and a bunch of weddings. So, really good.”
Standing at his locker where he proudly showed off his new mask — which is Centennial Season-themed and includes a handprint of his niece — and a fresh picture of he and Bruins’ legend Derek Sanderson, Swayman ticked off some of his favorite courses, including Old Sandwich, The Country Club, and Granite Links.
Teaming with Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark, Swayman helped backbone the Bruins to a record 65 wins during the regular season, posting a 24-6-4 mark. Rather than wallow in the disappointment of a first-round playoff exit, Swayman has chosen to stay upbeat.
“Taking the positives from last year, we had a ton of them,” he said. “We all know that there’s an extra chip on our shoulder because of what happened in the playoffs and that’s going to be a huge advantage for us going into this year. Having that underdog role and knowing that we have something to prove every year. The goal is to win the Stanley Cup, so we’re going to make sure we do everything we can to achieve that.”
Swayman, who earned a one-year $3.475 million contract in arbitration, has set personal goals for the season, though his main focus will be on the team.
“We want to have a 50-plus win season, we want to make sure we’re in a good position for playoffs. Home [ice] advantage of course,” he said. “But the biggest thing for me is day by day practicing happy habits, making sure I’m winning every puck battle, making sure I’m competing the most on the ice, really making a difference on the ice every time I touch it.”
The partnership and friendship Swayman has with Ullmark is a special one. The pair delighted crowds not only with their superb netminding — Ullmark posted a 40-6-1 record — throughout 2022-23 but also with their postgame hugs. Swayman is not concerned about whether the division of work changes this season.
“Well, it’s special when you get two goalies that have a winning record and that’s only going to help the team and we know that we’re going to boost each other in the competitiveness that we have,” Swayman said. “I’m excited to do the same thing this year, whether we’re going to get different shots to take the net at times or making sure that we’re competing every day against each other, making sure that we do whatever we can to help the Boston Bruins win games.”
Swayman and Ullmark have company in the goalie room for camp, with Brandon Bussi, Michael DiPietro, Kyle Keyser, and Shane Starrett also skating.
Swayman said he thinks it’s “awesome” to have guys adding competition and pushing for playing time.
“I’ve got the mentality that everyone in this league wants my job,” he said. “And that’s something that we all want, especially in this locker room, because it goes above and beyond guys that are in the organization. We’ve got other teams, other countries, other divisions that are all going to want this job. So, I love that. Personally, I know that it’s going to elevate my game every day, making sure I’m competing, not letting anyone take that, and it’s only going to elevate our game.”
Beecher line stands out
“Obviously the first day is trying to get up and down the ice, but I thought we were moving the puck well and being able to make some plays,” said Beecher, who could fill a role on the third or fourth line. “So obviously playing with a guy like Looch is pretty cool … so it was fun.”
Beecher played some with Lauko in Providence last season.
“A great player, extremely fast, so I think we can complement each other pretty well that way,” said Beecher.
Coach Jim Montgomery likes the idea of having at least one veteran on every line during camp.
“Kind of show them the Bruins way,” said the coach.
Pointing out the best
Some observations from the early session:
▪ The top lines:
Brad Marchand-Charlie Coyle-Fabian Lysell.
Danton Heinen-Georgii Merkulov-Jake DeBrusk.
Anthony Richard-Morgan Geekie-Trent Frederic.
Brett Harrison-Jayson Megna-Oskar Steen.
▪The top defense pairings:
Parker Wotherspoon-Charlie McAvoy.
Hampus Lindholm-Reilly Walsh.
Jakub Zboril-Kevin Shattenkirk.
Mike Callahan-Ryan Mast.
▪ The goalies:
Ullmark, DiPietro, Starrett.
Walsh was the first player on the ice, Brad Marchand was the last off … Geekie’s speed is impressive … Lindholm was making it tough on the forwards, disrupting rushes with his speed and reach … Defenseman Jackson Edward took to an inadvertent stick to the chops yet never broke stride … Marchand nearly took out assistant coach Joe Sacco in a friendly-fire collision … Captain Marchand led the postpractice stretching before working on some corner drills and then helping to gather all the pucks before the Zamboni came out.
▪Group 2 observations:
The top lines:
Jesper Boqvist-Matt Poitras-David Pastrnak.
James van Riemsdyk-Pavel Zacha-Marc McLaughlin.
A.J. Greer-Patrick Brown-Alex Chiasson.
The top defense pairings:
Mason Lohrei-Brandon Carlo.
Matt Grzelcyk-Alec Regula.
Derek Forbort-Ian Mitchell.
Frederic Brunet-Dan Renouf.
Swayman, Bussi, Keyser.
Brown showed some nice skill around the net, burying several chances in tight … Pastrnak and Zacha dazzled during the 2-on-2 periods, showing they haven’t lost any of last season’s chemistry … The 6-foot-4-inch Regula wears No. 75, conjuring Hal Gill flashbacks … Chiasson had a nifty roof job on Bussi … Lucic was called to the center circle to lead the post practice stretch.