WILMINGTON – For Jay Pandolfo – as for many of the players on the ice at Ristuccia Arena on Tuesday – this was all new. Pandolfo was hired by the Bruins last August as a development coach.
But with Don Sweeney’s elevation to general manager this spring, Pandolfo was given new duties, including running the team’s development camp, now in its ninth year.
So this was just as different for Pandolfo as it was for Jakub Zboril or Jake DeBrusk or Zachary Senyshyn, the trio of first-round picks who were in town for the first time as members of the Bruins.
“I’m enjoying it a lot,” Pandolfo said, of working in development. “Last year was obviously my first year and I spent most of my time down in Providence. It’s really rewarding when you see guys start making progress. We had a bunch of guys have a chance to play in Boston last year from Providence, so you get excited when you see that happen.
“So now that we have plenty of prospects, hopefully most of them are going to keep going in the right way and have a chance soon. But the biggest thing here is we definitely know that we want to be patient. Everybody is going to be on a different path. We don’t want to rush anyone.”
Pandolfo retired in 2014 after 15 seasons as a forward in the NHL, the final one with the Bruins. He won two Stanley Cups with the Devils, with whom he spent the first 13 years of his career.
This season, Pandolfo expects to have generally the same duties as he did last season, spending the bulk of his time in Providence working with the players and coaching staff, but he could also see more time on the road. With the Bruins adding 10 new prospects in the 2015 draft, Pandolfo said he believed he would spend more time traveling to follow the new additions to the organization, instead of just watching local players at area colleges, as he mostly did last year.
“I learned a lot from Donnie [last] year, just what he’s done the last nine years,” Pandolfo said. “Obviously he’s taken on a whole lot more responsibility. He felt like it was time that he needed to bring someone else on, so he’s kind of guided me in that way since I started here.
“That’s made the transition easier for me.”
And like the prospects, Pandolfo continues to learn.
Asked what his most important lesson from last season was, he said, “You’ve got to have patience is the biggest thing. You want guys to get there quickly, but for everyone that’s not the case.”
No ice time
Joonas Kemppainen did not participate in the on-ice portion of camp, having suffered a hamstring injury about two weeks ago, according to Pandolfo. Pandolfo said that Kemppainen, who could be a candidate for a spot with the NHL team, could take the ice later in the week. Kemppainen, 27, is a veteran of the Finnish Elite League, but the organization brought him to camp to start his acclimation process . . . The Bruins spent some time doing skating drills while holding miniature tires. The drills were the brainchild of Kim Brandvold, the director of Dynamic Skating. Brandvold, who played at UMass-Lowell, also now works as an assistant coach at Central Catholic High School. “I don’t know if he’ll pull more tires out,” Pandolfo said of Wednesday’s session. “He’s got some other tricks up his sleeve.” . . . If the players scrimmage, it likely won’t be until Friday, the final day of camp. But Pandolfo said they’re unlikely to conduct a full scrimmage, so if it happens it might be four-on-four.