Bruins and Patriots (not that kind of Patriot…)

I don’t know if you know this, but Yen is a pretty big Bruins fan. He told me a few weeks ago that sometimes you can go into the rink where they practice and watch. I told him I’d absolutely be up for doing that with him. It’s not too far from our house, and I always appreciate the chance to watch really good skaters so I can see everything I’m doing wrong. When we checked the schedule, we discovered that there was an even better occasion to watch them: training camp at Boston Garden. Off we went.

Our first hurdle was figuring out how to get there. We are both so used to parking at Alewife and taking the red line everywhere, and haven’t quite figured out the best station for stowing our car for a quick get away. We finally decided on Wellington, parked, and headed in. Once we got to the Garden (right on time, mind you), we realized that Yen’s camera bag is essentially a backpack, and those are no longer allowed after what happened in Boston last April. We scratched our heads for a while and finally decided to take the train back, put the bag in the car, and hand-carry the camera inside. After pulling off the fastest possible turnaround thanks to Yen’s furious running, we made it back and headed toward the action.

After all that, you’d think we’d have laser focus on finding seats. But no, I stopped for a photograph with the mascot.


The training camp is a great little event. I’m surprised more people don’t go to it. It’s free, and you can sit anywhere you like, even moving to another seat in a constant search for a better view. You’ll see in the following photos that (a) we had great seats, (b) it’s a really nice event to take little kids to, because it doesn’t really matter if they lose patience and you have to leave early, and (c) there weren’t a whole lot of people in attendance.

Yen stationed himself next to one of the little media portholes in the glass (for sticking a lens through), and I settled in to watch him, the fans, and occasionally the action. Note my lack of yellow and black clothes. I should probably work on that.


Prepare yourself now for gratuitous hockey shots! You can see how incredible our location was – right down on the ice.


The primary reason for this event is not to drum up fan enthusiasm (though I confess it worked on me), but instead to test out all of the new recruits and assign new slots on the lines. Some of these guys are still rather green and will end up playing in Providence for a while. That’s ok. They all looked happy to be there.

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Here’s pugnacious little Marchand! It didn’t matter that this is only a training camp. He was in there slamming the taller guys around. No chirping, though. He has to save something for Montreal this week.

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This was one of my favorite moments, and Yen dutifully captured it while laughing at me. The camp was divided into two sections because there are so many new guys. Chara was in the second group (you’ll see him in a moment), so I guess Marchand played the role of captain for this section. When they finished all of the heats and mini skirmishes, all of the players got into a circle around Marchand (far right in the photo), and he led them through stretches. A few of the younger guys balked at doing it, but he whipped them into shape.

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With that finished, there was a 20 minute intermission, during which time Yen did a first pass of editing his photos, and I did a lap around the Garden looking for a coffee. Can you believe there wasn’t any? So much for America running on Dunkin’. I did notice for the first time, however, a really beautiful bank of windows around on the far side that overlook the harbor and the Constitution. About which more in a minute!

Back down on the ice, the next group came out headed by Chara. The kids had a great time screaming his name, which made him laugh. He rewarded them by dumping a couple pucks over the glass. You can imagine how much they loved that.

Looking at this photo now, I’ll bet Yen wishes I could have been in it for scale. I would come up to, oh, about the bottom of the logo on his shirt. No kidding.


I was sitting in the second row because a group of teenage girls were in the first row next to where Yen was taking photos. From their talk, it was clear they all play hockey wherever it is they go to school. So they were really interested in criticizing the moves and commenting on who had the most expensive skates. That is, until Lucic took the ice. Then it was if the whole scene changed into a rock concert, and the lead singer had just emerged.


Another photo I made Yen take. I thought it was just adorable that Claude was skating around, occasionally taking a little swipe at a puck.


And now, gratuitous hockey action shots!

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Here’s Subban getting ready to show off what he can do. I felt terrible for him after the very first puck he went up against sailed neatly past and into the goal. Maybe the rest of the season will be better for him.


I think my commentary may have been too girly for Yen, who has posted his own version of the day. I think he’s wrong about Griffith. The kid is too distracted by the crowd and needs to go to Providence for a while.

After about two and a half hours, I was overcome by cold and hunger, and convinced Yen would should head out into the light. We decided that as we were already in the North End, we might as well play the part of tourists and take in the Freedom Trail. And of course some Italian food.

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This is a memorial for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. There’s a tag for every soldier killed in action. There are so many of them.

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Here’s where we had lunch. I thought it was OK, although Yen really liked his meal. The sign is nice at least!


You know what this face is? Stop taking photos and come inside! I’m starving!


Here’s the view from our table. It really did feel for a moment as if we were on vacation, wandering through a strange city. I love it when we do this.

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Aw, here’s my adorable husband paying for my lunch. Take a good look at that hair. The next night, I was cutting it as usual and decided to “try something.” He says he’s not mad and that it’ll grow back quickly. But that poor man…


While taking this photo, Yen muttered, “Why don’t those T-Mobile employees get out of my shot?!” Snort.

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We wanted down an alley and found a tiny park. Inside the park was a set of steps that went nowhere. At the top, this little elephant planter.


On the way back, we stopped off at Copp’s Hill with all of the other tourists.

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The holes in this marker are from British soldiers who read the epitaph and decided to use it for target practice.

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At last we crossed the Charlestown Bridge and headed toward the Constitution. That’s the Bunker Hill monument you can see here.


I like this photo. We walk on the Freedom Trail all the time, and Yen never takes a photo of the trail itself. Here you go.


And now, Yen’s first tour of the Constitution! I’ve been sad to find on my last two visits that it’s all self-guided now, and that you can only go below to one deck. I miss the guided tours that took you all the way down to the sleeping quarters, and which included the story of ,”Huzzah! Her sides be made of iron!”

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I’m going aboard!

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You can’t see it very well, but these are the captain’s quarters. Very roomy and comfortable. I’d sleep there.

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Me with a barrel…

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We agreed this looks like a bellhop’s cage.

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I made Yen pose for a photo as we left.


And then we wandered through Charlestown making our slow way back to the train.

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I’d never been here before. We both agreed it was very ugly, but they’d done their best with texture and landscaping.


And we’re off!