BOSTON (CBS) — It’s hot and humid out, but it’s beginning to look a lot like hockey season again in Brighton. The Boston Bruins hit the ice at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday, officially dropping the puck on training camp ahead of the NHL’s restart next month.

Bruins fans will once again get to see the sights they love, from Patrice Bergeron feeding Brad Marchand to Tuukkaa Rask making some ridiculous saves. It’s only training camp for now, but it’s a nice placeholder for hockey starved fans until games resume in early August.

Some things will be a bit different than a normal training camp. Head coach Bruce Cassidy and his assistants were all wearing masks at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday.

“It is a little bit different from what we’re used to,” Bergeron said after practice was over. “That being said, we’re pretty happy being back and getting a little bit of normalcy back in our lives. … Different for sure, but good to be back.”

Bergeron said it will take some time to adjust again after such a long layoff, but the team knocked off some rust over the last few weeks during individual workouts. Now the focus is on bringing it all together as a group.

“Now in this situation with the whole team on the ice, it’s getting adjusted to the 3-on-2s and the battles, the 5-on-5s when we get to that,” he said. “It’s more like a regular practice, something we hadn’t had a chance to do in Phase 2.”

 

A return to practice means a return of practice lines as well:

Boston’s leading scorer, David Pastrnak, was among the small group of players not at Monday’s practice. Pasta, who spent the NHL hiatus in Europe, is likely fulfilling quarantine protocols before rejoining his teammates.

Defenseman Steven Kampfer is not on Boston’s return roster, as he informed the team over the weekend that he will be skipping the NHL’s restart due to health concerns regarding his wife and child. Bruin GM Don Sweeney met with the media on Sunday and said he didn’t expected any other players to opt out of the season, though he did note that a couple of players could face international quarantine rules that could keep them from joining the team right away.

“Within a day or so we should be totally up and going,” said Sweeney.

Boston will hold camp at its training facility for the next two weeks before making its way to Toronto — one of the league’s two hub cities — on July 26 for the resumption of the 2019-20 season. The B’s will play exhibition games starting July 28, with “seeding games” starting a few days later. The NHL, which has been shut down since March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will resume action on Aug. 1 with the top 12 teams in each conference.

The Bruins, who currently own the best record in the NHL, will still have to fight for their spot atop the playoff bracket in the seeding portion of the NHL’s return. Boston’s first game is set for Aug. 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers, followed by matchups against the Tampa Bay Lightning (Aug 5.) and Washington Capitals (Aug. 8).

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