BELFAST — If you expected the Bruins to roll into Belfast falling over themselves with fatigue, as unlikely as it would seem given the last two days and jet lag, you were somehow wrong.
Just a few hours after arriving at their hotel, the team tore up the ice at the Odyssey Arena in a high-energy practice. One of the highlights of the skate, which was a truly entertaining hour and a half, was a drill in which a skater would take a penalty shot. Players would essentially bet sprints on whether they would score, lining up on one wall to signify their faith in the scorer and the other to support the goaltender. Players laughed throughout the drill — hearing it from teammates as they would shift from wall to wall based on the shooter — but by the end of it had skated plenty.
Though one might think a practice in which players were both sprinting tirelessly and in high spirits would be impossible after a five-hour flight that came with a five-hour time-difference, that’s simply what came of Thursday’s skate.
“I think guys are trying to compensate for the tired legs and stuff and trying to get the most out of it,” defenseman Andrew Ference  said. “Coach has had this planned out for a while, what the day was going to look like, just to try to get over the jet lag as quick as possible. We knew the practice was going to be a good one to get the legs going, and I think guys took it seriously. We want to get on the right foot as quick as possible here.”
Asked if he was able to get any shuteye on the plane, Ference said he employed a tactic used in his WHL days.
“I think all the guys that played in the Western League (slept) on the floor. We’re used to sleeping on the floor of the bus.”
“Oh yeah. The Western League guys are pros at that. I grabbed a towel that was as thin as paper and got down there for a bit.”
To sleep on the floor during a flight with a plane full of teammates may be a sign of faith that pranksters would refrain from tapping their feet or employing other tactics to disrupt one’s slumber. Ference wasn’t worried about such shenanigans interfering with his rest, but for a different reason.
“Z’s part of the Western League boys,” he explained, “so if anybody messes around [they to deal with Zdeno Chara ].”
As for how Ference did at choosing in the penalty-shot fiasco, he ended up skating quite a bit after the shooters got off to a hot start.
“I’m a good guy, so I bet on the gaol-scorers every single time,” Ference said in defense of himself. “Well, maybe the goalies won’t think I’m a god guy, but I believed in our goal-scorers every time. It was probably about half (right) and half (wrong) I think.”