BOSTON -- As one might expect, enthusiasm is exceedingly high on the first day of training camp for the Bruins.
The team is coming off their second Stanley Cup Final appearance in the last three years, they’re welcoming All-Star right wingers Loui Eriksson and Jarome Iginla, and everybody is recharged after nine weeks of offseason. Questions about the quick turnaround and the bitterness of falling two wins short of another Stanley Cup were quickly swept under the dressing room rug.
The Bruins are ready for the challenge of being viewed as one of the NHL’s best teams, and bright-eyed where they were hollow-cheeked and exhausted just a couple of months ago. It will also be a return to normalcy for many of the players with an 82-game regular season rather than the abbreviated NHL schedule forced by last year’s labor lockout.
Boston’s 6-foot-9 defenseman, captain and lead intimidator sounded like someone ready to roll after being one of the team’s weak links during the final losing series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
“Expectations are high. Every team is going to give us their best, so we have to be ready for that. That’s only good,” said captain Zdeno Chara, who said his hip pointer issue went away pretty quickly after the playoffs ended. “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. You can look at that, but we did a lot of good things last year. But the most important thing is that we’re going to get up, and go for it again this year. Hopefully we can do great things again.
“Ideally we’d have another two or three weeks [of rest], but I think this is enough. When we finished we were in such good shape that it was easy to start training again.
The Bruins will need that rest later in the season when they inevitably hit a little adversity, or during a cramped regular-season sandwiched around the Winter Olympics in Russia. But that’s a story for another day when the B’s actually hit the ice, and start working on systems, carving out roster spots and assessing the 51 players invited to camp.
On the first day of NHL training camp, the ice will never be whiter and the equipment will never cleaner.