By Mary Paoletti
I spend most of morning skate in the media workroom today (it's not a long story, just not one worth explaining). But when the locker room is clear for media entry, the game is on.
Shawn Thornton is my first target. Luckily, he's in a fun mood. Big surprise there.
You've been talking about fourth line chemistry and how it's been a beautiful thing so far. Do you think this line will give you opportunities to get that 119 shots on net total up?
Laughs Up? That wasn't enough?
You know you're better than that.
Yeah, I hope so. Finally I have a centerman who will get me the puck, he's been looking for me all over the place. Begin always looked me off so . . . tries to look innocent. Now they're realizing I'm the dangerous guy in the line so they're probably going to get it to me a lot more. Teams might shadow me too because they know how dangerous I am.
Is that right? Huh.
Campbell has said he was bummed after last season that he didn't play as well as he had the year before. What have you seen from him so far?
I guess I gotta be serious on this question.
Yes, you do.
I think he's got a lot more skill than people give him credit for. He's got really good hands, good vision. He works really hard. We've had a little bit of chemistry in the couple of games we've played . . . it's been fun to play with him. He can skate and I know he's tough. He doesn't back down from anyone. So I'm looking forward to getting started with him.
Blake Wheeler is at a locker to the right.
You look like you're playing with a lot of intensity. How have you felt in the preseason as far as being physical is concerned?
I feel great. It's an area of my game that I wanted to work on a lot and I think it's an aspect that, if I can improve on it, it's going to help take me to the next level. Bringing a lot of energy every night contributes to that. You seem to play your best and play well when you have a lot of energy so I'm just trying to bring that every night and let the pieces fall where they may.
What were your other offseason goals?
I wanted to work on my shot a little bit . . . improve that . . . extend my range a little bit and be more of a threat in more places. Other than that, just look at the weak parts of my game and I thought being physical was definitely one that I could improve on. Hopefully that translates into good success.
What do you see as the most dangerous part of Phoenix's game?
Defensively I think they're very tough to play against. They have great goaltending and a good defensive core, so scoring goals is going to be tough. There's not going to be any easy goals out there, you gotta really work for them. As long as we bring the lunchpail tomorrow and bring that attitude that we're going to have to work hard and try to have more energy than them, it's gonna be a good game. We just can't take anything for granted or think anything's going to be easy.
Newly signed Bruin Brian McGrattan is hanging out in the same corner.
What was the moment like when business got taken care of . . . getting the deal out of the way?
I haven't signed it yet, so . . . gotta wait 'til we get back. But it's good because it was a really tough summer waiting around. You really sit and think about how great it is in this league and how much fun it is and stuff. So it's nice to be rewarded for hard work.
Talk about the guys here in Boston, getting adjusted.
It's more or less been a good group of guys to get to know. It's a fun group to try and gel with. Hockey systems are hockey systems. I've been learning them my whole life so, everything's kind of the same when you get up to this level. A couple of things are different on every team but more or less it's all the same. It's more or less just getting involved and getting to know the guys.
As far as the games go, Phoenix will be coming in fierce, looking to prove that playoff run was legit. What do you see there?
I played with them a couple years ago so I know a few of the guys. They're a fast team, a skilled team. I think they do want to prove that last year wasn't a fluke, so we've got to be ready for them. They've got good goaltending, really good forwards, so I think it will be a good test to see what we're made of to start the season.