Bruins focused on the here-and-now for playoffs

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Bruins focused on the here-and-now for playoffs

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- The Bruins know it how it feels. They realize what it takes.

As the defending Stanley Cup champs, the memory of hoisting hockey's most prized possession is ever so vivid. But the memory of how they got to that point of ultimate success also remains clear.

While preparing for Thursday night's playoff opener against the seventh-seeded Washington Capitals at the TD Garden, Bruins players echoed a similar reason for last year's success:

Don't live in the past, and don't look to the future.

"I think what we've learned the most is, we never looked too far ahead of what we had to do," said Bruins forward Milan Lucic after Wednesday's practice at Ristuccia Arena. "And that's our mindset right now. All our focus is focused on Game 1 and Game 1 only, and coming out hard, and making the most of our home-ice advantage."

It would have been easy for last year's Bruins to curl up into a ball and succumb to the pressures of falling behind 2-0 in both their first round series against the Montreal Canadiens, and again in the Stanley Cup Finals series to the Vancouver Canucks.

The B's lost the first two games of both rounds, but ended up winning both in seven games. And being able to put those early losses behind them was the main key to their success.

"It's huge, especially right now," said Bruins forward Brad Marchand. "If you lose a game or two, you can't dwell on it. You have to continue to worry about the next game, and what you have to do to win that one.

"You saw we did it a couple times last year against Montreal and Vancouver," added Marchand. "We got down by a couple games, and we didn't panic. We let it go. We built on the things that we were doing well. And it got us back in both series'. That's what you have to do. You have to let a loss go, let a bad game go, and worry about being better in the next one."

Bruins coach Claude Julien believes his team is ready to carry that same mentality into this year's playoff run.

"That's not going to change," said Julien. "We've done that in the past, and we're going to continue to do that. We're a team that lives in the present, and not in the future. We don't live in the past, and last year's last year."

Roasted: Ortiz apparently thought Pedroia's real first name was Pee Wee

Roasted: Ortiz apparently thought Pedroia's real first name was Pee Wee

BOSTON — It took until 2015, apparently, but David Ortiz now knows Dustin Pedroia’s full name.

The couple days leading up to the jersey retirement ceremony tonight for Ortiz have been packed. Around lunch time Thursday, Ortiz had a street near Fenway Park named after him — a bridge wasn’t enough — the street formerly known as Yawkey Way Extension. (It’s between Brookline Avenue and Yawkey Station.) On Friday morning, he was at Logan Airport where JetBlue Gate C34 was designed with a new theme to honor Ortiz.

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Tonight's the big night, so to speak. But Thursday night will probably go down as the most entertaining.

Ortiz was roasted at House of Blues on Thursday, joined on stage by Pedroia, Rob Gronkowski and a handful of actual comedians. Bill Burr was the biggest name among the professional joke-tellers. It was a charity event to benefit the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, which helps to provide lifesaving surgeries for children.

All the comedians — Lenny Clarke, Sarah Tiana, Anthony Mackie, Josh Wolf, Adam Ray (a young man dressed up as an old Yankees fan) — ripped on everyone on stage, including Pedroia. Naturally, Pedroia was mocked for being short over and over and over.

When he took the podium, Pedroia said it was a good thing the height of the microphone was adjustable. If he had to stand on his wallet, he said, he’d be up to the roof.

Most jokes were not suitable for print or broadcast. But the story Pedroia told about being in the on-deck circle when a catcher needed a ball once was a highlight. It's from just two years ago.

“So I had already played with David for, I don’t know, nine years?” Pedroia said. “And I hit right in front of him for nine years.”

The Red Sox were playing the Indians at home. The umpire had to use the bathroom and the ball rolled near Pedroia. So the catcher said hello to Pedroia, using the second baseman’s first name.

“David walks over and goes, what the [expletive] did he call you?” Pedroia said.

“I said, ‘Dustin,’” Pedroia said. 

Ortiz was confused. “’Why’d he call you that?’” he said.

“I go, that’s my [expletive] name,” Pedroia said. “He goes, 'Oh, is that right?’

"I’m like, ‘Yeah, bro. I’ve had 1,600 games with you. They’ve actually said it 5,000 [expletive] times: now batting, No. 15, Dustin Pedroia.’”

“I thought it was Pee Wee," Ortiz went.

“This is dead serious,” Pedroia said. “Now the umpire comes back — I’m standing there, I got to hit...and I’m looking at him, ‘You thought my parents would name me [expletive] Pee Wee?’ 

“And he’s just looking at me, and we’re having a conversation. The umpire’s yelling at me, the catcher’s laughing at me because he can hear kind of what he’s saying.”

No jersey retirement speech will be that funny.