By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON Even with the Stanley Cup in their possession for the summer, many of the Bruins are starting to think about next season and training camp, which is only a few months away.
With just about 2 12 months to rest, recharge and ramp up, there'll be a lot of challenges for a team that will be the top target for everyone in the NHL. The Bruins will be attempting to avoid the Stanley Cup hangover that undoubtedly hampered the Chicago Blackhawks this season.
Also, the B's were relatively healthy this season. Playing an additional two months, and 25 playoff games, has to take a toll on a players body, and the Bruins will find exactly how much when they regroup in September.
But they're looking forward to the challenge.
This is exciting, said Patrice Bergeron. Its a lot of fun. We won the Cup, but once you have that taste you want it some more. In the room, on the plane and on the ice you want to do it again because its so amazing and surreal. Its almost the same team next year, so its very exciting and the future for us is very bright.
Coach Claude Julien said having the same cast of characters minus perhaps one or two will greatly enhance the Bs chances of defending their championship. Keeping title teams together is a rarity in the NHL salary-cap era; as an example, everyone watched the Blackhawks get decimated by trades and free agency. But that won't be the case in Boston, as most of the team's core is tied up in long-term contracts.
I personally like that as a coach," Julien said of keeping the bulk of the roster intact. "You are getting your team back . . . As a coach, when you win the Cup and you know that a big majority of your team is coming back, you have to be happy.
"If you asked Chicago last year, they would have loved to have kept their team together. They couldnt, but if they could then they would have. When you build a championship team, you like having those guys back.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs spoke prior to the player availability on Sunday, and was asked if he was considering putting out an executive mandate that the Bruins become the first team in nearly 15 years to repeat as Stanley Cup champs again next season.
Its a great idea," he said. "To get this done this year was an incredible, incredible experience. Weve become so proud of the people that represent you, we had a lot of good fortunes and a lot of good luck here. This is an incredibly durable, dedicated group of young men. The leadership that Claude showed them, that general manager Peter Chiarelli, and team president Cam Neely, my son Charlie Jacobs, the team's principal owner played a role, a strong role in this, helping put this group together. It just validates what strong leadership can do in bringing this to fruition.
We had a lot of talent, but without leadership, it wont happen. Im talking about leadership on the ice as well as off the ice, I know we had folks off the ice, but take Chara, who really melded this group around him and around his personality. You really had to love these guys, the durability.
"I made the observation that this was not a sprint. This was a long race, if you think about it started in Prague during the season-opening series, which is one of the most unlikely places for the players, to meld together and create a fellowship. Its unique but my experience, in Prague, was special for me personally. Then 107 games, to wind up in a place like Vancouver, it was very, very special. Its the trip of a lifetime. I would love to repeat it, I would love to repeat it, but I feel so fortunate to have gotten there.
A group of about half the Bruins were going to get tattoos commemorating the Stanley Cup championship won by the team, and defenseman Andrew Ference flew in his tattoo specialist from Calgary to assist the team-wide exercise. Several of the Bruins got tattoos with Stanley Cup Champion, Boston Bruins, 06.05.11. in three lines and Mark Recchi was planning to get all three Stanley Cups won with three different teams in one grand design on his body.
He always wanted to come here and do his thing, so he said if you guys ever win, Ill come down and tat all you guys up, said Ference. Ive seen him every year since and he tells me the same thing every year. So I sent him a quick e-mail after we won and he got on a plane and here he is.
Definitely different things, you know, some guys are just getting some writing, some guys are getting the Spoked B, the Cup and B combo or something like that. I think Rex is getting all of his done, all of his past Stanley Cups.
Nathan Horton said he wont need surgery on his separated shoulder suffered during the Tampa Bay series, and that the concussion symptoms have abated over the last few days. Horton said he was suffering from headaches during Games 6 and 7 of the Cup Finals, but that the noise and action surrounding the rolling rally parade didnt bother him in the least.
Its not fun to be injured, but youre in the Stanley Cup Finals and youre playing the playoffs. Thats what people do in the playoffs, said Horton. They play through injuries and we definitely had a lot of guys on our team with injuries. But being injured again with a concussion, it was tough to watch. It was such a good feeling when we won. I felt like I was on the ice no matter what.
"Even every time we won, we have such great teammates. Injuries happen during the playoffs and its just to be part of it and to be part of a team when youre not playing, I felt like I played Game 7. So its a good feeling.