October 2, 2019 | 1:31pm ET
By Shawn Hutcheon, The Fourth Period

BRUINS EXCITED TO CLIMB NEW MOUNTAIN

 
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Brad Marchand, forward

 
 

BOSTON, MA -- Training camp is over. Players have played their way onto the roster which, for the Boston Bruins, means very little change from the one that finished last season.

Brett Richie and Par Lindholm may make their debuts in Black and Gold when Boston opens its season in Dallas, but the rest of the lineup will be familiar with hockey fans.

Being the defending Eastern Conference Champions does not mean coach Bruce Cassidy’s squad will have the luxury of easing into the new season. The Bruins will begin the 2019-20 schedule on a four-game road trip against some of the iron of the western conference with stops in Dallas (October 3), Arizona (October 5), Vegas (October 8) and Colorado (October 10) before returning to Boston for their home opener October 12 versus the New Jersey Devils.

As the Bruins enter a new season, the big question looming over the team is how will they get past the crushing Stanley Cup Final defeat.

We’ll let the players answer that.

Brad Marchand acknowledged that not winning the Stanley Cup is something that will always be with him, however, he is all-in for the upcoming season.

“It’s tough,” Marchand said. “Obviously with what happened, I don’t think we’ll ever get over that but I think we’re excited about this season and what it’s going to bring. Having the majority of the guys back and a couple really good players (Ritchie and Lindholm), so we’re just looking forward to the next step and getting things going again.”

For Jake DeBrusk, a fast start to the new campaign will help him focus on moving forward.

“Just try to start off on the right foot,” said DeBrusk. “I think that’s hard to put that (2019 Stanley Cup Final) out the door but, in a sense, it’s now onto Dallas. It’s the 2019-20 season and it’s exciting. We’re ready to get back out there and get back in the groove of things and enjoy each other’s company (on the road). It’s going to be one of those things where I think it helps that the new season (begins) this fast. If we had more months to think it over and dwell over, it would be worse so it’s nice to be getting in the swing of things.

“It’s one of those things where you just try to play with that edge and that determination. Try to do the things that we did to get to that point but, in saying that, its a mountain and you gotta take steps to get there and there’s going to be ups and downs throughout the season. There’s 82 (games) and it’s just about trying to stay consistently good as a team and try to bring our best game every night.”

DeBrusk added that, as expected, he has the attitude that there is unfinished business for him and his teammates.

“When you get to Game 7 of the (Stanley Cup) Final and it doesn’t go your way, it definitely puts a different perspective in your head,” said DeBrusk, who is entering his third NHL season. “It’s one of those things you just try to focus on and try to understand that it’s a process. You just try to get the steps to get there.”

Matt Grzelcyk found it hard to begin preparing for training camp until he heard the nay-sayers talk about how the Bruins took their best shot at a championship but will not be heard from again.

“I think it definitely takes a while (to get past the playoff loss),” said Grzelcyk. “You’re in the zone for two or three months, in the playoffs, not realizing what you had accomplished over the year. It definitely was tough at first to find motivation to work out again but I think you hear the background noise where people don’t think you’re going to be ready or you’re going to burn out in the middle of the year. That lights a fire under you because we’re really competitive and we feel we have a really good team again so you find motivation and having the fact that maybe some people don’t believe in you even though we just went to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

“It’s a quick turnaround (to the new season) so you’ve got to be ready making sure you’re ramping things up coming into camp and I think we felt we had a really good training camp. Not that surprised with how we came out. We definitely had a little more pep in our step than maybe I’d imagined but that’s a good thing heading into the year.”

Torey Krug admitted that the sting still lingers but he’s determined to, once again, experience all the positives that a deep playoff run brings to a team.

“Yeah, it does and it will, some guys longer than others but I think just getting back out on the ice in games and competing, trying to win hockey games, get back to that level, I think for me personally, looking back and reflecting on all the fun times in the locker room after we won,” Krug explained.

“That feeling of celebrating after, not only games, but after series victories, that was so much fun and you want to try to bottle up that feeling, that emotional level. We start at the bottom of the mountain now and we’re just trying to climb up.”

On the eve of a new season, the Bruins are ready and determined to begin that climb. Do not be surprised if they reach the pinnacle of the mountain this time.

Notes from Bruins Media Day

  • General Manager Don Sweeney said contract negotiations have begun with Torey Krug, Charlie Coyle, and DeBrusk. All three will become unrestricted free agents after the 2019-20 season.

“They’re all ongoing,” Sweeney said. “As I’ve been previously saying that you will not hear through us where those deals are at, and that’s really out of respect for every deal that you negotiate. I understand it makes your (media) job that much harder, and you do a hell of a job predicting where those are all supposed to go. Those influences are not brought into our discussions. We have discussions that need to take place, and the other side will hopefully respect that as well. We are in discussions with the players we’ve discussed, because they are a part of our group right now and a very important part of our group. And if things work out and we find that common ground, they probably will be for a long time.”

  • Team President Cam Neely said a third jersey will be debuted in November.

  • Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs spoke about labor relations between the NHL and the NHLPA and the benefit of neither side opening the Collective Bargain Agreement.

“It’s a real plus,” Jacobs said. “It is always a distraction. I put labor on rest in the sense of uncertainty, and certainly going forward that’s important. I know the commissioner is looking at some television contracts at that time, and when you can talk to your tv vendors and be able to indicate that for the foreseeable future you’ll be going forward and you won’t hit a work stoppage, that helps the value. It’s a plus.”

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Shawn Hutcheon is the Boston Correspondent for The Fourth Period.
Follow him on Twitter.