|10.21.10 at 6:15 pm ET|
…Well, figuratively, anyway. Here’s a shot of an empty Garden just seconds before fans started filing in. From the insane flashing lights they were testing during the day, the opening festivities should be quite the spectacle. Plus, Steven Tyler’s going to be there. What’s not to like?
|10.21.10 at 1:01 pm ET|
Bruins President Cam Neely joined the Dale & Holley show to talk about the B’s as they return to the Garden ice Thursday night for their home opener. Neely talked about the team’s plans for rookie Tyler Seguin, why signing Zdeno Chara to a seven-year contract was the right move and his thoughts on the goaltending situation.
Neely said the Bruins were in an enviable position with Seguin, the second pick in the draft, because they have so much depth. “You have to be careful with expectations for an 18-year-old regardless of where he goes in the draft,” Neely said. “Some can adapt quicker than others, some have the size and strength of an NHL player, some don’t. With Tyler, we’re taking it very slow, we’re taking it very cautious with him.
“We’re certainly in a different position than most second overall picks would be in, they generally are on a team that maybe isn’t as deep as what we currently have. We’re able to have in ease him into this league and get comfortable, learn a little bit more on the defensive side. We expect him to get better and better as time goes on.”
|10.21.10 at 12:42 pm ET|
Home openers are a special thing for players and fans. They make for spectacles consisting of optimism, hype, and screaming fans.
“It’s always special. There’s always that excitement of playing that first game at home in front of your own fans,” Zdeno Chara said. “You always get the butterflies going and the excitement that you only get once a year.”
Count second line winger Blake Wheeler among the players excited for Thursday night’s home opener against the Capitals. He enjoys the fanfare and whatever hoopla comes with the night, but once the puck is dropped, he knows the Bruins have a job to do.
“We can’t really be focused on putting on a show,” Wheeler said Thursday. “We’ve just got to play hard and do the things that have made us successful. That’s what the fans appreciate, so it’s almost like less is more.”
The team has been off to a hot start, following up an ugly season-opening loss in Prague with three straight victories on the road. The offense has clicked, the goaltending’s been outstanding, and the B’s have six points in the last three games.
Preseason aside, Bruins fans last saw their beloved black and gold blow a 3-0 series and Game 7 lead to the Flyers. Thursday the team can officially unveil their revamped roster that has seen the addition of Nathan Horton, Tyler Seguin, Jordan Caron and Gregory Campbell. New faces aren’t the only difference for the Bruins, who look to improve their win streak Thursday.
“I think guys have confidence. I think guys are playing with a lot of confidence, and playing well. I think for the most part guys are feeling good. We just want to maintain that momentum and just keep playing hard and not change anything.”
|10.21.10 at 12:22 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin knows that he’s a rookie. He knows that on any given night, chances are he’s the youngest guy on the ice. As such, he’s not going to act like he owns the place when it comes to adjusting to the NHL. Case in point: he answered one question on Thursday morning about the team’s recent play by saying, “I haven’t been around the league long enough” to comment on how good the B’s or other teams are. He’s a high-profile player, but he doesn’t want to take any liberties.
Unlike your average rookie, Seguin doesn’t get flustered or nervous when the attention’s on him. Thursday night he’ll get his first taste of the regular season in Boston. He’s got four games under his belt, but the preseason and his imagination are the only things that could prepare him for playing to a packed Garden.
Is he nervous? Predictably with Seguin, he isn’t. He’s been able to take everything the NHL has thrown at him in stride, and as he knocks off the firsts — game, goal, assist, etc. — he just keeps looking ahead.
“I think the main ones are kind of out of the way now,” Seguin said. “Now I’m just staying focused on improving the little things I need to improve on.”
Seguin admitted that he was nervous prior to his first preseason game against the Canadiens given that it was his first time going up against NHL competition. He had two words to sum up whether the butterflies have lingered and if he still gets nervous: “Not anymore.”
“Everybody is different when it comes to that, and I’ve seen a lot of players that have butterflies before games that are very good players and that’s the way they prepare the best,” Claude Julien said. “Other guys are just not nervous by nature, and hopefully it works to his advantage. [Seguin] has been through a lot, I think, with the draft, and then where he was ranked and all the attention he got, so at the end of the day, this is just another thing going through his program.”
The second overall pick in June’s draft, Seguin has two points — a goal and an assist — and a minus-one rating through four games.
Seguin had a comment last week about not “over-respecting” the competition when a reporter asked him about facing a legend in Martin Brodeur. Maybe it’s because Alexander Ovechkin was a top pick and is a scoring machine like him that Seguin had no problem saying the Russian is in a class he’d one day like to join.
“I mean Ovechkin’s Ovechkin, right? He’s a pretty phenomenal player,” Seguin said. “You want to be the best, and he’s definitely up there, so [having an impact like him] is definitely something you’d want to do in the future.”
|10.21.10 at 12:06 pm ET|
Here’s the video of Bruins coach Claude Julien talking with the media in anticipation of Thursday’s home opener against the Capitals.
|10.21.10 at 11:29 am ET|
The Bruins held their morning skate at TD Garden as they prepare for their home opener Thursday night against the Capitals. Tuukka Rask was first off the ice, and confirmed in the locker room afterwards that he will be in net. The lines were the same as they’ve been, so here’s what to expect:
Matt Hunwick – Andrew Ference
It seems Claude Julien wanted to conceal the starting goalie’s identity, telling a reporter that “you’ll see at 7 o’clock.” If only Rask hadn’t let the cat out of the bag earlier.
“It’s fun,” Rask said after the skate. “It’s been a while since [my] last start, so it should be great.”
|10.21.10 at 9:53 am ET|
NESN analyst Andy Brickley joined Dennis & Callahan to talk about the Bruins. One of the big questions surrounding the B’s is the issue of who is the No. 1 goaltender. Both Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas have staked their claims, but Thomas has been the hot goaltender in the early part of the season.
“I don’t like that word, controversy,” Brickley said. “It may be accurate, but I don’t like it. I just think it’s depth and competition to a position that’s critical to winning games.”
Brickley noted the Bruins teams he played on that featured Andy Moog and Reggie Lemelin. “It has a way of sorting itself out,” Brickley said. “Maybe it’s a 60-40 split, maybe it’s 50-50, maybe it’s 70-30 because one of them outperforms the other. What you try to do ideally, is when you get to the postseason, you establish your number one guy.”
Brickley has been impressed with rookie Tyler Seguin, especially the mental part of his game. “He’ll be learning from now until his final game, whether it’s regular season or playoffs,” Brickley said. “The beautiful thing about him is his [brain.] He’s got good hockey IQ. He’s picking up things right away.”
Brickley said the Europe trip was a good thing for the Bruins because it brought them closer together as a team. As to whether they can compete for a Stanley Cup, Brickley said, “They’re in the conversation. Anything can happen in the playoffs. You saw what Montreal did last year to the top two seeds in the East and the Bruins should have capitalized on that. I say, sure. Why not?”