When did you start talking about contracts?
During the preseason, right around the start of camp. Peter [Chiarelli] came up to me and we had a little meeting. We talked about extending and staying here. It all started last year during our year-end meetings. I had a meeting with Peter and I talked to him and told him I wanted to be a Bruin for a long time and it was my goal to stick around in Boston. Because it’s such a great organization. I love playing at the TD Garden and playing in front of the Bruins fans because they’ve been so great. I’ve grown to love this city and I just love being here, everything about it.
Was it an easy negotiation?
It went pretty smoothly. I think both parties came to an agreement pretty well. In the end we’re both happy, we’re both thrilled, we’re both excited and that’s the main thing.
Were you worried about it being a distraction?
Maybe, a lot of guys tend to think about it a little too much, when it’s a contract year. It’s always sticking in the back of your head. You’re always thinking about it. But now that it’s over for me I don’t have to think about it anymore and I can just go out there and play and help the team win.
Do you feel like you’re in a rhythm despite the season being young?
Not too bad. Obviously it takes a little time to get in full season force. That’s why there are 82 games. You have a lot of the season to get up to where you want to be. I think on Saturday night we played well as a team and we took a great step in the direction we wanted to go to. This week in practice we looked sharp, moving the puck around well, so we have to keep moving forward from the effort we had on Saturday.
How much more ‘cranked up’ do you get playing the [Carolina ] team that knocked you out of the postseason?
Well, that bitter taste is still in your mouth from them ending our season last year. Obviously, we were disappointed with where we finished because we wanted to go further. I think it’s a combination of that as well as the effort we had Thursday night and all the expectations and pressure on us came together to perform well against the Carolina Hurricanes . I think we took it out on them pretty well.
What’s it like playing against Alexander Ovechkin ?
He’s a great player, there’s no doubt about that. He’s been the MVP for the last two years for a reason. He’s got five goals already in the first three games and he’s a threat every time he’s on the ice. He wants to win and he’s excited. Even when his teammates score and he didn’t get a point on the goal he’s the first in the pile and he’s just as excited as if he scored the goal. His passion for the game and will to win is what makes him a great player.
How do you deal with it when guys you face are suddenly on your team or your teammates are traded to other teams?
It’s tough, but in the end you have to realize that it’s a business and all that stuff. With [Steve] Begin  coming in, we’ve all seen what he can do with the Canadiens . … He had three assists in the first two games. He plays hard every night, he’s probably one of the hardest workers, if not the hardest worker on the team right now, and we’re thankful to have him. Going the other way, you wish a guy like Aaron Ward  was still on the team because he was such a good guy, a popular guy. But when it comes to game time, you have to put that aside and play to win.