The Bruins opened their centennial season on Wednesday with a tribute to the various legends of yesteryear who wove themselves into the material of an Authentic Six franchise.
However amid the musings on recollections solid during the last 100 years, a number of former Bruins are extra thinking about seeking to the long run – and seeing how a revamped 2023-24 Bruins plan on writing their very own legacy.
Loads has modified over the previous few months for Boston. Two franchise fixtures down the center in Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci have been again on Causeway Avenue Wednesday — however took within the motion from the Backyard seats for the primary time of their respective careers.
It’s a special feeling for the just lately retired Bergeron, who’s nonetheless seeking to shake what was as soon as a daily commute to the Bruins’ barn within the West Finish. However with the keys of the staff now handed to his longtime linemate in Brad Marchand, Bergeron believes that Boston stays in good arms.
“My solely recommendation was in all probability to simply be himself,” Bergeron mentioned of Marchand forward of Wednesday’s sport. “Management is by committee and letting different guys develop. Having that core with you and letting them take cost. Marchy has simply been round for therefore lengthy. He’s acquired the expertise.
“He’s aggressive as everyone knows. It’s the right mixture to be a terrific captain and a terrific chief. As I mentioned earlier than, he’s an incredible pal. Completely satisfied for him. He doesn’t want any recommendation from me.”
Marchand has come a great distance from his rookie marketing campaign in Boston, the place he first minimize his enamel within the NHL ranks on a fourth line with the likes of Shawn Thornton.
“He’s all the time had the will and the work ethic,” Thornton mentioned of Marchand. “He’s a personality man. Behind the scenes, as you guys know now, he did a number of the proper issues. I texted him proper after. I’m joyful for him. That’s an enormous honor. He deserves it.”
Even at 35 years outdated, Marchand nonetheless holds courtroom as among the best two-way wings within the NHL.
“If he’s not the perfect left wing in Boston Bruins historical past, possibly Chief [Johnny Bucyk] is within the dialogue,” Mike Milbury added on Marchand’s standing. “However that’s about it.”
Even with the “C” now stitched onto his sweater, Marchand’s propensity to pester opponents hasn’t waned — with the veteran trying an in-game commerce for Chicago star rookie Connor Bedard early in Wednesday’s matchup.
“I feel if I performed in opposition to him, I’d hate him,” Terry O’Reilly mentioned of Boston’s new captain. “However he wears the B. So I really like him.”
Marchand is just not on an island on the subject of established star expertise on a Bruins roster present process seismic challenges.
A reigning 61-goal scorer in David Pastrnak will probably be tasked with driving play within the offensive zone.
However all through the historical past of the Bruins, the franchise has been buoyed by a stingy protection — normally anchored by a franchise fixture on the blue line.
Be it Shore, Orr, Park, Bourque, and Chara, Boston has all the time had the luxurious of getting a game-changing defenseman able to jump over the boards.
Bourque believes that the Bruins have one other worthy successor to that esteemed listing of blue-line expertise in Charlie McAvoy, who has but to enter his prime at simply 25 years outdated.
“He’s acquired the entire sport,” Bourque mentioned. “He’s acquired the bodily sport, the skating sport. He’s acquired some nice imaginative and prescient, the shot. He has instincts which can be very particular. I really like watching him play. I feel the potential is limitless.”
Boston’s ground as a stingy, defense-first membership with elite expertise on the wing is ready by the established veterans nonetheless current within the dressing room.
However the 2023-24 Bruins’ ceiling may be decided by how the following wave of expertise like Matthew Poitras can pull on that very same rope of their foray into the NHL.
Bergeron, who leapfrogged the AHL and broke camp with the Bruins as an 18-year-old rookie in 2003, is aware of of the daunting street forward for Poitras as he tries to entrench himself in Boston’s lineup for the lengthy haul.
“I feel it’s nice,” Bergeron mentioned of Poitras’ surprising push to the NHL. “It simply exhibits that the long run is vivid and you’ll’t say something however good issues about this franchise and the way necessary it’s for them to form of ensure that this staff stays sturdy for years to return. And to see a child like that form of pushing his method into the lineup, you’ve acquired to like that competitiveness but in addition that may to need to make an influence and keep.”
The early returns have been promising for Poitras and fellow rookie Johnny Beecher in opposition to Chicago.
Poitras recorded his first NHL level with a secondary helper on Trent Frederic’s first purpose of the brand new marketing campaign, whereas additionally successful 5 of his seven possibilities on the faceoff dot.
Beecher, who ingratiated himself to the Backyard crowd by dropping the gloves with Blackhawks ahead Jason Dickinson, was the person within the center of a bruising fourth line with Milan Lucic and Jakub Lauko.
Within the 5:43 of 5v5 ice time that the Lucic-Beecher-Lauko line logged in opposition to Chicago, the Bruins held a 9-2 edge in shot makes an attempt and a 2-0 benefit in high-danger scoring possibilities.
“I feel to soak all of it in, be within the second,” Bergeron mentioned of recommendation for Poitras and Boston’s youthful skaters. “I feel at that age it’s in all probability what you’re doing in any case. But it surely’s a curler coaster. It goes quick, so take pleasure in it. However truthfully, have a look at a number of the leaders, guys on the staff which were round and be taught. It occurs quick once you’re that age.”
Join Bruins updates🏒
Get breaking information and evaluation delivered to your inbox throughout hockey season.