With the calendar already turned to August, a summer that began a little later than usual for the Bruins is quickly slipping away. Training camp opens in less than six weeks, and one of the players responsible for extending Boston's season as long as it was still remains without a contract for the upcoming year.
But playoff standout Brad Marchand remains confident that a new deal will be reached soon. The restricted free agent forward spoke publicly about the situation for the first time in several weeks when he appeared on a CTV Atlantic news program in Halifax, Nova Scotia earlier this week.
The ongoing negotiations were one of many topics Marchand discussed with host Steve Murphy, who did his best to pry some numbers out of the scrappy winger by asking, "We're hearing they want you for a couple of years, two and a quarter million [dollars] a year, does that sound about right?"
Marchand didn't take the bait to reveal any specifics of the terms being discussed, but he did reiterate his optimism about reaching an agreement soon.
"I have no idea right now what the numbers are or how long it's going to be," Marchand said. "Right now we're just kind of getting into things. It's been a long summer. People have been on vacation and enjoying the Cup. We're going to start getting into it pretty heavily here and hopefully we'll get something done soon."
When Murphy followed up by asking if Marchand definitely wanted to stay in Boston, the Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia native emphatically replied, "Of course, I love it there."
Marchand also talked about his desire to improve upon his breakthrough season in the upcoming campaign, and acknowledged that expectations have been raised after he posted 21-20-41 totals in the regular season, and added an 11-8-19 line in 25 playoff games.
"I think there's always pressure," Marchand said. "Every year you want to continue to get better. You don't ever want to drop off. That's what I've been trying to do all summer is make sure I'm ready for next year."
Marchand and his teammates have done their share of celebrating this summer as well. The perceived excess of that partying has drawn criticism from some, but he defended the players' rights to enjoy the accomplishment of winning the franchise's first championship in 39 years.
"We won the Stanley Cup," Marchand said. "It's something that may never happen again. Hopefully it does, but you know, we're young and we're just trying to enjoy the moment. We had fun."
Apparently the Bruins weren't the only NHLers that enjoyed seeing Boston beat Vancouver in the Final. Marchand noted that he got a call from Pittsburgh star and fellow Nova Scotia native Sidney Crosby and a text from Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who roomed with Marchand on a Canadian under-18 team, congratulating the Bruins on winning the Cup.
"They were rooting for us, so that was pretty cool," Marchand said.
Marchand also revealed a surprising friendship with another former Team Canada teammate who is now a bitter rival. He's remained friendly with Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban, despite the heated rivalry between the clubs and the fact that Subban sidelined him for several games after a clean, but brutal, hit in December.
"We played World Juniors together," Marchand explained. "What happens on the ice stays on the ice. There's that mutual respect between hockey players. We were buddies when we played World Juniors. It's part of the game. Guys are going to get hit. It could have been a lot worse. He could have got me in the head."
Instead, Marchand's old buddy may want to keep his head up when he plays the Bruins. When Murphy asked if Marchand still owed Subban one for that hit, Marchand replied with his usual mischievous smile,
"I'll take a run at him if I see an opportunity."