That only applies to their schedule though. So even though the Bruins have two games of their own taking place first, they had no problem talking about the big game coming up on Sunday. Well, at least they didn't after having a little fun first.
"You want to talk about our game? Against the Washington Capitals?" Bruins forward Shawn Thornton joked.
Nope. While the Bruins face a big weekend of their own as they host Pittsburgh on Saturday, then visit Washington for a Sunday matinee, even Boston's hockey pros can't help but look ahead to that little football game being played in Indianapolis later on Sunday. And even though there are no New England natives on the Bruins roster, there's no doubt about which team they're pulling for in the Super Bowl.
"I definitely consider myself a Pats fan now after getting to know a couple of the guys," said Thornton, an Oshawa, Ontario native who has become an adopted Bostonian living in Charlestown since signing with the Bruins in 2007. "I didn't really have a team until I got out here, but I've gotten to know [Patriots kicker Stephen] Gostkowski a little bit. I cheer for those guys."
That's a common sentiment in a Bruins locker room that features 15 players from Canada, one each from Germany, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Finland, plus U.S. natives hailing from Michigan and Illinois.
"Oh, I definitely follow them," Bruins defenseman and Schwenningen, Germany native Dennis Seidenberg said. "I love watching football on Sundays. Especially living here, I've gotten to follow the Patriots a little closer than in the past and this Sunday is not going to be any different. We're going to have a party going on at one of the guys houses. It will be a good time."
That party will be at Tuukka Rask's home, with the Finnish goalie playing host after the Bruins return from Washington. Rask admits he isn't the biggest football fan around, but he's fully aboard the Patriots bandwagon
"Obviously you've got to support the Patriots," Rask said. "Hopefully they win."
Most of Rask's teammates don't just want the Pats to beat the Giants; they're confident that they will.
"I think they have a great chance," forward Milan Lucic said. "Obviously the Giants are playing real well right now. They lose one game and the Eagles win one game and who knows what would have happened, but they seem to have found their stride at the right time. So I think it’s going to be [the Patriots'] toughest matchup of the season, but I think [Tom] Brady's going to step up and get it done.”
Lucic’s prediction? "24-21 Pats."
Thornton sees a similar scenario playing out.
"27-24 Pats," Thornton predicted. "My boy Gostkowski's going to kick the winner and be a hero forever."
Of course, Thornton does admit that prediction may be coming more from his heart than his head.
"I'm pulling for them," Thornton said. "I hope they can pull it off. I think they can, but what the hell do I know? I'm not an analyst, and I'm not in the locker room with them. In my opinion they're going to pull it out, but I think it's going to be a close one though."
Seidenberg is rooting for the Pats as well, but also was up front about his lack of credentials when it comes to breaking down gridiron game film.
"I definitely hope so," Seidenberg said when asked if he thought the Pats would prevail. "I don't want to sound like an analyst. They obviously have a couple injuries, but they're a good team and I'm sure they'll be able to overcome it."
Seidenberg has already overcome his own unfortunate first choice of teams. He's a recovering Eagles fan from his time in Philadelphia, where he spent his first four seasons after coming over from Germany in 2002.
"I'm the type of guy that kinds of adopts the teams where I’m playing," Seidenberg said. "When I was in Philly I went to a few [Eagles] games there. You just follow a team closer when you're in that city. But here it's different. It's a way of living. Everybody follows their sports in Boston, and I'm no different.
"I consider myself a Pats fan," Seidenberg added. "You always want the local team to do well, and there’s nothing better than for a team to win a championship. Just keep building the dynasty this city has been getting used to the last few years."
The Bruins' Stanley Cup victory last spring helped bring them into even more contact with the players from Boston’s other professional teams, including the Patriots. The Bruins brought the Cup to game in Foxboro this fall, and Thornton had several Patriots attend the festivities for his day with the Cup in Boston.
The Bruins would love the chance to reciprocate, and have the Patriots bring a new Lombardi Trophy to the Garden sometime soon if the Pats can secure the victory on Sunday.
"I think New England's pretty good at supporting each other, the athletes are pretty good at supporting each other," Thornton said. "All the teams, it's actually a fun little camaraderie we have."
Photo via Twitter/@TDGarden
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