At least that's how it is for the two newest faces in the Bruins locker room, who are anything but new to Boston.
Brian Rolston and Mike Mottau came to Boston together in a deal with the Islanders on Monday. They joined the team for Tuesday's morning skate and are expected to play Tuesday night against Ottawa. It will be a special return for both, as Avon, Mass. native Mottau grew up rooting for the Bruins and Rolston spent parts of five seasons here earlier in his career.
Both continued to pull for the Bruins even when they were pulling on the sweaters of other teams in the NHL.
"Even playing with the Islanders last year, I was home for the Cup run and watching the guys go through it, it was pretty amazing for the city and for these guys," Mottau said. "I know quite a few guys in this room, and it's just great to be a part of it now."
Rolston was also pulling for his old team even after departing the club as a free agent in 2004.
"Absolutely, sure," Rolston said. "It's special. It's good to see. Those years we had great teams and kind of struggled, and this town obviously deserved a Stanley Cup champion and I was glad to see that they won."
Rolston was on a couple of Bruins teams that appeared to have the potential to challenge for a Cup. Boston finished first in the East in 2001-02 and second in 2003-04, only to lose in the first round to Montreal each of those seasons. Going into the 2004 offseason, the roster was dismantled in an ill-fated strategy expecting to find bargains in a new economic system after the owners' lockout, with Rolston among the key players allowed to sign elsewhere.
"We had a great team for sure," Rolston said. "We just fell short in the playoffs for whatever reason. Obviously we had such a great bunch of guys then. It was disappointing. If you don't win, teams don't stay together. That was inevitable at the time, and that was the beginning of them taking apart that team. Do I think about it? You move on in your career for sure, but I had great days here in Boston. I had two kids born here. It's been a special place for me in my career. It's good to be back."
Rolston is coming back to a very different team. Of the current roster, only Tim Thomas and Patrice Bergeron were in the organization when Rolston last played here. More importantly, the perception of the Bruins around the league has changed dramatically with their recent success culminating in last spring's championship.
"It's new, everything seems to be new," Rolston said. "Obviously this organization and how this organization is viewed around the National Hockey League now, just from where I've been around, it's a completely different animal for sure. To be back here with the success that they've had, it's a special thing and I'm happy to be here and be a part of it."
Mottau may be even happier, finally playing at home in his 12th professional season.
"It's a dream come true," Mottau said. "Growing up a Bruins fan and following the team throughout my whole professional career, finally getting the chance to pull on the sweater this morning was really special, even just to go out for morning skate."
The trade was just as exciting for the rest of the Mottau clan, though it took a little convincing for Mottau to prove he was really a Bruin at long last.
"My wife didn't believe me at first," Mottau said. "She thought I was joking. But the excitement level was through the roof for my parents, my brothers and sisters, my in-laws, everyone. I'm real excited to come home."
Mottau does have a home in Massachusetts where he lives in the offseason, but for now will be staying in a hotel with Rolston that's a little more convenient to the Bruins' practice facility in Wilmington.
"I do [have a home here], but it's on the South Shore," Mottau said. "I'll be splitting time, but getting up to North Shore in the morning might be a little difficult with the traffic."
That's a small price to pay to fulfill his dream of playing for the Bruins. Even with his parents down in Florida and not expected to get back to Boston until later in the season, getting tickets for all his family and friends could cost an even higher price, but Mottau isn't complaining about that either.
"Quite a bit," Mottau laughed when asked how much he had to spend on tickets for Tuesday's game. "We'll keep that at an undisclosed amount."
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