BOSTON — The Bruins won’t officially start their 2013-14 regular season until Thursday night when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden in their first game since losing the Stanley Cup to the Chicago Blackhawks.
However, the NHL season kicked off Tuesday night with a slate of games that included Chicago’s home opener. Before that got underway, though, the Hawks raised their 2013 Stanley Cup banner to the rafters as one last homage to their championship in the lockout-shortened season.
It probably goes without saying that the ceremony wasn’t exactly on the TV screens of many folks in New England, especially members of the Bruins organization. One person who certainly was not watching was B’s president Cam Neely.
“I did not watch it,” Neely said at the team’s media day when asked about the grand ceremony that took place at Chicago’s United Center. “I would prefer to watch our own. You have a hard time watching someone else lift the Cup and raise a banner so I didn’t watch it, hopefully we’ll be watching one in the near future here.”
One member of the Bruins brass, principal Charlie Jacobs, did admit to watching some of the ceremony. That elicited an eye roll from Neely seated directly to Jacobs’ left.
That was just one of many tidbits from Bruins media day. Here are a few more notes from the news conference featuring Neely, Jacobs, principal owner Jeremy Jacobs, general manager Peter Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien.
Expectations, as you might expect, are very high for the Eastern Conference champions. “We’re really not going to play for second place,” Jeremy Jacobs said. “We’re here to win, and I think that the organization is in a good place to do that.”
The Bruins are continuing to look into an expansion on the area around TD Garden and North Station, which may include a new practice rink. Charlie Jacobs spoke about how it would “benefit us greatly” if they were able to get a practice facility on their current lot. That’s development proposal was submitted in May, and it’s expected to be reviewed soon. The Bruins have been looking to find a new practice rink for a while now. They would like to upgrade and move closer to the city than they are right now with their current rink in Wilmington, Mass.
In on-ice matters, Carl Soderberg will start the season on injured reserved, retroactive to last Friday when he injured his ankle in the team’s final preseason game against the Winnipeg Jets. That means Soderberg is definitely out for Thursday’s opener, but he could be a go on Saturday against Detroit if he’s healthy and is activated off of IR.
Chiarelli said there will be “some effort here and there” to reduce the minutes of captain Zdeno Chara. The big defensemen has logged absurd minutes during his time in Boston, and the club would ideally like to have him a little fresher when they enter the postseason.
While Chara’s minutes will be monitored, there’s no plan in place for balancing Tuukka Rask‘s workload. Julien says he’s going to play that one by ear other than to say Rask will play a “good portion” of the games, which is a given really considering his status as the team’s top goaltender.
There was talk about the decision to make David Krejci an alternate captain as well. Chiarelli commented that “it’s the strength of our group that allows these guys to grow into their leadership roles and that’s partially how we build the team.” The general manager also praised Krejci as a “quiet leader” who “demands a lot from himself and he demands a lot from his teammates and he can lead by example.”