WILMINGTON, Mass. — The Bruins underwent a significant overhaul in the last week with a trio of trades, so maybe it's a bit fortuitous that they are in the midst of their longest road trip of the season.
As the club works on forging some chemistry on and off the ice with newcomers Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, a little over a week on the road together can do wonders to speed that process.
"I think it's a great chance for us to get that team bonding going again," Bruins forward Milan Lucic said. "For the new guys to fit in, kind of get away from here and fit in with the team, it always helps more to be on the road. It's going to be a lot of fun, but we definitely have to take care of business."
Lucic will get to play tour guide once the Bruins get to his hometown of Vancouver, but first up is a matchup with the red-hot Flames in Calgary on Tuesday. It won't be easy facing the Flames and Western Conference-leading Canucks back to back, but the Bruins are eager to test their mettle against the iron of the other conference, and get a feel for their new teammates at the same time.
"It's a pretty ideal situation," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I think the fact that they'll be spending a lot of time together will be great. Bonding with your new teammates is always something that's important, and they're going to get that opportunity on this road trip."
The Bruins have already seen firsthand how an extended trip can bring a team together with the way the club quickly bonded after starting the season in Belfast and Prague.
"You look at the start of year and starting in Europe with new guys coming in like [Nathan] Horton and [Greg] Campbell," Lucic said. "You don't really know them that well, but then you go on a trip like that with them and it seems like you've known them forever after a trip like that. There's more time to spend with each other because there's less distractions off the ice than when you're at home. I think it's going to be great for them to fit into this group."
The newcomers agree, and they're just as anxious to begin the assimilation process.
"I think that's perfect right now for three new guys coming to a new team, to get on the road and get away," Kelly said. "Obviously guys have commitments at home with family or friends, so to get away and be together will make things easier on us."
Kelly, Kaberle and Peverley already have the advantage of coming to a team that makes sure the newcomers feel welcome. Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was in their skates a year ago when he came over from Florida at the trade deadline, but his new teammates made it an easy transition.
"It was not tough at all," Seidenberg said. "The guys in here made it very easy for me to come in and get acclimated. I didn't really have to work hard to get adjusted to being here. The guys here really do a good job of welcoming the new guys."
That welcoming spirit extends onto the ice, where the newcomers will have to adjust to new linemates and a different system than what they may have been accustomed to elsewhere.
"They seem like smart guys," Seidenberg said. "As long as you communicate and tell them where to go if they get lost it's easy. As long as you talk on the ice it's easy to adjust."
And the Bruins will have plenty of time for chatting as they travel through Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton and back east to Ottawa before finally returning home. After that odyssey, there shouldn't be much the new teammates don't know about each other.
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