BostonBruins.com - Since the July 4 seven-player blockbuster trade with Dallas, the inevitable would happen, with Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley making their returns to Boston, as they are Tuesday night at TD Garden.
While the trade can be dissected any which way, the fact remains: Seguin and Peverley are now Dallas Stars, and the Bruins have integrated former Stars Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith easily into their lineup.
But for Seguin and Peverley, there will always be an attachment to Boston.
That's what helping win the city its first Stanley Cup in 39 years does to you.
"It’s a good test for us with Tyler and Rich coming back; it’ll be an emotional game for some guys in our dressing room and theirs," said defenseman Johnny Boychuk, prior to the matchup.
"We have a lot of memories together and we’re friends off the ice but when you get on the ice, you want to do your job and you can’t let up on anything."
While members of the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup core like Boychuk remain in Black & Gold, several members of the winning squad have dispersed throughout the league, especially this past offseason, including Seguin and Peverley.
"It should be fun," said Brad Marchand, who is still close friends with Seguin. "Obviously it’s a big day, he’s obviously a very big name in the city and loved by the fans and a good personal friend of a lot of the guys on this team so it’ll be different seeing him on the other side, but we have to make sure that we come out hard and get some points."
While Seguin is beginning to adjust to a rebuilding Stars team in Dallas, which he now calls home, coming back to Boston will always bring back plenty of memories.
"It’s a little weird, just pulling into the city, definitely a little awkward I guess you could say," the Dallas center told a packed scrum of reporters at TD Garden after his team's practice Monday afternoon.
"I don’t know what to expect right now but I’m excited for it. I saw some of the guys when we got in, and it’s going to be a cool experience."
While it may be strange coming back, there's plenty Seguin can take from the experience.
"It’s a good feeling. There’s so many great memories here," he said. "Obviously my first year, being lucky enough to win the Stanley Cup there, and my second year going to my first All-Star game and leading the team in points there, and then obviously this past year going to the Cup Finals again; there’s some tremendous memories here."
"So it’s a good feeling when I come here. I know I’m not partially part of Boston anymore but it’s always going to be a part of me and I’m still going to visit in the summers all the time so it’s still nice to be here again. "
Like Marchand, he was looking forward to the reunion of seeing his former teammates and friends, and had planned to catch up with his previous linemate over dinner.
Seguin will have his memories with the Bruins, but he's now looking forward to building a new future with the Stars.
'"Regret’ is not a word that I’m using when I look back," he said. "There was a process and now here we are and like I said, I have a lot of great memories in Boston and some great fans here and now I’ve gone to Dallas, moved on and here I am."
Peverley: "We'll Be Forever Linked"
After Seguin arrived to Boston in 2010, Rich Peverley joined the B's not longer in February 2011, and proved to be a key piece on the third line en route to the Cup.
"It’s a lot of fun coming back, it’s a great city and was home for three years," Peverley told reporters gathered at TD Garden. "I love being here and it’ll be fun to play."
"There’s a lot of guys over there that I’ve developed lifelong relationships and some of my best friends in hockey so it’ll be hard, but it’ll be no different than practicing. Those guys practice hard and competitive so it’ll be fun in that way."
The trade wasn't necessarily easy for Peverley to take, but with the salary cap going down, he wasn't all too shocked when it happened.
"I wasn’t surprised; I knew the team had to make decisions," he said. "No hard feelings – it’s business and you wish them the best but now I’m focused on being in Dallas."
While it's a different experience being in Dallas, with a rebuilding team focused on making the playoffs, both he and Seguin appear to be meshing well into the group led by coach Lindy Ruff and GM Jim Nill.
"[Tyler] learned a tremendous amount because there’s a lot of good professionals on the other side over there [with Boston]. He learned a lot and including myself, I learned a ton and it’s going to help my career because those guys over there are true professionals," said Peverley.
"That's some of my best friends over there so it’s good to see them," he said, adding that he's kept in touch with pretty much everybody from the team.
"We won a Stanley Cup together three years ago – so we’ll be forever linked that way."
2011 Team Will Always
Whether it's Peverley and Seguin coming back to Boston, or other "core" players who have since moved on to other teams - like Tim Thomas, Andrew Ference and Nathan Horton - the common bond of 2011 will always be there.
When the Bruins traveled to Sunrise in October, and Tim Thomas came back from injury against Boston, it was another occasion to reminisce.
"Obviously that was a special group. Any time you get a chance to win a championship with a bunch of guys, there’s that bond there," Chris Kelly had said. "Timmy was a huge reason for our success back in 2011."
A week prior to the matchup with Florida, the Bruins made their first road trip of the season to Columbus, the city Nathan Horton now calls home. Horton didn't play, as he's in the midst of recovering from shoulder surgery that won't see him hit the ice again until around December.
While the forward opted to go the free agency route and sign with the Blue Jackets instead of the Bruins (though, there's always much more to contract negotiations than just that), his signature smile lit up when talking about Boston, 2011 and his good friend and former linemate, Milan Lucic.
"I obviously enjoyed my time in Boston. I've got great friends; I still talk to them, I still talk to Looch, I still talk to most of the guys on the team," Horton had said. "When you go win a Stanley Cup with everyone, you never forget it – it’s a big part of your life."
"I’m happy for him, I obviously want the best for him," Horton added on Lucic, and seeing him now playing with one of his idols in Jarome Iginla.
"I know he’s happy; [Jarome]’s a great player, he’s been a great player for a long time. He’s tough, he can score – he’s kind of like Looch. Obviously they should have some good chemistry together."
No matter who comes into town, or the Bruins meet down the road, it's the friendships and that night on June 15, 2011, when the spoked-B brought the Cup home to Boston, that they'll always remember the most.
"Three years, two years that I was actually in the playoffs we made it to the Finals. It was a great experience and really taught me a lot about hockey and being in the playoffs," Horton had said.
"And there’s no better feeling than being in the playoffs and getting a chance to win the Stanley Cup. That’s the stuff you don’t forget."
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