Let's Talk Boston Bruins Hockey
Labor Day signifies the unofficial beginning of the 2008-09 season
Monday, 09.1.2008 / 8:49 AM ET / Bish's Blog
By John Bishop - BostonBruins.com
And we’re baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!
Even as several of the Bruins enjoyed last week’s beautiful weather and several rounds of golf the reality of the coming 2008-09 NHL Season dawned on members of the Black & Gold. Soon, Zdeno Chara’s famous “Captain’s Practices” will begin in earnest.
However, none of the B’s who were floating around the area the last week of August seemed to mind that summer has begun to wane.
“I usually start to get excited after Labor Day,” said Bruins brawler Shawn Thornton while playing at last’s Tuesday’s Deutsche Bank Red Sox Legends & Friends Pro-Am at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts. “To tell you the truth, that’s when I start to get antsy.
“During July and August I try and unwind and prepare physically, but mentally I just try and get away from it. But I am going back to Toronto and then when I come back on September 2nd I’ll be all amped up to go.”
Forward Marc Savard shared Thornton’s sentiments.
“I am excited,” said Savvy. “It’s been a long enough summer, and with the way we finished last year, we can’t wait to get back at it.
“It’s going to be a good year and we want to come in, work hard and get past where we were last season. I think that will be the goal, not only to make the playoffs, but with the team we have, push further into the playoffs this year.
“I think we are all excited (because we) get Bergy back for a full season and with Ryder coming over and Fernandez being healthy we are ready to get started,” he said.
You could also hear the anticipation in defenseman Dennis Wideman’s voice. Wides, who recently signed a contract extension with Boston, also thought the Bruins could begin the season on a high note thanks to their hard fought series against Montreal last April.
“I think this season is something that we are really excited about,” he said. “We finished the year off well and we had a good series with Montreal and I feel as though we have some excitement going.
“And I think going into this year I am really excited to see if we can pick up were we finished off and get a good start.”
Later in the week, Savard and Phil Kessel hit the ice in Wilmington to loosen up their legs and try out some new hockey equipment.
B's goalie Tim Thomas was also there to work in the fitness center with Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides and sat down to recap his life since we last spoke in April.
“I’ve done some traveling, ran two hockey camps up in Vermont, had some good fishing and relaxation time,” said Thomas. “I did what I thought I needed to do to get away and get ready for this year.”
Thomas talked about the end of last season and how important it was for Boston to get a good start in the upcoming campaign.
“I don’t know if the momentum can carry over for that long (over the summer),” said Tim. “But you need to take the expectations and the lessons that you learned throughout the year into this season.
“You need to build on those, especially when you have, largely, the same team. Hopefully you don’t have to learn the same lessons again…and I think the expectations should rise a bit, in our minds.”
Thomas reiterated what he and many of his teammates said in the aftermath of last year’s series with Montreal.
“I think as far as getting that taste (of the playoffs) in your mouth, and at least from my perspective, I never want to miss the playoffs again,” he said. “And thinking about that opportunity, if we could have finished off that round, who knows what might have happened.
“The whole experience of the playoffs was phenomenal and it’s something I want to be part of as many times as I can.”
The veteran goalie also spoke about the atmosphere in the TD Banknorth Garden during the now famous Game 6 versus the Canadiens and hoped that the club can create those feelings again.
“I think it’s one of those moments that you would like to hold on to for the rest of you life,” he said. “Having said that, you have to move on and try to make the next great moment of your life.
“So, I think it’s definitely something that you can look back on during the season and think, ‘Man, just think of what this place can be like if we keep doing well.’
“It gives you extra motivation to want to recreate that feeling and see if you can make a circumstance where you can make it even louder and make the excitement even (higher),” said Tim.
Thomas, now a fully adopted New Englander, is happy to begin another season as a member of the B’s and in front of the people who have cheered him on for much of his hockey career.
“It’s been different being in the same place for a couple of years,” said the University of Vermont graduate. “I had that a little bit in Providence, but I was going home to Michigan during the summer.
“Still, Rhode Island is New England, too. Even the way I ended up going to college at University of Vermont was kind of a weird circumstance. Basically, it seems as if fate – or destiny – has put me in New England and it’s been a pretty good ride, so I am fortunate.”
We’re all fortunate that the season is beginning. From here on out, you can be sure that if there is anything going on in the Hub of Hockey, BostonBruins.com is your first stop. JB