The first game against a former team can feel just a tad different for a player. The familiarity of the arena, staff, and friends and former teammates on the other side of the ice can make the contest seem like it's not a normal game.
That is what forward Jarome Iginla will experience Monday in Boston when the Colorado Avalanche faces the Bruins in a rare weekday matinee game (11 a.m. MT, Altitude TV).
"I've done it a couple of times now, and that first game back is definitely a little different," Iginla said after the team's early Sunday practice before catching a flight for the East Coast.
Iginla's only season with the Bruins was last year, but it was a fairly memorable one. He helped Boston to 54 wins and 117 points, winning the league's Presidents' Trophy, while also having a decent season individually as well. Iginla finished in the B's top three in scoring with 61 points and tied for the team lead with 30 goals.
"It's exciting. It's early in the year, and it will probably feel like I was just there," Iginla said. "For myself and my family, it was a fun last year. It was a great experience."
Colorado's alternate captain has been through a few of these return games recently as he faced both of his two former clubs, Pittsburgh Penguins and Calgary Flames, for the first time last season.
Iginla said he still keeps in touch with many of his former Bruins teammates and has followed the squad a little in the early portion of the season.
"Definitely made some friends there," he said. "It's nice that they are in the other conference so you only see them a couple times a year and that's it."
But when the puck drops, Iginla said it's back to business.
"Once you get back, it's game time," Iginla said. "It's business, and we're looking to get the ball rolling for our team and that will be where the focus will be at."
The Bruins are in a similar position to the Avalanche, both looking to rebound and get into the win column after being shutout in their previous games on Saturday. Colorado lost 3-0 to the Minnesota Wild while Boston fell 4-0 to the Washington Capitals.
"They'll be hungry, there is no question about that," Iginla said. "Any team after a loss, it gets that much more desperate. They lost at home last game, and we expect them to be ready. They are obviously a good team, very disciplined. They work very hard. They play physical, and we'll be ready to battle with them."